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H.B. No. 585

H.B. No. 585

AN ACT

relating to ad valorem taxation; creating an offense.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 1151.1581, Occupations Code, is amended
by adding Subsection (f) to read as follows:
(f) As part of the continuing education requirements for a
registered professional appraiser who is the chief appraiser of an
appraisal district, the commission by rule shall require the
registrant to complete:
(1) at least half of the required hours in a program
devoted to one or more of the topics listed in Section 1151.164(b);
and
(2) at least two of the required hours in a program of
professional ethics specific to the chief appraiser of an appraisal
district, including a program on the importance of maintaining the
independence of an appraisal office from political pressure.
SECTION 2. Section 5.041, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsection (b-1) and amending Subsections (e-2) and (f) to read as
follows:
(b-1) At the conclusion of a course established under
Subsection (a), each member of an appraisal review board in
attendance shall complete a statement, on a form prescribed by the
comptroller, indicating that the member will comply with the
requirements of this title in conducting hearings.
(e-2) During [As soon as practicable after the beginning of]
the second year of an appraisal review board member’s term of
office, the member must successfully complete the course
established under Subsection (e-1). At the conclusion of the
course, the member must complete a statement described by
Subsection (b-1). A person may not participate in a hearing
conducted by the board, vote on a determination of a protest, or be
reappointed to an additional term on the board until the person has
completed [who fails to timely complete] the course established
under Subsection (e-1) and has received a certificate of course
completion [may not be reappointed to an additional term on the
appraisal review board]. If the person is reappointed to an
additional term on the appraisal review board, the person must
successfully complete the course established under Subsection
(e-1) and comply with the other requirements of this subsection in
each year the member continues to serve.
(f) The comptroller may not advise a property owner, a
property owner’s agent, or the chief appraiser or another employee
of an appraisal district[, or an appraisal review board] on a matter
that the comptroller knows is the subject of a protest to the
appraisal review board. The comptroller may provide advice to an
appraisal review board member as authorized by Subsection (a)(4) of
this section or Section 5.103 and may communicate with the chairman
of an appraisal review board or a taxpayer liaison officer
concerning a complaint filed under Section 6.052.
SECTION 3. Chapter 5, Tax Code, is amended by adding Section
5.103 to read as follows:

