The controversial Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019 or SB2 (Senate Bill 2) was recently passed. The bill, which aims to lower the tax burden on property tax owners in the state, introduces limits to some tax increases and aims to make the process of collecting and paying for property taxes easier and more transparent.
SB2 amends the Tax Code with the addition of subsections explaining the preparation and use of tax rate calculation forms and explaining the Comptroller’s role in the preparation and issuance of these forms.
Here’s what you need to know about tax rate calculation forms:
The role of the Comptroller
According to the existing Tax Code, the Comptroller is responsible for determining the contents of all forms used in the property tax system. He or she is also tasked with furnishing copies of model forms to local officials. The Comptroller may ask to be reimbursed for the expenses incurred in printing and distributing the forms.
The contents of all the forms must be uniform. The Comptroller can approve or prescribe additional or alternative forms for special circumstances.
The Comptroller is also tasked with ensuring that all appraisal districts use a uniform record system for submitting data for use in the studies indicated in the Government Code. This record system will include information on the sales of real property located within the boundaries of the appraisal district. The information on sales stored in the record system will be submitted annually in a form determined by the Comptroller.
The Tax Code indicates that property tax forms requiring signatures may be signed using an electronically captured handwritten signature. The state is prohibited from considering property tax forms submitted in the form of a facsimile, photocopy, or electronic copy invalid or unenforceable.
Amendments regarding tax rate calculation forms
SB2 includes amendments to Section 5.07 that specify details related to the preparation and issuance of tax forms.
The bill says that the Comptroller is tasked with prescribing tax rate calculation forms for use by officers and employees in every taxing unit and school district. Taxing units and school districts are to use these forms to calculate the voter-approval tax rate and the no-new-revenue tax rate for the appraisal district and submit this data to the Comptroller.
SB2 specifies that the tax rate calculation forms must now be available in electronic format. These electronic forms must have blanks that can be filled in electronically so that there won’t be a need to print them out.
After the forms have been filled out, they must be certified by designated officers who will determine that the applicable tax rates have been calculated accurately using the values from (1) the certified appraisal roll of the taxing unit or (2) the certified average of taxable value of property in the taxing unit.
After they have been verified, the tax rate calculation forms must be electronically incorporated into the appraisal district’s property tax database and electronically submitted to the county assessor-collector in the county in which the taxing unit is located.
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