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Property Tax Fiduciary 1.11

Section 5.03 – Powers and Duties Generally

Determining who is responsible for the amount of property taxes paid and the administration of the process is difficult. The process includes the Texas Comptroller, appraisal district staff, chief appraiser, appraisal district review board of directors, appraisal district review board and tax entities. When Texas property owners express dismay about rising property taxes, elected officials are likely to say “We didn’t raise your property taxes, the appraisal district increased your assessed value.” The appraisal district staff reports to the chief appraiser, who is selected by the appraisal review board of directors, who are elected by the tax entities, which are run by the politicians. Each party in the circle can pass responsibility to another party.

The Texas Comptroller further confuses assignment of responsibility. The comptroller is responsible for establishing minimum standards for the administration and operation of an appraisal district. However, the comptroller has limited options for enforcing these minimum standards.

The Texas Comptroller also performs an annual ratio study to each appraisal district to determine whether properties are assessed at market value. Texas law requires appraisal districts to achieve a median level of assessment of 95 – 105% for the properties within each school district. School districts can lose a portion of property taxes they collect if the median level of appraisal within the school district falls below 95%. The comptroller’s ratio study has been cited as a key factor causing aggressive increases in property tax assessed values.

While the Texas Comptroller can force local appraisal districts to institute substantial increases in assessed value, they have no effective option to require appraisal districts or appraisal review boards to follow the law.

Sec. 5.03. Powers and Duties Generally

(a) The comptroller shall adopt rules establishing minimum standards for the administration and operation of an appraisal district. The minimum standards may vary according to the number of parcels and the kinds of property the district is responsible for appraising.

(b) The comptroller may require from each district engaged in appraising property for taxation an annual report on a form prescribed by the comptroller on the administration and operation of the appraisal office.

(c) The comptroller may contract with consultants to assist in performance of the duties imposed by this chapter.

Amended by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 118, ch. 13, Sec. 6; amended by 1991 Tex. Laws (2nd C.S.), p. 26, ch. 6, Sec. 2.

Cross References:
Comptroller shall prescribe and furnish forms, see Sec. 5.07.
Comptroller annual report, see Sec. 5.09(a).

The board lacks authority to make rules clarifying the procedure for electing the appraisal district board of directors. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. MW-126 (1980).

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

  • Carrollton
  • East Columbia
  • Edgecliff
  • Copper Canyon
  • Onion Creek
  • Bacliff
  • Tiki Island
  • Kennedale
  • Lochridge
  • Alamo Heights
  • Corral City
  • Bee Cave
  • Liverpool
  • Lakeway
  • Oak Grove
  • Pleasant Run
  • Old Ocean
  • Seabrook
  • Sweeny
  • Patton Village

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

  • Research and development
  • Department store
  • Cold storage facility
  • Health spa
  • Self-storage
  • Auto salvage yard
  • Bowling alley
  • Mobile home park
  • Used car lot
  • Tennis club

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

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