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Texas Property Tax Definitions

Texas Property Tax Definitions

Section 1.04 Definitions

The Texas Property Tax Code has precise and detailed rules regarding the assessment, exemptions, appeal and payment of property taxes. Definitions are integral to and utilized throughout the code. Property owners who want to reduce their property taxes or obtain exemptions are impacted by these following definitions:

(1) “Property” means any matter or thing capable of private ownership.
(2) “Real property” means:

  • (A) land;
  • (B) an improvement;
  • (C) a mine or quarry;
  • (D) a mineral in place;
  • (E) standing timber; or
  • (F) an estate or interest, other than a mortgage or deed of trust creating a lien on property or an interest securing payment or performance of an obligation, in a property enumerated in Paragraphs (A) through (E) of this subdivision.

(3) “Improvement” means:

  • (A) a building, structure, fixture, or fence erected on or affixed to land;
  • (B) a transportable structure that is designed to be occupied for residential or business purposes, whether or not it is affixed to land, if the owner of the structure owns the land on which it is located, unless the structure is unoccupied and held for sale or normally is located at a particular place only temporarily; or
  • (C) for purposes of an entity created under Section 52, Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, the:
    • (i) subdivision of land by plat;
    • (ii) installation of water, sewer, or drainage lines; or
    • (iii) paving of undeveloped land.

(3-a) Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, a manufactured home is an improvement to real property only if the owner of the home has elected to treat the manufactured home as real property pursuant to Section 1201.2055, Occupations Code, and a certified copy of the statement of ownership and location has been filed with the real property records of the county in which the home is located as provided in Section 1201.2055(d), Occupations Code.

(4) “personal property” means property that is not real property.

(5) “Tangible personal property” means personal property that can be seen, weighed, measured, felt, or otherwise perceived by the senses, but does not include a document or other perceptible object that constitutes evidence of a valuable interest, claim, or right and has negligible or no intrinsic value.

(6) “Intangible personal property” means a claim, interest (other than an interest in tangible property), right, or other thing that has value but cannot be seen, felt, weighed, measured, or otherwise perceived by the senses, although its existence may be evidenced by a document. It includes a stock, bond, note or account receivable, franchise, license or permit, demand or time deposit, certificate of deposit, share account, share certificate account, share deposit account, insurance policy, annuity, pension, cause of action, contract, and goodwill.

(7) “Market value” means the price at which a property would transfer for cash or its equivalent under prevailing market conditions if:

  • (A) exposed for sale in the open market with a reasonable time for the seller to find a purchaser;
  • (B) both the seller and the purchaser know of all the uses and purposes to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being used and of the enforceable restrictions on its use; and
  • (C) both the seller and purchaser seek to maximize their gains and neither is in a position to take advantage of the exigencies of the other.

(8) “Appraised value” means the value determined as provided by Chapter 23 of this code.

(9) “Assessed value” means, for the purposes of assessment of property for taxation, the amount determined by multiplying the appraised value by the applicable assessment ratio, but, for the purposes of determining the debt limitation imposed by Article III, Section 52, of the Texas Constitution, shall mean the market value of the property recorded by the chief appraiser.

10) “Taxable value” means the amount determined by deducting from assessed value the amount of any applicable partial exemption.

(11) “Partial exemption” means an exemption of part of the value of taxable property.

(12) “Taxing unit” means a county, an incorporated city or town (including a home-rule city), a school district, a special district or authority (including a junior college district, a hospital district, a district created by or pursuant to the Water Code, a mosquito control district, a fire prevention district, or a noxious weed control district), or any other political unit of this state, whether created by or pursuant to the constitution or a local, special, or general law, that is authorized to impose and is imposing ad valorem taxes on property even if the governing body of another political unit determines the tax rate for the unit or otherwise governs its affairs.

(13) “Tax year” means the calendar year.

(14) “Assessor” means the officer or employee responsible for assessing property taxes as provided by Chapter 26 of this code for a taxing unit by whatever title he is designated.

(15) “Collector” means the officer or employee responsible for collecting property taxes for a taxing unit by whatever title he is designated.

(16) “Possessory interest” means an interest that exists as a result of possession or exclusive use or a right to possession or exclusive use of a property and that is unaccompanied by ownership of a fee simple or life estate in the property. However, “possessory interest” does not include an interest, whether of limited or indeterminate duration, that involves a right to exhaust a portion of a real property.

(17) “Conservation and reclamation district” means a district created under Article III, Section 52, or Article XVI, Section 59, of the Texas Constitution, or under a statute enacted under Article III, Section 52, or Article XVI, Section 59, of the Texas Constitution.

(18) “Clerical error” means an error:

(A) that is or results from a mistake or failure in writing, copying, transcribing, entering or retrieving computer data, computing, or calculating; or

(B) that prevents an appraisal roll or a tax roll from accurately reflecting a finding or determination made by the chief appraiser, the appraisal review board, or the assessor; however, “clerical error” does not include an error that is or results from a mistake in judgment or reasoning in the making of the finding or determination.

(19) “Comptroller” means the Comptroller of Public Accounts of the State of Texas.

(20) “Heir property” means real property:

(A) owned by one or more individuals, at least one of whom claims the property as the individual’s residence homestead; and

(B) acquired by the owner or owners by will, transfer on death deed, or intestacy, regardless of whether the interests of the owners are recorded in the real property records of the county in which the property is located.

(21) “Heir property owner” means an owner of their property who claims the property as the individual’s residence homestead.

Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 2218, ch. 841, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982. Amended by Acts 1981, 67th Leg., 1st C.S., p. 118, ch. 13, Sec. 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1982; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 984, Sec. 25, eff. June 19, 1987; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1123, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 13, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 393, Sec. 1, eff. June 10, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 843, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 14, Sec. 8.01(22), eff. Nov. 12, 1991; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 347, Sec. 4.04, eff. May 31, 1993; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1070, Sec. 52, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1284 (H.B. 2438), Sec. 30, eff. June 18, 2005.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 408 (H.B. 2019), Sec. 79, eff. September 1, 2017.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 663 (S.B. 1943), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2019.

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

  • Windemere
  • Ponder
  • West Columbia
  • Highland Park
  • Conroe
  • Ashwood
  • Sandy Point
  • Sanger
  • South Houston
  • Bartonville
  • University Park
  • Timberwood Park
  • Pinehurst
  • Highland Village
  • Lago Vista
  • Watauga
  • Hempstead
  • Waterloo
  • High Island
  • Spring Valley

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

  • Discount store
  • Airplane hangar
  • Medical office
  • Racket club
  • Motel
  • Auto dealer
  • Medical facility
  • Truck terminal
  • Hospital
  • Commercial building

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

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