The public may, at any time, provide information or input to the comptroller concerning the certification to the Texas Education Agency of each school district's property value reduction caused by electric utility restructuring by writing the Manager, Property Tax Division or the manager's designee at Comptroller of Public Accounts, Property Tax Division, Post Office Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528 or by calling 1-800-252-9121.
(1) Taxable value audit means an investigation or review made to determine if the certified property value study findings of a school district's taxable property value under Government Code, Chapter 403, should be changed to correct clerical errors in the comptroller's records, and to reflect changes in local tax rolls that occurred after the school district's most recent property value report to the comptroller for the property value study year that is the subject of the audit request.
(2) Recapitulation means one or more computer-generated summaries of appraisal roll information that:
(A) are designed for purposes other than this audit;
(B) are produced by an appraisal district or a taxing unit that collects for the school district; and
(C) on the effective date show certified values for each type of exemption, other value losses, each property category, and each land class matching the values shown in the amended School District Report of Property Value and Report on Value Lost Because of the School Tax Limitation on Homesteads of the Elderly submitted with the audit request.
(3) Property value study year means the year for which the comptroller certified the school district's final taxable value that is the subject of the taxable value audit.
(4) Effective date means the single date for which all values and other reported information subject to the taxable value audit are correct.
(b) Taxable value audit requestors.
(1) A school district may request an audit of its taxable value finding determined by the comptroller and certified to the commissioner of education under Government Code Sec. 403.302(g); or
(2) the commissioner of education may request an audit of any school district's taxable value finding determined by the comptroller and certified to the commissioner of education under Government Code Sec. 403.302(g).
(c) Taxable value audit request. A request for a taxable value audit by a school district must be made to the Manager of the Property Tax Division in writing on the Request for School District Taxable Value Audit (form 50-302). A request for a taxable value audit from the commissioner of education must be made to the Manager of Property Tax Division in any written form and signed by the commissioner. At the time of submission, a school district request must include all documentation necessary for staff to complete the audit. A school district for which an audit is requested by the commissioner of education must submit all documentation that would be required in a school district request within 30 days of notification by the Property Tax Division that a request for audit was made. A complete request must:
(1) name the school district for which the taxable value audit is requested;
(2) be signed by the school superintendent;
(3) name one agent who may be the school superintendent or any person designated by the superintendent or the commissioner of education, as appropriate, who will be the primary point of contact for all correspondence and questions regarding the audit;
(4) state the property value study year in question;
(5) state one effective date;
(6) include an amended School District Report of Property Value, signed by the authorized official or agent, that correctly incorporates each applicable correction, accompanied by a statement summarizing the reasons for the corrections;
(7) include an amended Report on Value Lost Because of the School Tax Limitation on Homesteads of the Elderly, signed by the chief appraiser or school district agent, that correctly incorporates each applicable correction, accompanied by a statement summarizing the reasons for the corrections;
(8) include for appraisal districts that store appraisal roll information electronically, a computer-generated recapitulation;
(9) include for appraisal districts in which a recapitulation is not available, an appraisal review board change order, correction, or supplement for each property changed since the date of the last School District Report of Property Value submitted to the comptroller, accompanied by the certification from the chief appraiser that communicated each change to the taxing unit, along with a copy of the tax record showing the original and amended value for each property changed for the tax year subject to the audit; and
(10) include a Chief Appraiser Affidavit of Value for School District Audit model form 50-303 (with the exception of audit requests filed after June 1 of the third year following the property value study year that pertain solely to final determinations in court cases).
(d) Number of requests and request deadline. Up to three separate taxable value audit requests pertaining to the same property value study year may be submitted at any time after the comptroller certifies final values to the commissioner of education, but must be filed before July 1 of the third year following certification. Requests will be timely if received by the comptroller's property tax division manager:
(1) by personal delivery on or before June 30;
(2) by United States mail if sent by regular first-class mail, properly addressed with postage prepaid and bearing a post office cancellation mark on or before June 30; or
(3) by express mail corporation in a properly addressed envelope or wrapper, showing a legible date to prove delivery to the express mail corporation on or before June 30.
