Duties after Records Approval
When the ARB approves the appraisal records for the year, the ARB fulfills most of its responsibilities to change the records. However, an ARB's duties do not end after it approves the appraisal records. It may need to address other matters throughout the tax year, including late-filed residence homestead exemptions, supplemental records, appraisal roll corrections, failure to deliver notice, cases of substantial error and joint motions on incorrect values.
Late-filed exemption applications
Property owners may file homestead exemption applications after the May 1 deadline for filing has passed. Homeowners must apply for the exemption no later than one year after the delinquency date for the tax year. Property owners age 65 and older or disabled homeowners may file an application for this homestead exemption up to one year after the date the person turns 65 or becomes disabled. The chief appraiser approves, denies or modifies the exemption as appropriate and submits the proposed change to the records to the ARB.
The Tax Code also provides for late-filed exemption applications for manufactured home homesteads, religious organizations, schools, charitable organizations, low-income housing, cotton stored in warehouses, veteran's organizations, disabled veterans and freeport exemptions.
After the ARB approves the appraisal records and the late-filed homestead exemptions, the chief appraiser notifies the collector for each taxing unit in which the home is located. The collector then calculates the new lower tax and sends the property owner a refund or new bill as appropriate.
If the chief appraiser denies a late-filed homestead exemption application, the property owner may file a notice of protest and request an ARB hearing.
The chief appraiser often prepares and submits supplemental records to the ARB after approval of the initial appraisal records. Supplemental records list property that the chief appraiser discovers was not included in the initial records submitted to the ARB. These records also include property that was omitted from the appraisal roll in an earlier year.
The ARB reviews and approves supplemental records by the same process used for the original appraisal records. However, the deadline for a property owner to protest is different. A property owner has 30 days after the chief appraiser submits the supplemental records to file a notice of protest. The ARB has 30 days after the property owner files the protest to hear and determine it, or as soon after that date as possible. After completing its review the ARB adopts an order approving the supplemental records (Exhibit 22).
Order Approving Supplemental Appraisal Records
Corrections after approval
The ARB has authority to hear motions to correct appraisal rolls and to hear protests for failure of the appraisal district to provide notice to the property owner. The chief appraiser also has certain authority to correct errors in approved appraisal records. Correction procedures vary, depending on the type of correction. The ARB may correct some errors up to five years after the year of the error and may correct other errors only if the property owner acts before the tax year's delinquency date. The filing deadlines and types of corrections are discussed below.
A person who acquires a property after Jan. 1 of the tax year in question has the same rights to file a motion to correct the property's record as the Jan. 1 owner had. The new owner must meet the same deadline for filing the motion. In addition, the new owner may continue any motion filed by the Jan. 1 owner.
Changes by the chief appraiser
The chief appraiser may change the appraisal roll at any time to correct a name or address, determination of ownership, a description of property, multiple appraisals of the property, a clerical error or other inaccuracy as prescribed by ARB rule that does not increase a person's tax liability. The chief appraiser does not need to consult with the ARB before ordering these changes. Written rules setting out the circumstances under which the chief appraiser may correct errors that affect a person's tax liability must be adopted by the ARB and possibly the appraisal district's board of directors. The law is ambiguous and the ARB should request legal advice about the rules.
Each quarter, the chief appraiser will submit a report to the ARB and appraisal district board of directors showing any changes to the appraisal rolls. The report must include the property owner's name, address, property description and type of clerical error or other inaccuracy that caused an error on the appraisal rolls.
The failure or refusal of a chief appraiser to make a clerical error change to an appraisal roll is not subject to an ARB action or a taxpayer lawsuit.
Changes by ARB
On the motion of the chief appraiser or a property owner, the ARB may order changes to the appraisal roll to correct clerical errors that affect a property owner's liability for a tax; multiple appraisals of a property in a single tax year; or the inclusion of property that does not exist, either in the form described on the appraisal roll or at the location described on the appraisal roll. If the chief appraiser and property owner do not agree on a motion to correct the appraisal records within 15 days after the property owner files the motion, the property owner is entitled to a hearing on the motion if requested. The property owner is entitled to a hearing regardless of whether he or she protested the property value in a prior year. At least 15 days before the hearing, the ARB must deliver a written notice with the date, time and place of the hearing to the property owner, chief appraiser and presiding officer of the governing body of each taxing unit in which the property is located. The ARB should conduct these hearings the same way it conducts regular protest hearings. A person forfeits the right to file a motion to correct the appraisal records if taxes are delinquent in a year for which the person seeks a correction.
