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Property Tax Division Announces 2000 Updates
The Comptroller's Property Tax Division (PTD) will implement some updates to the Property Value Study (PVS) for the tax year 2000. The preliminary results of the 2000 study are to be released by Jan. 31, 2001, with final results by July 1, 2001.Reorganization
The PTD continues to look for ways to improve the accuracy of the study findings. By implementing the following procedures, PTD staff will work to continue to improve the findings for school and appraisal districts. These changes are in addition to those addressed for selective appraisal discussed on page 1 of this STATEMENT.
The PTD has reorganized with three changes. The reorganization moves the division's Reporting Section to its Operations Division. It focuses supervisory resources in the field and shifts the PVS area administrative responsibilities to the PVS area manager. Third, it creates a PVS policy executive assistant to the division manager.Review appraiser
The Field Studies Section will include two main areas, rather than three. Phil Craigen, long-time Comptroller employee with the agency and the PTD, retired June 1 after 28 years of state service.
Field Studies team leaders will assist the two Field Studies supervisors. Each Field Studies supervisor will have two teams responsible for field work around the state.
See the new organizational chart.
For the year 2000 Property Value Study, the PTD has created a Review Appraiser function to provide quality control. The Review Appraiser will review the appraisals, supporting data, techniques, procedures and methodologies of field staff and field staff supervisors to ensure consistency and accuracy of appraisal levels and methodologies. The position will also provide periodic training of new field personnel employed by the PTD. Lastly, the Review Appraiser will keep abreast of issues that may impact the Property Value Study or its validity.Timberlands
In 1999, the Texas Legislature passed S. B. 977 that allows for special appraisal of restricted-use timberlands. To qualify for this special appraisal, lands must:Brush control expense
The Texas Forest Service has developed guidelines and definitions for the three zones and regeneration and are available on the service's web site at http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/tfshome/assist/legisltn/tax.htm#Sum.
- already qualify for special timberland appraisal and
- be within an aesthetic management, critical wildlife habitat or a streamside management zone or be lands on which timber was harvested and regeneration is taking place.
Lands qualifying as restricted-use timberlands will receive an appraised value of one-half of the value determined under Section 23.73(a), Property Tax Code. The provisions of S. B. 977 dealing with property tax appraisal became effective Jan. 1, 2000 and will be reflected in the Property Value Study for 2000.
The PTD is collecting data to determine the areas of the state where it is appropriate to include a brush control program expense in the calculation of net-to-land. When it is determined brush control programs are typical and prudent for a county, a line item expense will be included in the division's calculation of agricultural productivity values.EDS process
PTD released a new 2000 electronic data submission (EDS) record layout in April of 1999 so that vendors and county appraisal districts (CADs) would have plenty of time to prepare for the 2000 submission. Staff held a seminar and addressed questions and suggestions to ensure that this year's submission process is the best ever. Based on suggestions, PTD staff has changed the layout since April, 1999. Simplification of the 2000 record layout should produce fewer errors and more accurate values.
New items. Besides those already addressed in the April 1999 record layout, other new items for the EDS include: tax increment financing payments, eligible deductions in the study for tax deferrals (Tax Code Sections 33.06 and 33.065) and totally exempt property. Totally exempt property includes income-producing personal property under $500 (Tax Code Section 11.145) and mineral interests appraised under $500 (Tax Code Section 11.146) One final change is to recognize land qualified as restricted-use timberland (qualified timber property that receives a 50-percent value reduction).
For the first time, PTD is asking on the EDS submission for several characteristics of each property, such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms. PTD has established a new property category (Category S - Special Inventory) in response to recent changes in the law on appraisal of motor vehicles, heavy equipment, vessels, outboard motors and manufactured housing inventories. These items are personal property of businesses that are for sale to the public and are appraised based on the total annual sales in the preceding year.
New electronic reports. The PTD now has the ability to download and e-mail to CADs or vendors four edit reports that are generated from the program, PTD001. The file name will usually be ERRORS.TXT. In order to print these reports effectively, users will need to select and modify the entire file's font size from 10 point to 8 point and print it in landscape mode. CADs and vendors may wait to have the edit reports mailed to them.
The PTD also will generate a new set of reports for CADs and vendors to show total value amounts by taxing unit type and category codes. PTD staff will include these reports with the ERRORS.TXT file and with the mailing.
Paper reports. Taxing units and CADs must report the following items to the PTD by paper reports:
- Adopted maintenance and operations (M & O) rate,
- Adopted interest and sinking (I & S) rate,
- Tax increment financing,
- Actual total tax levy,
- Value lost because of the school tax limitation on homesteads of the elderly (commonly called the "freeze form") and
- Levy lost to tax deferral filed by over-65 homeowners and homeowners with increasing home values.
School districts and cities will need to report their top 10 taxpayers.
Reporting deadlines. July 3, 2000 is the deadline for filing test submissions for the EDS process. October 2, 2000 is the deadline for filing certified submissions with the PTD.
CDs accepted. The PTD now is able to accept EDS on CD. The benefits of this media type are significant in contrast to tape, or even FTP submissions.
The requirements for CD submissions are that the data must be provided in a "serial" sequence of 384-byte fixed length records without any embedded control or formatting characters. These are straight ASCII text files and should not be compressed.
Future plans are to set up the ability to read and decompress standard PKZIP files. This will increase the capacity of the CD far beyond the 640MB limitation. PTD will report on this new feature when it becomes available.
EDS questions. If you have any questions about this or any other EDS issues, please contact Mark Egger, Kathleen Sifuentes or Phyllis Thomas at the PTD by e-mail at email@example.com or calling 1-800-252-9121. In Austin, call 512/305-9999.
Railroad rolling stock forms available electronically
All of the railroad rolling stock forms are available electronically on the Comptroller's web site at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/02-forms.html. PTD staff members Jeni Coan and Orfa Davis may also be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or at the phone numbers listed in the article.