(e) Deadline extension. The taxable value audit request deadline provided in subsection (d) of this section may be extended only to reflect:
(1) final determinations in court cases that occurred after June 1 of the third year following the property value study year for which the school district provides the final judgments with the audit request; or
(2) appraisal review board actions, and actions taken under Property Tax Code Sec. 25.25, that:
(A) occurred after June 1 of the third year following the property value study year;
(B) are submitted to the comptroller's property tax division by July 1 of the year following the property value study year in which the actions occurred as part of an audit request that meets all the requirements of this section; and
(C) total more than $20 million or 2.0% of the most recent taxable value in the school district as determined under Government Code Sec. 403.302 or Sec. 403.303, for the property value study year in question, whichever is least.
(f) Incomplete requests. A request that omits any item listed in subsection (c) of this section is incomplete. If items described in subsection (c)(7)-(9) of this section, or acreage breakdowns on the School District Report of Property Value, are unavailable to the district, are not material to the corrections requested, and do not result in a materially incorrect taxable value for the district, staff may make corrections based on items in subsection (c) of this section that were provided by the district and may not make corrections for items not provided by the district.
(g) Additional information. Comptroller staff may request additional information from the school district, its appraisal district, or any other source as needed to complete the taxable value audit. If the school district, or its appraisal district does not provide the additional information within 30 days of the staff request, comptroller staff may deny any adjustments related to the additional information without notice. The 30-day period may be extended for an additional 30 days if the school district cannot obtain the information within the original 30 days for reasons outside the school district's control.
(h) Prior proceeding. In conducting a taxable value audit, comptroller staff shall consider whether the matter presented in the taxable value audit request has been finally resolved in a prior audit or audit request, property value study protest, or judicial proceeding. If so, the staff may base its taxable value audit finding on the result of that prior audit or audit request, property value study protest, or judicial proceeding.
(i) Audit conduct. The comptroller's primary goals in conducting the taxable value audit are to update the property value study and make the study more accurate. Consequently, comptroller staff may accept numerical documentation with nominal internal inconsistencies, reject numerical documentation that leads to unreasonable results, and otherwise exercise sound judgment in arriving at the most accurate total taxable value in the school district. Comptroller staff may conduct the taxable value audit by reviewing the required documentation submitted with the audit request, or may include a review of the relevant records by personal inspection at the tax office, appraisal office, or any other public office.
(j) Amending an audit request. An audit request may be ended at any time prior to the date of the issuance of the preliminary finding but may not be amended to change the effective date of the audit. A change in an effective date must be submitted as part of a new audit request.
(k) Withdrawal of audit request. An audit request may be withdrawn at any time before the comptroller issues a preliminary audit finding if the comptroller's property tax division manager determines that the withdrawal will not cause a significant adverse effect on the accuracy of the property value study. After the preliminary audit finding is issued, the audit request may be withdrawn only with the approval of the comptroller's hearing examiner.
(l) Taxable value certification and protest. After considering all the relevant information submitted by the school district and from other reliable sources, comptroller staff shall recalculate the school district's total taxable value and certify a preliminary taxable value audit finding to the commissioner of education. The total taxable value certified in the preliminary taxable value audit finding may be greater than, less than, or the same as the most recent total taxable value certified to the commissioner of education under Government Code Sec. 403.302 or Sec. 403.303, for the property value study year subject to the taxable value audit, but shall not affect the validity presumption used in that certification. A school district may protest the preliminary taxable value audit finding by following the procedures prescribed in Sec. 9.109.
(m) Audit request acceptance. The comptroller may not accept a taxable value audit request, or any part of an audit request, if the audit request:
(1) does not meet the requirements of this section;
(2) subject to subsection (f) of this section lacks any material item required in subsection (c) of this section or required by the model forms;
(3) raises an issue previously determined in a protest of preliminary findings of value;
(4) asks for corrections that duplicate corrections requested in a previous audit for which the comptroller has issued a final finding; or
(5) involves a property value study year for which the relevant comptroller records, computer programs, or property value study procedures do not exist or cannot accurately be replicated.
(n) Audit request resubmission. A taxable value audit request that was not accepted may be brought into compliance and resubmitted before the July 1 deadline of the third year following the certification of the property value study year in question.
(o) Effective date. This section applies to all taxable value audit requests submitted after June 30, 2003.
(p) The model forms in paragraph (1) and (2) of this subsection are adopted by reference by the Comptroller of Public Accounts. Copies of these forms are available for inspection at the office of the Texas Register or can be obtained from the Comptroller of Public Accounts, Property Tax Division, P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528. Copies may also be requested by calling our toll-free number 1-800-252-9121. In Austin, call (512) 305-9999. From a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), call 1-800-248-4099, toll free. In Austin, the local TDD number is (512) 463-4621.
