Property Tax Assistance Division Director's Quarterly Update to
Property Tax Professionals
As part of Texas Comptroller Susan Combs’ commitment to assist property owners and local governments, the Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) provides updates on its activities. The following information summarizes our work in the third quarter of 2010, as well as planned activities for the fourth quarter
2010 Property Value Study Pre-Preliminary Release
In December 2010, PTAD will make a first-ever pre-preliminary release of large amounts of data used in the 2010 Property Value Study (PVS). The purpose of this pre-preliminary release is to provide county appraisal districts (CADs) with an opportunity to review and correct local data used in the PVS. The release will include a listing of all properties included as samples in the PVS, account numbers, the local values of the sampled properties and sales dates, if applicable. A replica of the district’s Report of Property Value and of the local tax roll value column of the summary worksheet will be provided. The data will be available on PTAD’s FTP server where appraisal districts and school districts will be able to access and copy the information.
Often, appeals of the preliminary findings of the PVS request corrections of simple errors and inaccurate data that could have been cleared up with data from the appraisal district. Common errors include: incorrect local values reported to PTAD, incorrect allocation data being used by PTAD, erroneous property identification or multiple parcels included in a sale.
The early release of data and the timely receipt of corrections by PTAD will help eliminate unnecessary appeals based simply on bad data. It will also provide a longer period of time to prepare for appeals. PTAD seeks to improve transparency and to provide more service to appraisal and school districts.
2011 Methods and Assistance Program (MAP)
Notices to appraisal districts receiving MAP reviews in 2011 were mailed Oct. 1. The deadline is Dec. 1 for the districts to submit their preliminary documents and data in response to PTAD’s request for information. Meeting this deadline allows the appraisal district to “Pass” one of the five mandatory “Pass/Fail” questions. It is an “easy A” just for submitting your information in a timely manner. Find out more information here on the MAP.
For questions concerning the MAP, contact Steve Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Property Tax Basics
The online publication Property Tax Basics was released in Sept. 2010. This publication updated and replaced the outdated Taxpayer Rights, Remedies and Responsibilities and was produced at the request of appraisal districts and tax offices. The publication is more taxpayer-friendly and includes a lot of updated information to help taxpayers understand the property tax system. It is only an online publication. Remember, the publication that you send with notices of appraised value or notices of appraisal review board hearings is the single-sheet Property Taxpayer Remedies, not Property Tax Basics.
PTAD facilitated a meeting with Texas Tech University in Lubbock on Sept. 20 to discuss and showcase the mapping services that a number of Texas universities may offer local appraisal districts. The meeting included representatives from local West Texas and Panhandle appraisal districts, as well as representatives from Texas Tech, the University of Texas at El Paso, Lamar University, Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas A&M International University. A similar meeting was held in Nacogdoches on Oct. 20 and another meeting is scheduled for Laredo on Dec. 3.
PTAD updated, expanded or changed property tax administrative rules over the last nine months. To read the adopted rules you can find them here: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/rules.html.
PTAD also published an updated rules publication, located here: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/proptaxrules.pdf .
New Videos on Arbitration
PTAD released several new videos on binding arbitration, in time for the 2010 binding arbitration season. Binding Arbitration for Beginners provides something for everyone on binding arbitration. Appraisal districts, new and veteran arbitrators and taxpayers new to arbitration can get useful information about binding arbitration and how it works. Taking Your Case to Binding Arbitration is useful to taxpayers who have never had an arbitration hearing and provides arbitrators with a check on what they should be doing before and during a hearing.
The Applying for Inclusion on the Arbitrator Registry and Becoming an Arbitrator video provides those eligible to be on the arbitrator registry with the basic information they need to qualify for inclusion.
PTAD held two webinars in September, one in October and will reprise two more webinars in November. The latest offerings from PTAD included Tax Assessor Collector Duties and Special Inventory Tax, which were geared to tax assessor-collectors and their staffs, and Methods and Assistance Program, which focused on appraisal district requirements, especially those coming up for review in 2011. In November, we will reprise the two first webinars at the request of tax assessor collectors. PTAD webinars are always announced here: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/webinars.html
Webinars are an increasingly effective and timely means of getting out information to appraisal district and tax assessor-collector offices. They reduce travel costs for both PTAD and its customers while increasing opportunities for new learning and receiving continuing education training credit. Since fiscal 2009, PTAD has increased the number of webinar presentations by 1,900 percent!
Continuing Education and Education Courses
PTAD continues to receive weekly requests for approval of continuing education courses. We have also begun review of the first four courses being rewritten by the Property Tax Education Coalition (PTEC) for 2011. As we approve continuing education and courses, we are notifying the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) of these approvals. Information about requirements for instructor training can be located here: www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/instructorcriteria.html.
Property Tax Institute
Do not forget to sign up for the Property Tax Institute! Everyone interested in the direction of property tax in Texas should attend. This year’s institute will be held Dec. 13-14, 2010, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Sign up here: www.utexas.edu/lbj/profdev/candt/class/1291.
Coming Soon to a Web page Near You
Appraisal review board (ARB) training locations and sign-up information will be posted on the PTAD Web page in November.
PTAD continues to promote the Comptroller’s vision of efficiency and transparency in government by providing information and assistance to taxpayers, appraisal districts, appraisal review boards, tax assessor-collectors and elected officials in the most accessible manner possible.
If you have comments or questions, please contact PTAD Director Debbie Cartwright at email@example.com.