Sec. 5.103. APPRAISAL REVIEW BOARD OVERSIGHT. (a) The
comptroller shall prepare model hearing procedures for appraisal
review boards.
(b) The model hearing procedures shall address:
(1) the statutory duties of an appraisal review board;
(2) the process for conducting a hearing;
(3) the scheduling of hearings;
(4) the postponement of hearings;
(5) the notices required under this title;
(6) the determination of good cause under Section
41.44(b);
(7) the determination of good cause under Sections
41.45(e) and (e-1);
(8) a party’s right to offer evidence and argument;
(9) a party’s right to examine or cross-examine
witnesses or other parties;
(10) a party’s right to appear by an agent;
(11) the prohibition of an appraisal review board’s
consideration of information not provided at a hearing;
(12) ex parte and other prohibited communications;
(13) the exclusion of evidence at a hearing as
required by Section 41.67(d);
(14) the postponement of a hearing as required by
Section 41.66(h);
(15) conflicts of interest;
(16) the process for the administration of
applications for membership on an appraisal review board; and
(17) any other matter related to fair and efficient
appraisal review board hearings.
(c) The comptroller may:
(1) categorize appraisal districts based on the size
of the district, the number of protests filed in the district, or
similar characteristics; and
(2) develop different model hearing procedures for
different categories of districts.
(d) An appraisal review board shall follow the model hearing
procedures prepared by the comptroller when establishing its
procedures for hearings as required by Section 41.66(a).
(e) The comptroller shall prescribe the contents of a survey
form for the purpose of providing the public a reasonable
opportunity to offer comments and suggestions concerning the
appraisal review board established for an appraisal district. The
survey form must permit a person to offer comments and suggestions
concerning the matters listed in Subsection (b) or any other matter
related to the fairness and efficiency of the appraisal review
board. The survey form, together with instructions for completing
the form and submitting the form, shall be provided to each property
owner at or before each hearing on a protest conducted by an
appraisal review board. The appraisal office may provide clerical
assistance to the comptroller for purposes of the implementation of
this subsection, including assistance in providing and receiving
the survey form. The comptroller, or an appraisal office providing
clerical assistance to the comptroller, may provide for the
provision and submission of survey forms electronically.
(f) The comptroller shall issue an annual report
summarizing the survey forms submitted by property owners
concerning each appraisal review board. The report may not
disclose the identity of a person who submits a survey form.
SECTION 4. Section 6.035, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsection (a-1) to read as follows:
(a-1) An individual is ineligible to serve on an appraisal
district board of directors if the individual has engaged in the
business of appraising property for compensation for use in
proceedings under this title or of representing property owners for
compensation in proceedings under this title in the appraisal
district at any time during the preceding five years.
SECTION 5. Sections 6.05(c) and (d), Tax Code, are amended
to read as follows:
(c) The chief appraiser is the chief administrator of the
appraisal office. Except as provided by Section 6.0501, the [The]
chief appraiser is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the
appraisal district board of directors. If a taxing unit performs
the duties of the appraisal office pursuant to a contract, the
assessor for the unit is the chief appraiser. To be eligible to be
appointed or serve as a chief appraiser, a person must be certified
as a registered professional appraiser under Section 1151.160,
Occupations Code, possess an MAI professional designation from the
Appraisal Institute, or possess an Assessment Administration
Specialist (AAS), Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE), or
Residential Evaluation Specialist (RES) professional designation
from the International Association of Assessing Officers. A person
who is eligible to be appointed or serve as a chief appraiser by
having a professional designation described by this subsection must
become certified as a registered professional appraiser under
Section 1151.160, Occupations Code, not later than the fifth
anniversary of the date the person is appointed or begins to serve
as chief appraiser. A chief appraiser who is not eligible to be
appointed or serve as chief appraiser may not perform an action
authorized or required by law to be performed by a chief appraiser,
including the preparation, certification, or submission of any part
of the appraisal roll. Not later than January 1 of each year, a
chief appraiser shall notify the comptroller in writing that the
chief appraiser is either eligible to be appointed or serve as the
chief appraiser or not eligible to be appointed or serve as the
chief appraiser.
(d) Except as provided by Section 6.0501, the [The] chief
appraiser is entitled to compensation as provided by the budget
adopted by the board of directors. The chief appraiser’s
compensation may not be directly or indirectly linked to an
increase in the total market, appraised, or taxable value of
property in the appraisal district. Except as provided by Section
6.0501, the [The] chief appraiser may employ and compensate
professional, clerical, and other personnel as provided by the
budget, with the exception of a general counsel to the appraisal
district.
SECTION 6. Subchapter A, Chapter 6, Tax Code, is amended by
adding Section 6.0501 to read as follows:
Sec. 6.0501. APPOINTMENT OF ELIGIBLE CHIEF APPRAISER BY
COMPTROLLER. (a) The comptroller shall appoint a person eligible
to be a chief appraiser under Section 6.05(c) or a person who has
previously been appointed or served as a chief appraiser to perform
the duties of chief appraiser for an appraisal district whose chief
appraiser is ineligible to serve.
(b) A chief appraiser appointed under this section serves
until the earlier of:
(1) the first anniversary of the date the comptroller
appoints the chief appraiser; or
(2) the date the board of directors of the appraisal
district:
(A) appoints a chief appraiser under Section
6.05(c); or