Before delinquency date
On a motion by the chief appraiser or the property owner, the ARB may order changes to correct certain appraisal errors in the appraisal roll. The deadline for such a motion is before taxes on the property become delinquent.
On joint motion of the property owner and the chief appraiser, the ARB must correct an error that resulted in an incorrect appraised value for the owner's property. The deadline for filing this motion is before the taxes on the property become delinquent.
Finally, a taxpayer may file a protest after the normal protest deadline alleging failure of the ARB or the chief appraiser to provide or deliver a notice required by law. If the taxpayer can show that a notice was never delivered, the ARB must hear any protest the taxpayer wishes to bring on the property affected by the notice. The taxpayer must file before the delinquency date.
Types of corrections
One of the most common motions to correct is called a "25.25(c)" motion because of the Tax Code section involved. The following information describes the types of corrections: clerical errors, multiple appraisals and non-existent property. A sample motion is found in Exhibit 23.
Sample 25.25(c) Motions
Chief Appraiser's Motion to Correct Clerical Error
Property Owner's Motion to Correct Clerical Error
A clerical error is defined by law as an error caused by a mistake in writing, copying, transcribing, computer data entry or retrieval or a mathematical error that prevents the appraisal or tax roll from correctly showing what the chief appraiser, ARB or tax assessor said or did.
A clerical error is not a mistake in reasoning or judgment in making a finding or determination. Corrections can be made in appraisal rolls for five prior years.
A multiple appraisal occurs when a property is listed in the appraisal records more than once for the same year. On the timely motion of the chief appraiser or of the property owner, the ARB may order a correction to the appraisal roll for a multiple appraisal.
The five-year filing deadline applies. Taxes may not be delinquent for the years corrected.
Non-existent property included on the appraisal roll is property that does not exist either in the form or at the location described on the appraisal roll. On the motion of the chief appraiser or the property owner, the ARB may correct, before the end of five years after Jan. 1 of the tax year, any errors involving non-existent property. Again, taxes may not be delinquent for the years corrected.
One-third over-appraisal error
The chief appraiser or a property owner may file a motion to correct an appraisal error that results in a wrongly appraised value for the owner's property (Exhibit 24).
Motion for Hearing to Correct One-Third Over Appraisal Error
If the chief appraiser and property owner do not agree on a motion to correct the appraisal records within 15 days after the property owner files the motion, the property owner is entitled to a hearing on the motion if requested.
The error may be corrected only if the appraised value exceeds the correct value by more than one-third. The ARB should determine the correct value. It may wish to include its calculation method for the one-third difference in its administrative procedures.
The correction motion must be brought before taxes on the property become delinquent. The ARB may correct the value if the property was not the subject of a protest or a written agreement. The ARB may not make a requested appraisal roll correction if the owner's property was the subject of an ARB hearing in which the owner appeared and offered evidence or argument and the ARB made a determination on the merits or the appraised value was the result of a written agreement between the owner or owner's agent and the appraisal district.
After a motion is filed and a hearing granted, the ARB must deliver a 15-day notice of the time, date and place of the hearing to the chief appraiser, the property owner and presiding officer of the governing body of each taxing unit in which the property is located (Exhibit 25).
Notice of Hearing
Each party is entitled to present evidence and argument at the hearing and to receive written notice of the board's determination. The property owner or the chief appraiser may file a suit to compel the ARB to make a change required by law.
The property owner must pay a late-correction penalty if the ARB makes a change. The amount of the penalty is 10 percent of the taxes due on the new value. The 10 percent penalty must be paid to each taxing unit affected by the change.
Joint motion on incorrect value
The ARB – on a joint motion by the property owner and the chief appraiser – must correct an error that resulted in an incorrect appraised value for the owner's property. The deadline for filing this joint motion is before the delinquency date (Exhibit 26).
Joint Motion to Correct Incorrect Appraised Value
An agreement between the property owner or the owner's agent and the appraisal district is final. The ARB may not review or reject the agreement.
