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Property Tax Issuance Subpoena 41.61

Section 41.61 – Issuance of Subpoena

A subpoena is a legal document that can be used to require a witness to testify or to force production of documents deemed necessary for a property tax appeal hearing. The appraisal review board (ARB), property owner/tax consultant or appraisal district representative calls each request a subpoena.

Harris County Appraisal District appraisers used to regularly issue “six-day letters” asking the property owner to produce documents. These requests generally resulted in either the owner producing the information or withdrawing the protest. It was unusual that a subpoena was issued. Dallas County Appraisal District, Tarrant County Appraisal District, Bexar County Appraisal District and Travis County Appraisal District do not regularly issue subpoenas.

A hearing before the full ARB (or at least a quorum) is necessary to consider a request for a subpoena. There is no basis for an ARB panel to issue a subpoena. The ARB must deliver notice five days before the hearing. The party being subpoenaed must have an opportunity to be heard at the good cause hearing.

Sec. 41.61. Issuance of Subpoena.

(a) If reasonably necessary in the course of a protest provided by this chapter, the appraisal review board on its own motion or at the written request of a party to the protest, may subpoena witnesses or books, records, or other documents of the property owner or appraisal district that relate to the protest.

(b) On the written request of a party to a protest provided by this chapter, the appraisal review board shall issue a subpoena if the requesting party:

(1) shows good cause for issuing the subpoena; and

(2) deposits with the board a sum the board determines is reasonably sufficient to insure payment of the costs estimated to accrue for issuance and service of the subpoena and for compensation of the individual to whom it is directed.

(c) An appraisal review board may not issue a subpoena under this section unless the board holds a hearing at which the board determines that good cause exists for the issuance of the subpoena. The appraisal review board before which a good cause hearing is scheduled shall deliver written notice to the party being subpoenaed and parties to the protest of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The board shall deliver the notice not later than the 5th day before the date of the good cause hearing. The party being subpoenaed must have an opportunity to be heard at the good cause hearing.

Amended by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 172, ch. 13, Sec. 141; amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 3602, ch. 796, Sec. 38; amended by 1995 Tex. Laws, p. 4211, ch. 828, Sec. 3..

Cross References:
Disclosure of confidential information pursuant to subpoena, see Secs. 22.27, 23.45 & 41.64.
Inspection of appraisal district records, see Sec. 41.64.

Appraisal review board may not subpoena records of a property owner unless there is a pending challenge or protest before the board. The appraisal district has no authority to issue a subpoena. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. JM-981 (1988).

These codes affect property owners across the state, in both larger and smaller counties including:

  • Bexar County
  • Tarrant County
  • Brazoria County
  • Dallas County
  • Denton County
  • Travis County
  • Galveston County
  • Jefferson County
  • Gray County
  • Johnson County
  • Tom Green County
  • Nolan County
  • Hidalgo County
  • Uvalde County
  • Cameron County
  • Brazos County
  • Washington County

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

  • Used car lot
  • Office building
  • Lodging
  • Discount store
  • Truck stop
  • Office warehouse
  • Tennis club
  • Retirement home
  • Subsidized housing
  • Manufacturing/processing

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

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