(B) contracts with an appraisal district or a
taxing unit to perform the duties of the appraisal office for the
district under Section 6.05(b).
(c) The comptroller shall determine the compensation of a
chief appraiser appointed under this section. A chief appraiser
appointed under this section shall determine the budget necessary
for the adequate operation of the appraisal office, subject to the
approval of the comptroller. The board of directors of the
appraisal district shall amend the budget as necessary to
compensate the appointed chief appraiser and fund the appraisal
office as determined under this subsection.
(d) An appraisal district that does not appoint a chief
appraiser or contract with an appraisal district or a taxing unit to
perform the duties of the appraisal office by the first anniversary
of the date the comptroller appoints a chief appraiser shall
contract with an appraisal district or a taxing unit to perform the
duties of the appraisal office or with a qualified public or private
entity to perform the duties of the chief appraiser, subject to the
approval of the comptroller.
SECTION 7. Section 6.052, Tax Code, is amended by amending
Subsections (a), (b), (c), and (e) and adding Subsection (f) to read
as follows:
(a) The board of directors for an appraisal district created
for a county with a population of more than 120,000 [125,000] shall
appoint a taxpayer liaison officer who shall serve at the pleasure
of the board. The taxpayer liaison officer shall administer the
public access functions required by Sections 6.04(d), (e), and (f),
and is responsible for resolving disputes not involving matters
that may be protested under Section 41.41. In addition, the
taxpayer liaison officer is responsible for receiving, and
compiling a list of, comments and suggestions filed by the chief
appraiser, a property owner, or a property owner’s agent concerning
the matters listed in Section 5.103(b) or any other matter related
to the fairness and efficiency of the appraisal review board
established for the appraisal district. The taxpayer liaison
officer shall forward to the comptroller comments and suggestions
filed under this subsection in the form and manner prescribed by the
comptroller.
(b) The taxpayer liaison officer shall [may] provide to the
public information and materials designed to assist property owners
in understanding the appraisal process, protest procedures, the
procedure for filing comments and suggestions under Subsection (a)
of this section or a complaint under Section 6.04(g), and other
[related] matters. Information concerning the process for
submitting comments and suggestions to the comptroller concerning
an appraisal review board shall be provided at each protest
hearing.
(c) The taxpayer liaison officer shall report to the board
at each meeting on the status of all comments and suggestions
[complaints] filed with the officer under Subsection (a) of this
section and all complaints filed with the board under Section
6.04(g).
(e) The chief appraiser or any other person who performs
appraisal or legal services for the appraisal district for
compensation is not eligible to be the taxpayer liaison officer
[for the appraisal district].
(f) The taxpayer liaison officer for an appraisal district
described by Section 6.41(d-1) is responsible for providing
clerical assistance to the local administrative district judge in
the selection of appraisal review board members. The officer shall
deliver to the local administrative district judge any applications
to serve on the board that are submitted to the officer and shall
perform other duties as requested by the local administrative
district judge. The officer may not influence the process for
selecting appraisal review board members.
SECTION 8. Section 6.41, Tax Code, is amended by amending
Subsections (d-1) and (f) and adding Subsections (i), (j), and (k)
to read as follows:
(d-1) In a county with a population of 120,000 [3.3 million
or more or a county with a population of 550,000 or more that is
adjacent to a county with a population of 3.3 million] or more the
members of the board are appointed by the local administrative
district judge under Subchapter D, Chapter 74, Government Code, in
the county in which the appraisal district is established. All
applications submitted to the appraisal district or to the
appraisal review board from persons seeking appointment as a member
of the appraisal review board shall be delivered to the local
administrative district judge. The appraisal district may provide
the local administrative district judge with information regarding
whether an applicant for appointment to or a member of the board
owes any delinquent ad valorem taxes to a taxing unit participating
in the appraisal district.
(f) A member of the board may be removed from the board by a
majority vote of the appraisal district board of directors, or by
the local administrative district judge or the judge’s designee, as
applicable, that appointed the member. Grounds for removal are:
(1) a violation of Section 6.412, 6.413, 41.66(f), or
41.69; [or]
(2) good cause relating to the attendance of members
at called meetings of the board as established by written policy
adopted by a majority of the appraisal district board of directors;
or
(3) clear and convincing evidence of repeated bias or
misconduct.
(i) This subsection applies only to an appraisal district
described by Subsection (d-1). A chief appraiser or another
employee or agent of the appraisal district, a member of the
appraisal review board for the appraisal district, a member of the
board of directors of the appraisal district, a property tax
consultant, or an agent of a property owner commits an offense if
the person communicates with the local administrative district
judge regarding the appointment of appraisal review board members.
This subsection does not apply to:
(1) a communication between a member of the appraisal
review board and the local administrative district judge regarding
the member’s reappointment to the board;
(2) a communication between the taxpayer liaison
officer for the appraisal district and the local administrative
district judge in the course of the performance of the officer’s
clerical duties so long as the officer does not offer an opinion or
comment regarding the appointment of appraisal review board
members; or
(3) a communication between a chief appraiser or
another employee or agent of the appraisal district, a member of the
appraisal review board for the appraisal district, or a member of
the board of directors of the appraisal district and the local
administrative district judge regarding information described by
Subsection (d-1) of this section or Section 411.1296, Government
Code.
(j) A chief appraiser or another employee or agent of an
appraisal district commits an offense if the person communicates
with a member of the appraisal review board for the appraisal
district, a member of the board of directors of the appraisal
district, or, if the appraisal district is an appraisal district
described by Subsection (d-1), the local administrative district
judge regarding a ranking, scoring, or reporting of the percentage
by which the appraisal review board or a panel of the board reduces
the appraised value of property.
(k) An offense under Subsection (i) or (j) is a Class A
misdemeanor.
SECTION 9. Section 6.411(c-1), Tax Code, is amended to read
as follows:
(c-1) This section does not apply to communications with a
member of an appraisal review board by [involving] the chief
appraiser or another employee or a member of the board of directors
of an appraisal district or a property tax consultant or attorney
representing a party to a proceeding before [and a member of] the
appraisal review board:
(1) during a hearing on a protest or other proceeding
before the appraisal review board;
(2) that constitute social conversation;
(3) that are specifically limited to and involve
administrative, clerical, or logistical matters related to the
scheduling and operation of hearings, the processing of documents,
the issuance of orders, notices, and subpoenas, and the operation,
appointment, composition, or attendance at training of the
appraisal review board; or
(4) that are necessary and appropriate to enable the
board of directors of the appraisal district to determine whether
to appoint, reappoint, or remove a person as a member or the
chairman or secretary of the appraisal review board.
SECTION 10. Chapter 21, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Sections 21.09 and 21.10 to read as follows:
Sec. 21.09. ALLOCATION APPLICATION. (a) To receive an
allocation authorized by Section 21.03, 21.031, 21.05, or 21.055, a
person claiming the allocation must apply for the allocation. To
apply for an allocation, a person must file an allocation
application form with the chief appraiser in the appraisal district
in which the property subject to the claimed allocation has taxable
situs.

