Methods and Assistance Program (MAP) Review
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Comptroller’s office conducting reviews of appraisal districts and what are the reviews called?
House Bill 8 from the 81st Legislature changed Tax Code Section 5.102, requiring the Comptroller to review every appraisal district’s governance, taxpayer assistance, operating procedures and appraisal standards, procedures and methodology at least once every two years.
The reviews are called Methods and Assistance Program, or MAP, reviews. The first reviews began in January 2010, when the law took effect.
Who gets reviewed?
Each appraisal district in Texas gets a review every other year.
How often is an appraisal district reviewed?
Each appraisal district is reviewed every other year. One year we review 128 districts, and the following year we review 125 districts.
Do the appraisal districts get reviewed the same way each time?
No. Every two years the Comptroller’s office adopts a new evaluation instrument.
What are the review areas?
Each appraisal district is reviewed using a set of mandatory pass/fail questions, as well as a series of yes/no questions relating to governance, taxpayer assistance, operating procedures and appraisal standards, procedures and methodology.
Why are the reviews published online rather than in hardcopy?
Most Property Tax Assistance Division publications are published online as a cost saving measure. Publishing the MAP reviews in hardcopy would incur thousands of dollars in publishing and shipping costs. A PDF of the report may be downloaded from the Comptroller’s website and printed from your computer.
Where can I get a copy of the MAP review questions and the guidelines used by the reviewers?
Copies of the questions, the data requested from CADs and the guidelines are posted on the MAP webpage.
Why is a preliminary report sent out to the chief appraiser and can it be released to anyone else?
The preliminary report is sent to the chief appraiser to allow him or her to understand where the CAD may have deficiencies. It provides the chief appraiser the opportunity to make changes between the preliminary and final reports, giving the appraisal district the opportunity to have a final report that includes all “passes” and that contains no recommendations.
The preliminary report is subject to disclosure under the Public Information Act and must be released to anyone who submits a written request.
Why is an updated report showing all recommendations have been implemented after the release of the final report not posted on the Property Tax Assistance Division’s website?
When all recommendations have been implemented, the Comptroller issues a letter to the chief appraiser and the appraisal district’s board chair confirming implementation.
The webpage containing the reports is updated annually to identify which appraisal districts have implemented their recommendations. Limited resources and prohibitive costs make modifying and posting new reports impractical.
What happens if the appraisal district does not implement the MAP review recommendations?
If the appraisal district does not implement the recommendations found in the final report before the end of one year after the final report is issued, the Comptroller must refer those appraisal districts to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).
A copy of the penalties assessed by TDLR can be found on the TDLR website.
Appraisal districts may have up to one year to implement the recommendations after referral to TDLR. TDLR becomes the MAP review contact for the appraisal district once the referral has been made by the Comptroller.
What is “governance” for purposes of the review?
Governance concerns the oversight and management of the appraisal district. Certain duties are assigned to the board of directors by statute. Other duties assigned by statute or by the board are assigned to the chief appraiser. Both the board and the chief appraiser work separately and in conjunction with each other to govern the duties of the appraisal district.
What is “taxpayer assistance” for purposes of the review?
Taxpayer assistance means keeping property owners and their agents, as appropriate, aware of what they need to know, according to the Tax Code and Comptroller Rules, and as outlined in the IAAO Standard on Public Relations. Property owners have an expectation of receiving effective and efficient customer service from their appraisal districts, whether it is a question of how their property was appraised or how to challenge an appraisal decision by the appraisal district.
What is “operating procedures” for purposes of the review?
The policies, plans and procedures used by appraisal districts’ board, management and staff comprise the operating procedures for the appraisal districts.
What are “appraisal standards, procedures and methodology” for purposes of the review?
The appraisal practices used, appraisal standards followed and the methodologies used make up this section of the review. This section of the review addresses statutory requirements; appraisal standards propagated by the International Association of Assessing Officers; and the Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practices that guide appraisal practices.
Can I protest the findings of our MAP review?
There is no process for formally protesting MAP review results. Providing a preliminary report essentially provides the appraisal district the opportunity to have a clean, recommendation-free final report by identifying missing or incomplete information. This functions, essentially, as an informal protest process.
How are the MAP reviewers chosen to review each appraisal district?
Most MAP reviewers, like field appraisers for the Property Value Study, are located around the state. We take into account travel distance, reviewer experience, reviewer workload, CAD size and complexity and history in determining which reviewers are assigned to each appraisal district.
What if I disagree with a MAP reviewer’s assessment of evidence concerning a MAP question?
You can speak with the MAP team supervisor, Steve Atkinson at 1-888-207-3668 or email@example.com, about any concern you may have regarding adequate documentation, the review process, your individual review or your reviewer.
Why are my superintendents and their boards notified about my final MAP results?
Tax Code Section 5.102 requires the Comptroller to notify the following when the final reports are released:
- the chief appraiser;
- the appraisal district board chair and board members; and
- the superintendents of all school districts in the county and their respective boards.
How are tiers assigned to appraisal districts?
- Appraisal districts with less than $1 billion in value are assigned to tier 3.
- Appraisal districts with $1 to $5 billion in value are assigned to tier 2.
- Appraisal districts with a value of greater than $5 billion are assigned to tier 1.
The Comptroller’s office makes one adjustment when assigning an appraisal district to a tier. If an appraisal district has more than 40 percent of its value in oil and gas, this value is “backed out” of the value calculation. The remaining value is then used to determine the tier the appraisal district is assigned.
Why are appraisal districts broken down by tiers?
While the same set of laws apply to all appraisal districts, the types of property to be appraised and the types of appraisals performed varies based on the size of an appraisal district. For example, a large urban county in Texas may not have timberland and therefore does not have timberland valuation procedures.
The tiers are meant to address the following differences between appraisal districts:
- the difference in value,
- the different types of property appraised and
- the variance in size.