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Title 1. Property Tax Code
Subtitle D. Appraisal and Assessment

Chapter 23. Appraisal Methods and Procedures
Subchapter F. Appraisal of Recreational, Park and Scenic Land

Sec. 23.81. Definitions.
Sec. 23.82. Voluntary Restrictions.
Sec. 23.83. Appraisal of Restricted Land.
Sec. 23.84. Application.
Sec. 23.85. Action on Application.
Sec. 23.86. Additional Taxation for Preceding Years.
Sec. 23.87. Penalty for Violating Deed Restriction.

[Sections 23.88 to 23.90 reserved for expansion]

Sec. 23.81. Definitions.

In this subchapter:

(1) "Recreational, park, or scenic use" means use for individual or group sporting activities, for park or camping activities, for development of historical, archaeological, or scientific sites, or for the conservation and preservation of scenic areas.

(2) "Deed restriction" means a valid and enforceable provision that limits the use of land and that is included in a written instrument filed and recorded in the deed records of the county in which the land is located.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 149, ch. 13, Sec. 79.

Cross References:

Special records, see Sec. 25.011.

Notes:

The Greenbelt Act (Subchapter F, Chapter 23, Tax Code) is a valid constitutional enactment, applicable to private country clubs. The Greenbelt Act provides for a reasonable classification of property for a legitimate state interest - the continued existence of scenic, park, and recreational lands in urban areas. Appraisal based upon restricted use does not amount to an exemption. Tarrant Appraisal District v. Colonial Country Club, 767 S.W.2d 230 1989 (Tex. App. - Fort Worth [2nd District] 1989).

Sec. 23.82. Voluntary Restrictions.

(a) The owner of a fee simple estate in land of at least five acres may limit the use of the land to recreational, park, or scenic use by filing with the county clerk of the county in which the land is located a written instrument executed in the form and manner of a deed.

(b) The instrument must describe the land, name each owner of the land, and provide that the restricted land may be used only for recreational, park, or scenic uses during the term of the deed restriction. The term of the deed restriction must be for at least 10 years, and the length of the term must be stated in the instrument.

(c) The county attorney of the county in which the restricted land is located or any person owning or having an interest in the restricted land may enforce a deed restriction that complies with the requirements of this section.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 149, ch. 13, Sec. 79.

Sec. 23.83. Appraisal of Restricted Land.

(a) A person is entitled to have land he owns appraised under this subchapter if, on January 1:

(1) the land is restricted as provided by this subchapter;

(2) the land is used in a way that does not result in accrual of distributable profits, realization of private gain resulting from payment of compensation in excess of a reasonable allowance for salary or other compensation for services rendered, or realization of any other form of private gain;

(3) the land has been devoted exclusively to recreational, park, or scenic uses for the preceding year; and

(4) he is using and intends to use the land exclusively for those purposes in the current year.

(b) The chief appraiser may not consider any factor other than one relating to the value of the land as restricted. Sales of comparable land not restricted as provided by this subchapter may not be used to determine the value of restricted land.

(c) Improvements other than appurtenances to the land and the mineral estate are appraised separately at market value. Riparian water rights, private roads, dams, reservoirs, water wells, and canals, ditches, terraces, and similar reshapings of or additions to the soil are appurtenances to the land and the effect of each on the value of the land for recreational, park, or scenic uses shall be considered in appraising the land.

(d) If land is appraised under this subchapter for a year, the chief appraiser shall determine at the end of that year whether the land was used exclusively for recreational, park, or scenic uses. If the land was not used exclusively for recreational, park, or scenic uses, the assessor for each taxing unit shall impose an additional tax equal to the difference in the amount of tax imposed and the amount that would have been imposed for that year if the land had not been restricted to recreational, park, or scenic uses. The assessor shall include the amount of additional tax plus interest on the next bill for taxes on the land.

(e) The comptroller shall promulgate rules specifying the methods to apply and the procedures to use in appraising land under this subchapter.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 149, ch. 13, Sec. 79; amended by 1991 Tex. Laws (2nd C.S.), p. 32, ch. 6, Sec. 28.

Cross References:

Appraisal of recreation, park, and scenic land, see Rule Sec. 9.4009.

Sec. 23.84. Application.

(a) A person claiming the right to have his land appraised under this subchapter must apply for the right the first year he claims it. Application for appraisal under this chapter is made by filing a sworn application form with the chief appraiser for the appraisal district in which the land is located.

(b) A claimant must deliver a completed application form to the chief appraiser before May 1 and must furnish the information required by the form. For good cause shown the chief appraiser may extend the deadline for filing the application by written order for a single period not to exceed 60 days.

(c) If a claimant fails to timely file a completed application form, the land is ineligible for appraisal as provided by this subchapter for that year. Once an application is filed and appraisal under this subchapter is allowed, the land is eligible for appraisal under this subchapter during the term of the deed restriction without a new application unless the ownership of the land changes or its eligibility under this subchapter ends. However, the chief appraiser, if he has good cause to believe the land's eligibility under this subchapter has ended, may require a person allowed appraisal under this subchapter in a prior year to file a new application to confirm that the land is currently eligible under this subchapter by delivering a written notice that a new application is required, accompanied by the application form, to the person who filed the application that was previously allowed.