(1) Request for School District Taxable Value Audit (Form 50-302); and
(2) Chief Appraiser Affidavit of Value for School District Audit (Form 50-303).
(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
(1) Appraised value--The chief appraiser's opinion as to the market value on a specific appraisal date.
(2) Compliance--Conforming to all the terms of an abatement agreement.
(3) Management review--Review by comptroller management staff of the denial of a refund based on the facts present.
(4) Taxes paid--The franchise tax and state sales and use tax paid directly to the state, and state sales and use tax that is paid to a seller or collected from customers and remitted to the state, minus any applicable tax credits.
(5) Entered into--Same as executed. An agreement is entered into when it has been approved by the appropriate governing body and signed and dated by all parties.
(6) Initial base comparison year--The calendar year in which the tax abatement is entered into or executed.
(b) Tax refund for economic development.
(1) Eligible property and taxes. An eligible person is entitled to a refund of taxes paid and postmarked in a calendar year, not to exceed the amount for which the person paid ad valorem taxes to a school district in that calendar year on property that:
(A) is located in a reinvestment zone established under the Tax Code, Chapter 312;
(B) is exempt in whole or in part from the ad valorem taxes imposed by a municipality or a county under a tax abatement agreement entered into after January 1, 1996, with the municipality or county under the Tax Code, Chapter 312; and
(C) is not subject to a tax abatement agreement entered into by the school district.
(2) Limitations on refunds.
(A) The amount of the refund that can be paid by the comptroller in a calendar year is limited to the amount of taxes paid and postmarked, as the term is defined in subsection (a)(4) of this section, by the person after any applicable tax credit. A person who receives a tax abatement refund under this section, and who later receives a refund, credit, or other adjustment of the amount of "taxes paid and postmarked" on which the tax abatement refund was based, may be required to return a portion of that tax abatement refund.
(B) The refund period is limited to the lesser of:
(i) five years; or
(ii) the duration of the tax abatement agreement entered into with a municipality or county.
(3) Eligibility for the refund.
(A) To be eligible for the refund, a person must have paid in full, by single or multiple payments, ad valorem taxes to the school district and:
(i) established a new business in the reinvestment zone;
(ii) expanded an existing business in the reinvestment zone; or
(iii) modernized an existing business located in the reinvestment zone to retain jobs for employees of the business.
(B) The business must have had:
(i) since the date of the tax abatement agreement with a municipality or county, an increase of $3 million in the business' payroll, specific to property located in this state according to records filed by the business with the Texas Workforce Commission; or
(ii) an increase of at least $4 million in appraised value of the business' property subject to the tax abatement agreement from an initial base comparison year beginning on or after January 1, 1996.
(C) The following is an example of how the refund available under this subsection will be administered.
Corporation A plans to build a $50 million plant in a qualified reinvestment zone in Enterprise County on land Corporation A has owned for three years. The plant will be completed in 1998. Corporation A and Enterprise County enter into a three year 50% tax abatement agreement on June 30, 1996. The years abated will be ad valorem years 1997, 1998, and 1999. Corporation A and Enterprise School District do not enter into an abatement agreement. Appraisal values are issued by Enterprise County in May of the year prior to the ad valorem year. Corporation A typically pays its property taxes in December. Application for refund must be filed before August 1, 1998.
1. Total appraised value of property subject to the abatement agreement
2. Base year appraised value of property subject to the abatement agreement
3. Value after base year deduction
4. Abatement agreement value that would not have been subject to school district property tax had you been in an abatement agreement
[Multiply #3 by % abatement (50%)]
5. School tax rate
$1.00 / $100
$1.02 / $100
$1.04 / $100
$1.06 / $100
6. Potential refund amount based on 50% abatement agreement*
7. Amount of property tax paid to the school district
8. State taxes paid in a calendar year
* Corporation A's refund is limited to 50% of the school taxes paid minus the amount of school taxes paid on base year value in calendar year.
The initial base comparison year is 1996 (the base comparison year must begin on or after January 1, 1996). Since the valuation on January 1, 1997, is greater than the valuation at the 1996 base year by more than $4 million, and Corporation A meets all other statutory requirements, Corporation A qualifies for a refund of state taxes paid.