(b) A person claiming an allocation must apply for the
allocation each year the person claims the allocation. A person
claiming an allocation must file a completed allocation application
form before May 1 and must provide the information required by the
form. If the property was not on the appraisal roll in the
preceding year, the deadline for filing the allocation application
form is extended to the 45th day after the date of receipt of the
notice of appraised value required by Section 25.19(a)(3). For
good cause shown, the chief appraiser shall extend the deadline for
filing an allocation application form by written order for a period
not to exceed 60 days.
(c) The comptroller shall prescribe the contents of the
allocation application form and shall ensure that the form requires
an applicant to provide the information necessary to determine the
validity of the allocation claim.
(d) If the chief appraiser learns of any reason indicating
that an allocation previously allowed should be canceled, the chief
appraiser shall investigate. If the chief appraiser determines
that the property is not entitled to an allocation, the chief
appraiser shall cancel the allocation and deliver written notice of
the cancellation not later than the fifth day after the date the
chief appraiser makes the cancellation. A person may protest the
cancellation of an allocation.
(e) The filing of a rendition under Chapter 22 is not a
condition of qualification for an allocation.
Sec. 21.10. LATE APPLICATION FOR ALLOCATION. (a) The chief
appraiser shall accept and approve or deny an application for an
allocation under Section 21.09 after the deadline for filing the
application has passed if the application is filed before the date
the appraisal review board approves the appraisal records.
(b) If the application is approved, the property owner is
liable to each taxing unit for a penalty in an amount equal to 10
percent of the difference between the amount of tax imposed by the
taxing unit on the property without the allocation and the amount of
tax imposed on the property with the allocation.
(c) The chief appraiser shall make an entry on the appraisal
records for the property indicating the property owner’s liability
for the penalty and shall deliver a written notice of imposition of
the penalty, explaining the reason for its imposition, to the
property owner.
(d) The tax assessor for a taxing unit that taxes the
property shall add the amount of the penalty to the property owner’s
tax bill, and the tax collector for the unit shall collect the
penalty at the time and in the manner the collector collects the
tax. The amount of the penalty constitutes a lien against the
property against which the penalty is imposed, as if the penalty
were a tax, and accrues penalty and interest in the same manner as a
delinquent tax.
SECTION 11. Section 22.01, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsections (c-1), (c-2), and (d-1) to read as follows:
(c-1) In this section:
(1) “Secured party” has the meaning assigned by
Section 9.102, Business & Commerce Code.
(2) “Security interest” has the meaning assigned by
Section 1.201, Business & Commerce Code.
(c-2) With the consent of the property owner, a secured
party may render for taxation any property of the property owner in
which the secured party has a security interest on January 1,
although the secured party is not required to render the property by
Subsection (a) or (b). This subsection applies only to property
that has a historical cost when new of more than $50,000.
(d-1) A secured party who renders property under Subsection
(c-2) shall indicate the party’s status as a secured party and shall
state the name and address of the property owner. A secured party
is not liable for inaccurate information included on the rendition
statement if the property owner supplied the information or for
failure to timely file the rendition statement if the property
owner failed to promptly cooperate with the secured party. A
secured party may rely on information provided by the property
owner with respect to:
(1) the accuracy of information in the rendition
statement;
(2) the appraisal district in which the rendition
statement must be filed; and
(3) compliance with any provisions of this chapter
that require the property owner to supply additional information.
SECTION 12. Section 22.24(e), Tax Code, is amended to read
as follows:
(e) To be valid, a rendition or report must be sworn to
before an officer authorized by law to administer an oath. The
comptroller may not prescribe or approve a rendition or report form
unless the form provides for the person filing the form to swear
that the information provided in the rendition or report is true and
accurate to the best of the person’s knowledge and belief. This
subsection does not apply to a rendition or report filed by a
secured party, as defined by Section 22.01, the property owner, an
employee of the property owner, or an employee of a property owner
on behalf of an affiliated entity of the property owner.
SECTION 13. The heading to Section 23.02, Tax Code, is
amended to read as follows:
Sec. 23.02. REAPPRAISAL OF PROPERTY DAMAGED IN [NATURAL]
DISASTER AREA.
SECTION 14. Sections 23.02(a) and (d), Tax Code, are
amended to read as follows:
(a) The governing body of a taxing unit that is located
partly or entirely inside an area declared to be a [natural]
disaster area by the governor may authorize reappraisal of all
property damaged in the disaster at its market value immediately
after the disaster.
(d) If property damaged in a [natural] disaster is
reappraised as provided by this section, the governing body shall
provide for prorating the taxes on the property for the year in
which the disaster occurred. If the taxes are prorated, taxes due
on the property are determined as follows: the taxes on the property
based on its value on January 1 of that year are multiplied by a
fraction, the denominator of which is 365 and the numerator of which
is the number of days before the date the disaster occurred; the
taxes on the property based on its reappraised value are multiplied
by a fraction, the denominator of which is 365 and the numerator of
which is the number of days, including the date the disaster
occurred, remaining in the year; and the total of the two amounts is
the amount of taxes on the property for the year.
SECTION 15. Section 23.23, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsection (g) to read as follows:
(g) In this subsection, “disaster recovery program” means
the disaster recovery program administered by the General Land
Office that is funded with community development block grant
disaster recovery money authorized by the Consolidated Security,
Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (Pub.
L. No. 110-329) and the Consolidated and Further Continuing
Appropriations Act, 2012 (Pub. L. No. 112-55). Notwithstanding
Subsection (f)(2), and only to the extent necessary to satisfy the
requirements of the disaster recovery program, a replacement
structure described by that subdivision is not considered to be a
new improvement if to satisfy the requirements of the disaster
recovery program it was necessary that:
(1) the square footage of the replacement structure
exceed that of the replaced structure as that structure existed
before the casualty or damage occurred; or
(2) the exterior of the replacement structure be of
higher quality construction and composition than that of the
replaced structure.
SECTION 16. Section 23.129(b), Tax Code, is amended to read
as follows:
(b) A chief appraiser or collector may waive a penalty under
Subsection (a) only if:
(1) the taxpayer seeking the waiver files a written
application for the waiver with the chief appraiser or collector,
as applicable, not later than the 30th day after the date the
declaration or statement, as applicable, was required to be filed;
(2) the taxpayer’s failure to file or failure to timely
file the declaration or statement was a result of:
(A) a [natural] disaster that made it effectively
impossible for the taxpayer to comply with the filing requirement;
or
(B) an event beyond the control of the taxpayer
that destroyed the taxpayer’s property or records; and
(3) the taxpayer is otherwise in compliance with this
chapter.
SECTION 17. Section 31.11, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsections (j) and (k) to read as follows:
(j) If the collector for a taxing unit does not respond to an
application for a refund on or before the 90th day after the date
the application is filed with the collector, the application is
presumed to have been denied.
(k) Not later than the 60th day after the date the collector
for a taxing unit denies an application for a refund, the taxpayer
may file suit against the taxing unit in district court to compel
the payment of the refund. If the collector collects taxes for more
than one taxing unit, the taxpayer shall join in the suit each
taxing unit on behalf of which the collector denied the refund. If
the taxpayer prevails in the suit, the taxpayer may be awarded:
(1) costs of court; and
(2) reasonable attorney’s fees in an amount not to
exceed the greater of:

