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Appraisal Districts Established 6.01

County Appraisal District Established in 1981 to Value Property in County

County appraisal districts were established in Texas in 1981. Previously, each tax entity was responsible for valuing the property in their district. Hence, if you wanted to protest the property taxes for your home, you would have to protest and attend hearing with: 1) county, 2) school and 3) city.

Section 6.01 – Appraisal Districts Established

Appraisal districts were established as a political subdivision of the state in 1981. Texas appraisal districts enjoy material privileges as a political subdivision.

While the claim seems ludicrous, Texas appraisal districts claim state district courts do not have jurisdiction to review actions of the appraisal district and appraisal review board. They further claim this is true even if they are knowingly and habitually violating Texas property tax law.

Being a political subdivision also provides some level of judicial immunity to appraisal districts and their staff who knowingly violate the Texas Property Tax Code and intentionally attempt to harm individual property owners.

There are limited options to affect change in errant behavior by appraisal districts. They include the judicial process, media, local political process and legislative process. There are currently no options for addressing individual unlawful actions by appraisal districts other than filing suit in state district court.

Filing a judicial appeal for each unlawful action by an appraisal district is an unsatisfactory option. It is expensive to exercise and at best achieves what was appropriate initially and provides the appraisal district no incentive to improve their behavior.

The appraisal district is run by the chief appraiser, who serves at the pleasure of the appraisal district board of directors, whose five members are appointed by the tax entities (served by the appraisal district). While there is a clear chain-of-command between appraisal district staff and the tax entities, there is not clear mechanism to protect against habitual unlawful behavior by appraisal districts and appraisal review boards.

Texas property owners should have an option to address unlawful behavior by appraisal districts and appraisal review boards. The Texas property tax system is superior to the system in many other states; however, Texas taxpayers have a right to expect and consistently receive lawful actions by tax assessors.

Sec. 6.01. Appraisal Districts Established

(a) An appraisal district is established in each county.

(b) The district is responsible for appraising property in the district for ad valorem tax purposes of each taxing unit that imposes ad valorem taxes on property in the district.

(c) An appraisal district is a political subdivision of the state.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2224, ch. 841, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1980. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., 1st C.S., p. 119, ch. 13, Sec. 12, 13, eff. Aug. 14, 1981; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 4819, ch. 851, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 29, 1983.

Cross References:
Changes in membership of board in a district, see Sec. 6.031.

The elected county tax assessor-collector is not constitutionally required to appraise property within an appraisal district. Article VIII, Sec. 18, Tex. Const., separates appraisal from the assessing function of the county tax assessor-collector, and directs the legislature to provide for a single appraisal within each county. The appraisal districts are charged with responsibility for appraising taxable property. Wilson v. Galveston County Appraisal District, 713 S.W.2d 98 (Tex. 1986).

A central appraisal district is a “public agency” empowered by Health and Safety Code Chapter 771 to maintain information needed for the provisions of 9-1-1 emergency service in rural areas. This is an implied authorization because the appraisal district must cooperate with other local agencies that are maintaining this type of information. The appraisal district directors are immune from personal liability for information so retained. Letter Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. DM-95-035 (1995).

Appraisal districts begin appraisal of property with the 1982 tax year. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. MW-126 (1980).
These codes affect property owners across the state, in both larger and smaller counties including:

  • Dallas County
  • Bexar County
  • Williamson County
  • Harris County
  • Waller County
  • Denton County
  • Travis County
  • Hidalgo County
  • Grayson County
  • Nueces County
  • Potter County
  • Palo Pinto County
  • Anderson County
  • Angelina County
  • Nolan County
  • Coryell County
  • Navarro County

The Texas Property Tax Code applies to all property types in Texas including:

  • Medical facility
  • Bowling alley
  • Motel
  • Convenience store
  • Restaurant
  • Health spa
  • Service station
  • Drugstore
  • Discount store
  • Commercial building

O’Connor & Associates offers property tax services to all property owners of all land uses across Texas.

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