Refunds for property tax years 1997-1999 would also be available if Corporation A had qualified based on a payroll increase of $3 million between the date the agreement was entered into and the date the refund application was filed.
(4) Application for refund.
(A) An application for the refund must:
(i) be made on a form prescribed by the comptroller and properly completed;
(ii) include an attached copy of the tax receipt from the assessor and collector of taxes for the school district showing full payment of school district ad valorem taxes on the property for the tax year for which the refund is sought;
(iii) include an attached copy of the tax abatement agreement entered into with the municipality or county;
(iv) include an attached signed statement from the county appraisal district's chief appraiser verifying that an exemption from property tax was granted and showing the current appraised value, the initial base comparison year and the beginning or initial base comparison year's appraised value of the property subject to the abatement agreement;
(v) include an attached statement from each applicable city or county official verifying that the abatement agreement has been filed with the state entity responsible for maintaining a registry of tax abatements;
(vi) include attached copies of Texas Workforce Commission returns for the calendar year the agreement was entered into and the calendar year subject to the claim, showing an increase in payroll since entering the abatement agreement, if the person is applying for the refund based on an increase in payroll; and
(vii) include any other information requested by the comptroller to support the refund request.
(B) If a comptroller employee has requested in writing additional information, the person requesting the refund must submit the requested materials:
(i) within 30 calendar days after the request is issued by fax, if the application was filed on or before April 30 of the year following the tax year; or
(ii) within 10 calendar days after the request is issued by fax, if the application was filed on or after May 1 of the year following the tax year.
(C) If additional information is not submitted as required by subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, the refund may be denied in full due to missing information.
(D) A refund payable under this subsection does not earn interest.
(E) A person applying for a refund must certify to the comptroller that the person is in compliance with each term of the tax abatement agreement entered into with the municipality or county.
(F) A complete application for refund must be filed before August 1 of the year following the ad valorem tax year for which the applicant has paid ad valorem taxes described by the Tax Code, Sec. 111.301(a).
(G) If the total amount of eligible refunds claimed by all persons is less than $10 million, the amount of a tax refund is equal to the ad valorem taxes paid to a school district by the person for the applicable tax year on the property that the person would not have been required to pay if the school district had entered into a tax abatement agreement covering the property that included the same terms, including terms governing the portion of the property that is to be exempt from taxation under the agreement, as the applicable municipal or county tax abatement agreement.
(H) If the total amount of eligible refunds claimed by all persons is greater than $10 million, the comptroller shall proportionally reduce the amount of each refund of persons whose claims are determined to be eligible as necessary to reduce the total refund amount to the $10 million available based on the applicant's eligible refund as a percentage of all eligible refunds. The amount by which a refund is reduced under this subsection may not be included in a claim for a refund in a subsequent year.
(I) The decision of the comptroller regarding a claim for refund becomes final 10 working days after the date the comptroller issues by fax notice of denial unless the claimant delivers a written request stating specific grounds for reconsideration of that comptroller decision, which request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. Management of the Property Tax Division will conduct a management review and fax a response to the taxpayer within 10 calendar days after the taxpayer's request for reconsideration was received by the comptroller. The decision of the Property Tax Division's management review becomes final 10 calendar days after the date the comptroller issues by fax notice of such review unless the claimant delivers a second written request for reconsideration to the manager of Property Tax Division stating grounds and providing documentation for a Comptroller of Public Accounts review within that time. A comptroller review will be conducted with the benefit of the Property Tax Division's recommendation and a response will be faxed within 20 calendar days after the request is filed. This process is not governed by the Administrative Procedure Act; it is provided solely to ensure an appropriate administrative review of a refund claimed under this section.
(J) Application for refund. An application for refund must be substantially in the form of an Application for Refund of State Taxes Paid by Person Owning Certain Abated Property (Form AP-186). The comptroller adopts this amended form by reference. Copies of the form are available for inspection at the office of the Texas Register or may be obtained from the Comptroller of Public Accounts, P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711. Copies may also be requested by calling our toll-free number, 1-800-252-9121. In Austin, call (512) 365-9999. From a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), call 1-800-248-4099, toll free. In Austin, the local TDD number is (512) 463-4621.
Effective January 8, 1998, 23 TexReg 147; amended to be effective March 16, 1999, 24 TexReg 1815.