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S.B. No. 1286

AN ACT relating to the system for protesting or appealing certain ad valorem tax determinations.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1.

Section 41.45, Tax Code, is amended by amending Subsections (h) and (o) and adding Subsection (p) to read as follows:
(h) Before the hearing on a protest or immediately after the hearing begins, the chief appraiser and the property owner or the owner’s agent shall each provide the other with a copy of any written material or material preserved on a [any] portable device designed to maintain a [an electronic, magnetic, or digital] reproduction of a document or image that the person intends to offer or submit to the appraisal review board at the hearing. Each person must provide the copy of material in the manner and form prescribed by comptroller rule.
(o) If the chief appraiser uses audiovisual equipment at a hearing on a protest, the appraisal office shall provide audiovisual equipment of the same general type, kind, and character, as prescribed by comptroller rule, for use during the hearing by the property owner or the property owner’s agent.
(p) The comptroller by rule shall prescribe:
(1) the manner and form, including security requirements, in which a person must provide a copy of material under Subsection (h), which must allow the appraisal review board to retain the material as part of the board’s hearing record; and
(2) specifications for the audiovisual equipment provided by an appraisal district for use by a property owner or the property owner’s agent under Subsection (o).

SECTION 2.

Section 41A.061(c), Tax Code, is amended to read as follows:
(c) The comptroller shall remove a person from the registry if:
(1) the person fails or declines to renew the person’s agreement to serve as an arbitrator in the manner required by this section; or
(2) the comptroller determines by clear and convincing evidence that there is good cause to remove the person from the registry, including evidence of repeated bias or misconduct by the person while acting as an arbitrator.

SECTION 3.

Section 41A.07, Tax Code, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (e), (f), and (g) to read as follows:
(a) On receipt of the request and deposit under Section 41A.05, the comptroller shall:
(1) appoint an eligible arbitrator who is listed in the comptroller’s registry; and
(2) send notice to the appointed arbitrator requesting the individual to conduct the hearing on the arbitration [send the property owner and the appraisal district a copy of the comptroller’s registry of qualified arbitrators and request that the parties select an arbitrator from the registry. The comptroller may send a copy of the registry to the parties by regular mail in paper form or may send the parties written notice of the Internet address of a website at which the registry is maintained and may be accessed. The parties shall attempt to select an arbitrator from the registry].
(e) To be eligible for appointment as an arbitrator under Subsection (a), the arbitrator must reside:
(1) in the county in which the property that is the subject of the appeal is located; or
(2) in this state if no available arbitrator on the registry resides in that county.
(f) A person is not eligible for appointment as an arbitrator under Subsection (a) if at any time during the preceding five years, the person has:
(1) represented a person for compensation in a proceeding under this title in the appraisal district in which the property that is the subject of the appeal is located;
(2) served as an officer or employee of that appraisal district; or
(3) served as a member of the appraisal review board for that appraisal district.
(g) The comptroller may not appoint an arbitrator under Subsection (a) if the comptroller determines that there is good cause not to appoint the arbitrator, including information or evidence indicating repeated bias or misconduct by the person while acting as an arbitrator.

SECTION 4.

Sections 41A.07(b) and (c), Tax Code, are repealed.

SECTION 5.

The comptroller shall adopt rules as provided by Section 41.45(p), Tax Code, as added by this Act, not later than January 1, 2018.

SECTION 6.

The changes in law made by this Act to Section 41.45, Tax Code, apply only to a protest for which the notice of protest was filed by a property owner with the appraisal review board established for an appraisal district on or after January 1, 2018.

SECTION 7.

The changes in law made by this Act to Section 41A.07, Tax Code, apply only to a request for binding arbitration received by the comptroller from an appraisal district on or after the effective date of this Act.

SECTION 8.

This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.

______________________________                                                                                                              ______________________________
President of the Senate                                                                                                                                            Speaker of the House

I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1286 passed the Senate on April 19, 2017, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.

______________________________
Secretary of the Senate

I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1286 passed the House on May 24, 2017, by the following vote: Yeas 146, Nays 0, two present not voting.

______________________________
Chief Clerk of the House

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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