(A) $1,500; or
(B) 30 percent of the total amount of the refund
determined by the court to be due.
SECTION 18. Section 33.48(a), Tax Code, is amended to read
as follows:
(a) In addition to other costs authorized by law, a taxing
unit is entitled to recover the following costs and expenses in a
suit to collect a delinquent tax:
(1) all usual court costs, including the cost of
serving process and electronic filing fees;
(2) costs of filing for record a notice of lis pendens
against property;
(3) expenses of foreclosure sale;
(4) reasonable expenses that are incurred by the
taxing unit in determining the name, identity, and location of
necessary parties and in procuring necessary legal descriptions of
the property on which a delinquent tax is due;
(5) attorney’s fees in the amount of 15 percent of the
total amount of taxes, penalties, and interest due the unit; and
(6) reasonable attorney ad litem fees approved by the
court that are incurred in a suit in which the court orders the
appointment of an attorney to represent the interests of a
defendant served with process by means of citation by publication
or posting.
SECTION 19. Section 33.49(a), Tax Code, is amended to read
as follows:
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a taxing unit is
not liable in a suit to collect taxes for court costs, including any
fees for service of process or electronic filing, an attorney ad
litem, arbitration, or mediation, and may not be required to post
security for costs.
SECTION 20. (a) Section 41.43, Tax Code, is amended by
amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (a-3), (a-4), and
(a-5) to read as follows:
(a) Except as provided by Subsections (a-1), (a-3), and (d),
in a protest authorized by Section 41.41(a)(1) or (2), the
appraisal district has the burden of establishing the value of the
property by a preponderance of the evidence presented at the
hearing. If the appraisal district fails to meet that standard, the
protest shall be determined in favor of the property owner.
(a-3) In a protest authorized by Section 41.41(a)(1) or (2),
the appraisal district has the burden of establishing the value of
the property by clear and convincing evidence presented at the
hearing if:
(1) the appraised value of the property was lowered
under this subtitle in the preceding tax year;
(2) the appraised value of the property in the
preceding tax year was not established as a result of a written
agreement between the property owner or the owner’s agent and the
appraisal district under Section 1.111(e); and
(3) not later than the 14th day before the date of the
first day of the hearing, the property owner files with the
appraisal review board and delivers to the chief appraiser:
(A) information, such as income and expense
statements or information regarding comparable sales, that is
sufficient to allow for a determination of the appraised or market
value of the property if the protest is authorized by Section
41.41(a)(1); or
(B) information that is sufficient to allow for a
determination of whether the property was appraised unequally if
the protest is authorized by Section 41.41(a)(2).
(a-4) If the appraisal district has the burden of
establishing the value of property by clear and convincing evidence
presented at the hearing on a protest as provided by Subsection
(a-3) and the appraisal district fails to meet that standard, the
protest shall be determined in favor of the property owner.
(a-5) Subsection (a-3)(3) does not impose a duty on a
property owner to provide any information in a protest authorized
by Section 41.41(a)(1) or (2). That subdivision is merely a
condition to the applicability of the standard of evidence provided
by Subsection (a-3).
(b) The change in law made by this section applies only to a
protest filed with an appraisal review board on or after the
effective date of this section. A protest filed with an appraisal
review board before the effective date of this section is covered by
the law in effect at the time the protest was filed, and the former
law is continued in effect for that purpose.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, this
section takes effect September 1, 2013.
SECTION 21. Section 41.45, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsection (n) to read as follows:
(n) A property owner does not waive the right to appear in
person at the protest hearing by submitting an affidavit to the
appraisal review board. The board may consider the affidavit only
if the property owner does not appear at the protest hearing in
person. For purposes of scheduling the hearing, the property owner
shall state in the affidavit that the property owner does not intend
to appear at the hearing or that the property owner intends to
appear at the hearing and that the affidavit may be used only if the
property owner does not appear at the hearing. If the property
owner does not state in the affidavit whether the owner intends to
appear at the hearing, the board shall consider the submission of
the affidavit as an indication that the property owner does not
intend to appear at the hearing. If the property owner states in
the affidavit that the owner does not intend to appear at the
hearing or does not state in the affidavit whether the owner intends
to appear at the hearing, the appraisal review board is not required
to consider the affidavit at the scheduled hearing and may consider
the affidavit at a hearing designated for the specific purpose of
processing affidavits.
SECTION 22. Section 41.66, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsections (i), (j), (k), (l), (m), (n), and (o) to read as
follows:
(i) A hearing on a protest filed by a property owner who is
not represented by an agent designated under Section 1.111 shall be
set for a time and date certain. If the hearing is not commenced
within two hours of the time set for the hearing, the appraisal
review board shall postpone the hearing on the request of the
property owner.
(j) On the request of a property owner or a designated
agent, an appraisal review board shall schedule hearings on
protests concerning up to 20 designated properties on the same day.
The designated properties must be identified in the same notice of
protest, and the notice must contain in boldfaced type the
statement “request for same-day protest hearings.” A property
owner or designated agent may not file more than one request under
this subsection with the appraisal review board in the same tax
year. The appraisal review board may schedule hearings on protests
concerning more than 20 properties filed by the same property owner
or designated agent and may use different panels to conduct the
hearings based on the board’s customary scheduling. The appraisal
review board may follow the practices customarily used by the board
in the scheduling of hearings under this subsection.
(k) If an appraisal review board sits in panels to conduct
protest hearings, protests shall be randomly assigned to panels,
except that the board may consider the type of property subject to
the protest or the ground of the protest for the purpose of using
the expertise of a particular panel in hearing protests regarding
particular types of property or based on particular grounds. If a
protest is scheduled to be heard by a particular panel, the protest
may not be reassigned to another panel without the consent of the
property owner or designated agent. If the appraisal review board
has cause to reassign a protest to another panel, a property owner
or designated agent may agree to reassignment of the protest or may
request that the hearing on the protest be postponed. The board
shall postpone the hearing on that request. A change of members of
a panel because of a conflict of interest, illness, or inability to
continue participating in hearings for the remainder of the day
does not constitute reassignment of a protest to another panel.
(l) A property owner, attorney, or agent offering evidence
or argument in support of a protest brought under Section
41.41(a)(1) or (2) of this code is not subject to Chapter 1103,
Occupations Code, unless the person offering the evidence or
argument states that the person is offering evidence or argument as
a person holding a license or certificate under Chapter 1103,
Occupations Code. A person holding a license or certificate under
Chapter 1103, Occupations Code, shall state the capacity in which
the person is appearing before the appraisal review board.
(m) An appraisal district or appraisal review board may not
make decisions with regard to membership on a panel or chairmanship
of a panel based on a member’s voting record in previous protests.
(n) A request for postponement of a hearing must contain the
mailing address and e-mail address of the person requesting the
postponement. An appraisal review board shall respond in writing
or by e-mail to a request for postponement of a hearing not later
than the seventh day after the date of receipt of the request.
(o) The chairman of an appraisal review board or a member
designated by the chairman may make decisions with regard to the
scheduling or postponement of a hearing. The chief appraiser or a
person designated by the chief appraiser may agree to a
postponement of an appraisal review board hearing.
SECTION 23. Section 41A.03(a), Tax Code, is amended to read
as follows:
(a) To appeal an appraisal review board order under this
chapter, a property owner must file with the appraisal district not
later than the 45th day after the date the property owner receives
notice of the order:
(1) a completed request for binding arbitration under
this chapter in the form prescribed by Section 41A.04; and
(2) an arbitration deposit made payable to the
comptroller in the amount of[:

