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 governmental entities, the Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) is expanding its outreach efforts. The following is a summary of some of PTAD's work in the first quarter of 2010, as well as planned activities for the second quarter.
By the numbers
PTAD keeps in constant contact with taxpayers and local government officials involved in property appraisal and property tax administration. During the first quarter, PTAD mailed more than one million publications to taxpayers; the PTAD website received more than 800,000 visits; Information Services staff provided telephone assistance to 10,715 callers; nearly 5,000 taxpayers and officials received assistance via e-mail or fax; and PTAD sent more than 2,000 letters providing information.
Appraisal Review Board (ARB) Training
More than 2,000 local appraisal review board members received training in a nine-week period this year. This number is three times the number trained in the previous year. This increase in participants is attributed to the new continuing education course mandated by the Legislature as well as the new training format initiated by PTAD. One thousand ARB members participated in the two statewide telecasts held at regional education service centers.
Participants at the ARB training sessions had the benefit of a newly revised comprehensive Appraisal Review Board Members Manual and the new Continuing Education Course for Appraisal Review Board Members, both released in February. The publications received acclaim from training participants. Slides used in the training seminars are also available online.
Also available on the PTAD website are examples of ARB procedures used throughout the state.
New Items on the PTAD Website, Including Webinars
PTAD updated the Appraisal District Public Information Packet for 2010. The material in this packet helps appraisal districts inform taxpayers of their rights and remedies. The packet includes public service announcements, in PDF format, that appraisal districts may take to their local media.
Penalty and Interest Charts provide the P&I rates on delinquent property taxes required by Tax Code § 33.01. The schedules include rates for taxes delinquent on Feb. 1 of the tax year. These rates do not apply to delinquent taxes based on a different delinquency date.
Thirty-five revised or new forms were posted online. They may be found at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/02-forms.html. New rules may also be found at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/proptaxrules.pdf.
Nearly 200 participants signed up for two webinars conducted during the first quarter of 2010. Fifty-seven participated in the webinar Tips on Preparing a Reappraisal Plan and 119 took part in the webinar How to Read Your PVS Results.
Methods Assistance Program (MAP)
PTAD field staff began reviews of 128 appraisal districts as part of the MAP initiative enacted by the Legislature. Staff is preparing initial reports, which will include recommendations to assist appraisal districts in providing services. Draft reports will be given to chief appraisers in June.
Outreach and Other Meetings
PTAD participated in or hosted a number of outreach conferences and meetings, including:
- MAP training sessions;
- Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation test approval meeting;
- meeting of the Texas Nursery Floral Association;
- Texas Association of Assessing Officers meeting;
- arbitration meeting in the Rio Grande Valley; and
- regional agricultural appraisal meetings.
Presentations were also made to the Logistics and Manufacturing Association Meeting in Laredo; the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts (TAAD) Annual Conference; the Texas Apartment Association; TAAD’s exemption seminars in Dallas, Corpus Christi and San Antonio; TAAD’s Centra-Plex Meeting; and the Texas School Assessors Association.
The PTAD director also met with representatives of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, railroads, the Texas Education Agency, the West Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association, the Ways and Means Committee of the Texas House of Representatives and the Finance Committee of the Texas Senate.
Recent and Coming Attractions
A webinar, How to Request CEP and Education Course Approval, provided appraisal and tax professionals with information on obtaining credits for continuing education. Two videos were released recently, Becoming an Arbitrator and How to Protest (Small Business Owners). PTAD plans to unveil a number of online videos, including Binding Arbitration for Beginners and Taking Your Case to Binding Arbitration.
PTAD will conduct “Truth-In-Taxation” training during the upcoming quarter. In addition to the traditional training seminars, two statewide training telecasts will also be provided at regional education service centers throughout the state. PTAD revised, and uploaded to its website, the training publications, Truth-In-Taxation, a Guide for Setting School District Tax Rates and Truth-In-Taxation, A Guide for Setting Tax Rates for Taxing Units Other Than School Districts. Webinars will also be provided for Truth-In-Taxation.
PTAD will continue to add information to the Appraisal District Information Repository.
PTAD will also publish online an updated version a publication formerly titled Taxpayers Rights, Remedies and Responsibilities. A revised and taxpayer-friendly version will be called Property Tax Basics.
PTAD continues to promote Comptroller Susan Combs’ 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 by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (800) 252-9121, ext. 64251.