Confidential Tax Information
Confidential Home Addresses Expanded to More Property Owners
During the 78th Texas Legislature’s regular session, two bills passed that added to the list of property owners who may request certain home or personal information be kept confidential.
House Bill (H.B.) 2819 expanded the list of property owners in Tax Code Section 25.025. Senate Bill (S.B.)1388 addressed those found in the Government Code Sections 552.117 and 552.1175.
Tax Code changes
Effective June 20, H.B. 2819 expanded Tax Code Section 25.025 to permit a victim of family violence to restrict access to a home address.
For a victim of family violence to request that the home address be kept confidential, the actor of the family violence must be convicted of a felony or a Class A misdemeanor.
Section 25.025, added to the Tax Code in 2001, provides that peace officers, county jailers, Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees and commissioned security officers may request that their appraisal district restrict from public access any information in appraisal records identifying their home addresses. Now, the list includes victims of family violence.
Section 25.025 requires the Comptroller to prescribe the form filed for the confidentiality requests. The back page of the amended Comptroller’s prescribed form, Request for Confidentiality (No. 50-284), includes the definitions of the terms referred to in Section 25.025. The property owners listed above must complete this form to request confidentiality of their home addresses.
A reminder to appraisal districts that Tax Code Section 25.026 requires appraisal districts to keep confidential any information in the appraisal records that identifies the address of a family violence shelter center or a sexual assault program. These properties are defined by referring to sections of the Human Resources Code and Government Code. The law does not require a family violence shelter center or sexual assault program to request confidentiality using any Comptroller-prescribed form.
Both Tax Code Sections 25.025 and 25.026 provide that the confidential address information is available only for official use by the appraisal district, the state, the Comptroller, taxing units and political subdivisions of the state.
Government Code changes
In another area on confidential information in public records, S.B. 1388 amended Government Code Section 552.117 and 552.1175 in the Public Records Act. Section 552.117 requires the confidentiality of certain home addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers and personal family information of peace officers and other officers listed above.
Section 552.1175 provides that, upon the individual officer’s request to restrict public access to this information, a governmental body may not disclose the information. The individual notifies the governmental body on a form prescribed by the governmental body and remains valid until rescinded in writing by the individual.
S.B. 1388 amended these two sections to provide that a “current or former employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or of the predecessor in function of the department or any division of the department” may request confidentiality.
This amendment to the Open Records Act applies to taxing units. Taxing units may want to review the Comptroller’s form in prescribing their form.
The Comptroller’s Open Government Division, along with the Property Tax Division (PTD), developed the prescribed form. Please call Ruth Soucy in the Open Government Division, 1-800-531-5441, ext. 5-0411, or the PTD’s Technical Assistance Section at 1-800-252-9121 with questions about this form or changes in the law by the 78th Texas Legislature.