[(A)] $500[; or
[(B) $250, if the property owner requests
expedited arbitration under Section 41A.031].
SECTION 24. Sections 42.08(b), (b-1), and (c), Tax Code,
are amended to read as follows:
(b) Except as provided in Subsection (d), a property owner
who appeals as provided by this chapter must pay taxes on the
property subject to the appeal in the amount required by this
subsection before the delinquency date or the property owner
forfeits the right to proceed to a final determination of the
appeal. The amount of taxes the property owner must pay on the
property before the delinquency date to comply with this subsection
is the lesser of:
(1) the amount of taxes due on the portion of the
taxable value of the property that is not in dispute; [or]
(2) the amount of taxes due on the property under the
order from which the appeal is taken; or
(3) the amount of taxes imposed on the property in the
preceding tax year.
(b-1) This subsection applies only to an appeal in which the
property owner elects to pay the amount of taxes described by
Subsection (b)(1). The appeal filed by the property owner must be
accompanied by a statement in writing of the amount of taxes the
property owner proposes to pay. The failure to provide the
statement required by this subsection is not a jurisdictional
error.
(c) A property owner that pays an amount of taxes greater
than that required by Subsection (b) does not forfeit the property
owner’s right to a final determination of the appeal by making the
payment. The property owner may pay an additional amount of taxes
at any time. If the property owner files a timely appeal under this
chapter, taxes paid on the property are considered paid under
protest, even if paid before the appeal is filed. If the taxes are
subject to the split-payment option provided by Section 31.03, the
property owner may comply with Subsection (b) of this section by
paying one-half of the amount otherwise required to be paid under
that subsection before December 1 and paying the remaining one-half
of that amount before July 1 of the following year.
SECTION 25. Section 42.21, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsections (f), (g), and (h) to read as follows:
(f) A petition filed by an owner or lessee of property may
include multiple properties that are owned or leased by the same
person and are of a similar type or are part of the same economic
unit and would typically sell as a single property. If a petition
is filed by multiple plaintiffs or includes multiple properties
that are not of a similar type, are not part of the same economic
unit, or are part of the same economic unit but would not typically
sell as a single property, the court may on motion and a showing of
good cause sever the plaintiffs or the properties.
(g) A petition filed by an owner or lessee of property may be
amended to include additional properties in the same county that
are owned or leased by the same person, are of a similar type as the
property originally involved in the appeal or are part of the same
economic unit as the property originally involved in the appeal and
would typically sell as a single property, and are the subject of an
appraisal review board order issued in the same year as the order
that is the subject of the original appeal. The amendment must be
filed within the period during which a petition for review of the
appraisal review board order pertaining to the additional
properties would be required to be filed under Subsection (a).
(h) The court has jurisdiction over an appeal under this
chapter brought on behalf of a property owner or lessee and the
owner or lessee is considered to have exhausted the owner’s or
lessee’s administrative remedies regardless of whether the
petition correctly identifies the plaintiff as the owner or lessee
of the property or correctly describes the property so long as the
property was the subject of an appraisal review board order, the
petition was filed within the period required by Subsection (a),
and the petition provides sufficient information to identify the
property that is the subject of the petition. Whether the plaintiff
is the proper party to bring the petition or whether the property
needs to be further identified or described must be addressed by
means of a special exception and correction of the petition by
amendment as authorized by Subsection (e) and may not be the subject
of a plea to the jurisdiction or a claim that the plaintiff has
failed to exhaust the plaintiff’s administrative remedies. If the
petition is amended to add a plaintiff, the court on motion shall
enter a docket control order to provide proper deadlines in
response to the addition of the plaintiff.
SECTION 26. Section 42.23, Tax Code, is amended by adding
Subsection (h) to read as follows:
(h) Evidence, argument, or other testimony offered at an
appraisal review board hearing by a property owner or agent is not
admissible in an appeal under this chapter unless:
(1) the evidence, argument, or other testimony is
offered to demonstrate that there is sufficient evidence to deny a