Late protest based on failure to deliver notice
Certain notices are required by law. A non-exclusive list may be found in Exhibit 27. Failure to deliver one of these notices permits late protests to be considered by the ARB.
Tax Code Section
|Notice of new application for exemption||11.43(c)|
|Notice canceling exemption||11.43(h)|
|Notice of annual exemption application||11.44(a)|
|Notice of modification or denial of exemption||11.45(d)|
|Notice of decision on report of decreased value||22.03(c)|
|Notice of annual application for agricultural appraisal||23.43(e)|
|Notice of denial of agricultural appraisal||23.44(d)|
|Notice of new application for open-space land appraisal||23.54(e)|
|Notice of penalty for failure of property owner to notify chief appraiser that open-space land no longer qualifies for special appraisal||23.54(i)|
|Notice of denial of open-space land appraisal||23.57|
|Notice of change of use determination||23.46, 23.35, 23.76|
|Notice of new application for timberland appraisal||23, 75(e)|
|Notice of new application for public access airport property appraisal||23.94(c)|
|Notice of penalty for failure of property owner to notify chief appraiser that timberland no longer qualifies for special appraisal||23.75(j)|
|Notice of denial for timberland appraisal||23.79(d)|
|Notice of new application for recreational, park and scenic land appraisal||28.84(c)|
|Notice of denial for recreational, park and scenic land appraisal||23.85(d)|
|Notice of penalty for violating deed restriction for recreational, park and scenic land appraisal||23.87(b)|
|Notice of denial of application for public access airport property appraisal||23.95(d)|
|Notice of penalty for violating deed restriction for public access airport property appraisal||23.97(b)|
|Notice of Appraised Value (as applicable)||25.19|
Source: Texas Property Tax Code, 2009
A property owner may file a late protest, after the normal deadline but before the delinquency date or no later than the 125th day after the date the property owner claims to have received the tax bill from one or more of the taxing units that tax the property, alleging that the appraisal district or the ARB has not delivered or provided a notice required by law. The owner is entitled to a hearing solely on whether one or more taxing units timely delivered the tax bill. If the ARB determines that no taxing unit timely delivered a tax bill, the ARB must determine when at least one taxing unit delivered written notice of the taxes. For the purposes of filing the protest and making a tax compliance payment, the delinquency date is postponed to the 125th day after that date.
If, at the hearing on whether the appraisal district delivered notice, the ARB finds that the notice was required but was not delivered, it must hear any protest regarding the property that the property owner cares to present. As noted, the taxpayer must comply with tax payment requirements.
Delivery in this context means that the appraisal district mailed the notice, correctly addressed to the property owner at the last address furnished by the property owner. Delivery is presumed unless the property owner provides some evidence that he or she did not receive the notice. In that case, the burden shifts to the appraisal district to show that the notice was properly mailed to the last correct address in its possession.
If the appraisal district can show proper mailing, then the taxpayer is not entitled to have the protest heard under this provision. If the taxpayer claims no receipt and the appraisal district cannot show proper mailing, then the property owner has shown failure of delivery. If the ARB determines that this is the case, the ARB must then hear and determine any and all protests the property owner wishes to make regarding the property that was the subject of the notice.
Tax payment during an appeal or request for binding arbitration
In most cases, the property owner must tender taxes as required by provisions of the Tax Code. The owner must pay the lesser of the amount of taxes not in dispute or the amount of taxes due on the property based on the approved value that is being appealed or binding arbitration is sought before the delinquency date.
On motion of a party to a district court appeal, the court holds a hearing to determine if the taxpayer complied with this requirement. The court may dismiss the pending action for failure to comply or may require full compliance if the owner has only substantially complied. The owner has 30 days from the court's decision to fully comply.
A district court may excuse a property owner from the required payment of taxes to taxing units in a district court appeal. The property owner must file an oath of inability to pay the taxes in question and argue that the payment constitutes an unreasonable restraint on the right to obtain access to the courts to contest the matter. The court sets a hearing and determines reasonable terms or conditions for any relief from payment. The judge has the discretion to address the owner's needs to seek legal redress versus the taxing units' need for an adequate, reliable income stream.