(d) A person whose land is allowed appraisal under this subchapter shall notify the appraisal office in writing before May 1 after eligibility of the land under this subchapter ends.

(e) If the chief appraiser discovers that appraisal under this subchapter has been erroneously allowed in any one of the five preceding years, the chief appraiser shall add the difference between the appraised value of the land under this subchapter and the market value of the land if it had not been restricted to recreational, park, or scenic uses to the appraisal roll as provided by Section 25.21 of this code for other property that escapes taxation.

(f) The comptroller in prescribing the contents of the application forms shall ensure that each form requires a claimant to furnish the information necessary to determine the validity of the claim and that the form requires the claimant to state that the land for which he claims appraisal under this subchapter will be used exclusively for recreational, park, or scenic uses in the current year.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 149, ch. 13, Sec. 79; amended by 1991 Tex. Laws (2nd C.S.), p. 32, ch. 6, Sec. 29; amended by 1995 Tex. Laws, p. 3375, ch. 579, Sec. 7.

Cross References:

Special use application forms, see Rule Sec. 9.402.

Sec. 23.85. Action on Application.

(a) The chief appraiser shall determine individually each claimant's right to appraisal under this subchapter. After considering the application and all relevant information, the chief appraiser shall, as the law and facts warrant:

(1) approve the application and allow appraisal under this subchapter;

(2) disapprove the application and request additional information from the claimant in support of the claim; or

(3) deny the application.

(b) If the chief appraiser requests additional information from a claimant, the claimant must furnish the information within 30 days after the date of the request or the application is denied. However, for good cause shown the chief appraiser may extend the deadline for furnishing additional information by written order for a single period not to exceed 15 days.

(c) The chief appraiser shall determine the validity of each application for appraisal under this subchapter filed with him before he submits the appraisal records for review and determination of protests as provided by Chapter 41 of this code.

(d) If the chief appraiser denies an application, he shall deliver a written notice of the denial to the claimant within five days after the date of denial. The notice must include a brief explanation of the procedures for protesting the denial.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 149, ch. 13, Sec. 79.

Cross References:

Chief appraiser must deliver notice denying special appraisal before submitting records to appraisal review board, see Sec. 25.22(a).
Property owner may protest denial of special appraisal, see Sec. 41.41(1).

Sec. 23.86. Additional Taxation for Preceding Years.

(a) If land that has been appraised under this subchapter is no longer subject to a deed restriction or is diverted to a use other than recreational, park, or scenic uses, an additional tax is imposed on the land equal to the difference between the taxes imposed on the land for each of the five years preceding the year in which the change of use occurs or the deed restriction expires that the land was appraised as provided by this subchapter and the tax that would have been imposed had the land not been restricted to recreational, park, or scenic uses in each of those years, plus interest at an annual rate of seven percent calculated from the dates on which the differences would have become due.

(b) A tax lien attaches to the land on the date the change of use occurs or the deed restriction expires to secure payment of the additional tax and interest imposed by this section and any penalties incurred. The lien exists in favor of all taxing units for which the additional tax is imposed.

(c) The assessor shall prepare and deliver a statement for the additional taxes as soon as practicable after the change of use occurs or the deed restriction expires. The taxes become delinquent and incur penalties and interest as provided by law for ad valorem taxes imposed by the taxing unit if not paid before the next date on which the unit's taxes become delinquent that is more than 10 days after the date the statement is delivered.

(d) The sanctions provided by Subsection (a) of this section do not apply if the change of use occurs as a result of a sale for right-of-way or a condemnation.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 149, ch. 13, Sec. 79; amended by 1983 Tex. Laws, p. 4824, ch. 851, Sec. 14.

Note:

Notice of additional tax liability, see Sec. 5.010, Property Code.

Sec. 23.87. Penalty for Violating Deed Restriction.

(a) If land appraised under this subchapter is used for other than recreational, park, or scenic uses before the term of the deed restriction expires, a penalty is imposed on the land equal to the difference between the taxes imposed on the land for the year in which the violation occurs and the amount that would have been imposed for that year had the land not been restricted to recreational, park, or scenic uses.

(b) The chief appraiser shall make an entry in the appraisal records for the land against which the penalty is imposed indicating liability for the penalty and shall deliver a written notice of imposition of the penalty to the person who filed the application for appraisal under this subchapter. The notice shall include a brief explanation of the procedures for protesting the imposition of the penalty.

(c) The assessor for each taxing unit that imposed taxes on the land on the basis of appraisal under this subchapter shall add the amount of the penalty to the unit's tax bill for taxes on the land against which the penalty is imposed. The penalty shall be collected at the same time and in the same manner as the taxes on the land against which the penalty is imposed. The amount of the penalty constitutes a lien on the land against which the penalty is imposed and accrues penalties and interest in the same manner as a delinquent tax.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 149, ch. 13, Sec. 79.

Cross References:

Contents of tax bills, see Sec. 31.01(d).

[Sections 23.88 to 23.90 reserved for expansion]