no-evidence motion for summary judgment filed by a party to the
appeal or is necessary for the determination of the merits of a
motion for summary judgment filed on another ground;
(2) the property owner or agent is designated as a
witness for purposes of trial and the testimony offered at the
appraisal review board hearing is offered for impeachment purposes;
or
(3) the evidence is the plaintiff’s testimony at the
appraisal review board hearing as to the value of the property.
SECTION 27. Section 42.29(a), Tax Code, is amended to read
as follows:
(a) A property owner who prevails in an appeal to the court
under Section 42.25 or 42.26, [or] in an appeal to the court of a
determination of an appraisal review board on a motion filed under
Section 25.25, or in an appeal to the court of a determination of an
appraisal review board of a protest of the denial in whole or in
part of an exemption under Section 11.17, 11.22, 11.23, 11.231, or
11.24 may be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees. The amount of the
award may not exceed the greater of:
(1) $15,000; or
(2) 20 percent of the total amount by which the
property owner’s tax liability is reduced as a result of the appeal.
SECTION 28. Section 41A.031, Tax Code, is repealed.
SECTION 29. The changes in law made by this Act apply to a
proceeding that is pending on the effective date of this Act or is
filed on or after the effective date of this Act.
SECTION 30. The Texas Commission of Licensing and
Regulation shall adopt the rules required by Section 1151.1581(f),
Occupations Code, as added by this Act, not later than January 1,
2014.
SECTION 31. Section 6.035, Tax Code, as amended by this Act,
does not affect the eligibility of an individual serving on an
appraisal district board of directors immediately before the
effective date of this Act to continue to serve on the appraisal
district board of directors for the term to which the member was
appointed.
SECTION 32. A person appointed or serving as a chief
appraiser in an appraisal district established in a county with a
population of 100,000 or less on the effective date of this Act who
is not eligible to be appointed or serve as a chief appraiser under
Section 6.05(c), Tax Code, as amended by this Act, but who is
registered with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
and classified as a Class III appraiser under the rules of the Texas
Commission of Licensing and Regulation may continue to serve as the
chief appraiser until January 1, 2016.
SECTION 33. (a) As soon as practicable on or after January
1, 2014, the local administrative district judge or the judge’s
designee in a county described by Section 6.41(d-1), Tax Code, as
amended by this Act, in the manner provided by Section 6.41, Tax
Code, shall appoint the members of the appraisal review board for
the appraisal district established in the county. In making the
initial appointments, the judge or judge’s designee shall designate
those members who serve terms of one year as necessary to comply
with Section 6.41(e), Tax Code.
(b) The changes made to Section 6.41, Tax Code, by this Act
apply only to the appointment of appraisal review board members to
terms beginning on or after January 1, 2014. This Act does not
affect the term of an appraisal review board member serving on
December 31, 2013, if the member was appointed before January 1,
2014, to a term that began before December 31, 2013, and expires
December 31, 2014.
SECTION 34. Section 6.411, Tax Code, as amended by this Act,
applies only to an offense committed on or after the effective date
of this Act. An offense committed before the effective date of this
Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the offense was
committed, and the former law is continued in effect for that
purpose. For purposes of this section, an offense was committed
before the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense
occurred before that date.
SECTION 35. Sections 22.01 and 22.24, Tax Code, as amended
by this Act, apply only to the rendition of property for ad valorem
tax purposes for a tax year that begins on or after January 1, 2014.
SECTION 36. Section 23.02, Tax Code, as amended by this Act,
applies to all properties affected by a disaster as defined by
Section 418.004, Government Code, that were appraised as of January
1, 2013. Property affected by a disaster and appraised prior to
January 1, 2013, is governed by the law in effect at that time.
SECTION 37. The change in law made by Section 23.23(g), Tax
Code, as added by this Act, applies only to the appraisal of a
residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes for a tax year that
begins on or after January 1, 2014.
SECTION 38. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of
this section:
(1) this Act takes effect immediately if it receives a
vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution; and
(2) if this Act does not receive the vote necessary for
immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2013.
(b) Sections 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 21, 22, and 35
of this Act take effect January 1, 2014.

