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 its work in the second quarter of 2010, as well as planned activities for the third quarter.
2009 Property Value Study (PVS)
PTAD processed 270 petitions protesting the 2009 PVS preliminary findings. Of the 270 protests, 267 were resolved informally, and three were referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Of the three that were referred to SOAH, one was resolved prior to hearing and two are still pending.
As a result, 95 percent of school districts received local values in the final PVS findings (Table 1).
Table 1: School District 2009 Value Designations
|Preliminary||% of Total||Final||% of Total|
|Local - Local > State||29||1.9%||22||1.4%|
|Local - Year 1 Grace||113||7.2%||33||2.1%|
|Local - Year 2 Grace||11||0.7%||6||0.4%|
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, 2009 Final PVS
Ninety school districts were able to avoid entering the first year of the "grace" period by receiving local value assignments as a result of the protest process. Another 33 school districts with state value determinations were assigned local values (in the first year of the "grace" period).
After the protest period, PTAD began work on methods to improve the protest process. To allow school districts to develop their protests earlier, detailed appraisal data for all categories of property will be available at the same time the preliminary PVS is released in late January 2011. Concentrating on school districts with invalid findings, appraisal files will be available online. In addition, a "pre-preliminary" release of the PVS is planned in December 2010.
Methods Assistance Program (MAP)
PTAD released the preliminary recommendations for 126 county appraisal districts (CADs) in June. Harris and Tarrant County Appraisal Districts are still under review.
Fifty-six percent of the CADs passed all mandatory ("pass/fail") requirements; 17 percent failed at least one area under review; 12 percent failed two areas; and 15 percent failed two or more areas. Thirty two percent of CADs failed in the reproduction of values; 27 percent fell short with up-to-date maps and appraisal procedures; 10 percent failed property inspections; and 4 percent did not comply with timely submission of data.
Four categories of review — governance, taxpayer assistance, operating procedures and appraisal standards — were scored as well. The results indicate that almost 70 percent of the CADs exceeded requirements for taxpayer assistance, while 46 percent had unsatisfactory results regarding governance. The scores were based on the numbers of recommendations in each category, as summarized in Table 2.
Table 2: Preliminary MAP Results
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, 2010 MAP reviews
The MAP team will work with CADs to comply with preliminary recommendations before the final reports are issued in December.
PTAD re-designed its annual operations survey to make it easier for CADs to submit information electronically. PTAD conducted two Webinars on How to Complete and Return the Operations Survey that had 70 participants.
By August, approximately 230 CADs submitted their operations surveys. The data gathered from this survey is important to CADs, the Legislature and taxpayers. To highlight its importance, the survey information will be included in a re-designed annual report for submission to the Legislature at the end of the year.
More than 2,000 tax professionals participated in TNT training. PTAD provided 27 Webinars on TNT issues that had 730 participants. PTAD also produced two statewide live broadcasts on closed circuit television attended by 1,188 participants at the state's 20 education service centers.
Thirty three property tax professionals took part in PTAD's Webinar on How to Request Property Tax Professional Continuing Education Program, Educational Course and Instructor Approval. PTAD has approved 34 programs, totaling 134 hours of continuing education credit. Additionally, PTAD has begun reviewing educational courses and has approved one course on ethics.
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 by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (800) 252-9121, ext. 6-4251.