Comptroller Rule 9.103New Rule Outlines Audits of School Property Value
Effective May 7, new Comptroller Property Tax Rule 9.103 outlines audit requests of school district taxable property value. The rule establishes how the comptroller will conduct audits of school districts’ taxable property values, as provided by Government Code Section 403.302(h).
The rule sets forth filing deadlines for audit requests, for filing extensions, and for parties that may submit audit requests. The new rule requires the use of prescribed model forms and affidavit, including submitting reports and other documents, with audit requests.
The Comptroller has repealed the old Comptroller Rule 9.5071 for audit procedures.
Who may request an audit
A school district may request an audit concerning its taxable value finding as determined by the comptroller and certified to the commissioner of education.
The commissioner of education also may request an audit of any school district’s taxable value finding.
This article will focus on what a school district must do to request an audit. Failure to use the model forms and affidavit or to provide certain documents may result in denial of the audit.
How to request an audit
A school district must file an audit request with the Property Tax Division (PTD) Manager in writing on the Request for School District Taxable Value Audit (Form No. 50-302).
When submitting the audit request, a school district must include all documentation necessary for PTD staff to complete the audit. The required documents are:
- Request for School District Taxable Value Audit (Form No. 50-302);
- an amended School District Report of Property Value;
- Report on Value Lost Because of the School Tax Limitation on Homesteads of the Elderly;
- a computer-generated recapitulation or 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; and
- a Chief Appraiser Affidavit of Value for School District Audit (Form No. 50-303).
A request that omits any of the required documentation is incomplete.
If any of the required documentation (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, PTD staff may correct values based on the required documentation provided by the district but may not correct for items not provided by the district.
When to request an audit
A school district must file an audit request before July 1 of the third year following certification. The taxable value audit request deadline may be extended only to reflect final determinations in court cases, limited actions by the appraisal review board, and limited actions taken under Property Tax Code Section 25.25 after June 1 of the third year following certification.
A school district may submit up to three separate taxable value audit requests pertaining to the same property value study year at any time after the comptroller certifies final values to the commissioner of education. However, the school district must submit before July 1 of the third year following certification.
How to amend a request
A school district may amend its audit request at any time prior to the date of the issuance of the preliminary finding, but may not amend it to change the effective date of the audit. To change an audit’s effective date, the school district must submit it as part of a new audit request.
How to withdraw a request
A school district may withdraw its audit request at any time before the comptroller issues a preliminary audit finding, if the PTD Manager determines that the withdrawal will not cause a significant adverse effect on the accuracy of the property value study. After the PTD issues a preliminary audit finding, the audit request may be withdrawn only with the approval of the comptroller’s hearing examiner.
What does the PTD review
PTD staff may accept numerical documentation with nominal internal inconsistencies, may reject numerical documentation that leads to unreasonable results, and otherwise may exercise sound judgment in arriving at the most accurate total taxable value in the school district.
PTD 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.
PTD 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 PTD may extend the 30-day period 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.
In conducting a taxable value audit, PTD 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.
After considering all the relevant information submitted by the school district and from other reliable sources, PTD 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 Sections 403.302 or 403.303. The certification 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 Comptroller Rule 9.109.
The PTD Manager may not accept a taxable value audit request, or any part of an audit request, if the audit request does not meet the requirements of the new rule. The PTD also may reject an audit request if it raises an issue previously determined in a protest of preliminary findings of value, asks for corrections that duplicate corrections requested in a previous audit for which the comptroller has issued a final finding, or 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.
Where to get audit forms
The model forms required by the new rule are available at www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/02-forms.html under Reports of Property Value Forms. Copies are also available by calling PTD’s toll-free number 1-800-252-9121, extension 3-4621. In Austin, call (512) 305-9999.
For more information about school district audits of taxable property value, call PTD Operations Area Manager James Archer at 1-800-252-9121, extension 5-9808. In Austin, call 512/305-9808.