______________________________ ______________________________
President of the Senate Speaker of the House

I certify that H.B. No. 585 was passed by the House on May 3,
2013, by the following vote: Yeas 143, Nays 2, 2 present, not
voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
No. 585 on May 24, 2013, by the following vote: Yeas 146, Nays 0, 2
present, not voting.

______________________________
Chief Clerk of the House

I certify that H.B. No. 585 was passed by the Senate, with
amendments, on May 22, 2013, by the following vote: Yeas 28, Nays
3.

______________________________
Secretary of the Senate
APPROVED: __________________
Date

__________________
Governor

Property Tax Protection Program™ Benefits

  • No flat fees or upfront costs.  No cost ever unless your property taxes are reduced.
  • All practical efforts are made every year to reduce your property taxes.
  • Never miss another appeal deadline.
  • Property taxes protested for you annually.
  • You do not have to accept the appraisal district’s initial guesstimate of value.
  • We coordinate with you regarding building size / condition to avoid excess taxes.
  • Free support regarding homestead exemptions.
  • Some years are good – typically 6 to 7 out of 10 will result in tax reduction for you.
  • The other 3 to 4 years out of 10 we strike out. Most often due to people issues in the hearing process. Some years we get an easy appraiser at the informal; some years someone who is impossible to settle with.
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