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Title 1. Property Tax Code
Subtitle A. General Provisions

Chapter 1. General Provisions


Sec. 1.01. Short Title.
Sec. 1.02. Applicability of Title.
Sec. 1.03. Construction of Title.
Sec. 1.04. Definitions.
Sec. 1.05. City Fiscal Year.
Sec. 1.06. Effect of Weekend or Holiday.
Sec. 1.07. Delivery of Notice.
Sec.1.08. Timeliness of Action by Mail.
Sec.1.085. Communication in Electronic Format.
Sec.1.09. Availability of Forms.
Sec.1.10. Rolls in Electronic Data-Processing Records.
Sec.1.11. Communications to Fiduciary.
Sec.1.111. Representation of Property Owner.
Sec.1.12. Median Level of Appraisal.
Sec.1.13. Masters for Tax Suits.
Sec.1.15. Appraisers for Taxing Units Prohibited.

Sec. 1.08. Timeliness of Action by Mail.

When a property owner is required by this title to make a payment or to file or deliver a report, application, statement, or other document or paper before a specified date, his action is timely if:

(1) it is sent by regular first-class mail, properly addressed with postage prepaid; and

(2) it bears a post office cancellation mark of a date earlier than the specified date and within the specified period or the property owner furnishes satisfactory proof that it was deposited in the mail before the specified date and within the specified period.

Cross References:

Exemption application deadline, see Secs. 11.43(d), 11.431 & 11.45(b).
Report of movement of mobile home, see Sec. 21.23(a).
Property renditions, see Sec. 22.23.
Application for special appraisal as agricultural land, see Secs. 23.43(b) & 23.44(b).
Application for special appraisal as open-space land, see Secs. 23.54(d) & 23.57(b).
Application for special appraisal as timber land, see Secs. 23.75(d) & 23.79(b).
Application for appraisal of recreational, park, and scenic land, see Secs. 23.84(b) & 23.85(b).
Application for appraisal of public access airport property, see Secs. 23.94(b) & 23.95(b).
Property information report for transportation business, see Secs. 24.02(d) & 24.03(b).
Railroad rolling stock information reports, see Sec. 24.32(e).
Request for separate taxation of improvements, see Sec. 25.08(c).
Request for separate taxation of standing timber, see Sec. 25.10(c).
Request for separate taxation of individual interests, see Sec. 25.11(b).
Request for separate taxation of minerals in place, see Sec. 25.12(b).
Payment of taxes, see Sec. 31.06.
Notice of protest, see Sec. 41.44.

Sec. 1.085. Communication in Electronic Format.

(a) Except as provided by Section 1.07(d), any notice, rendition, application form, or completed application that is required or permitted by this title to be delivered between a chief appraiser and a property owner or between a chief appraiser and a person designated by a property owner under Section 1.111(f) may be delivered in an electronic format if the chief appraiser and the property owner agree under this section.

Text of Subsection (b) as amended by SB 340, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003:

(b) An agreement between a chief appraiser and a property owner must:

(1) be in writing;

(2) be signed by the chief appraiser and the property owner; and

(3) specify:

(A) the medium of communication;

(B) the type of communication covered;

(C) the means for protecting the security of a communication;

(D) the means for confirming delivery of a communication; and

(E) the electronic mail address of the property owner or person designated to represent the property owner under Section 1.111, as applicable.

Text of Subsection (b) as amended by SB1833, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003:

(b) An agreement between a chief appraiser and a property owner must:

(1) be in writing;

(2) be signed by the chief appraiser and the property owner; and

(3) specify:

(A) the medium of communication;

(B) the type of communication covered; and

(C) the means for protecting the security of a communication and the e-mail address of the property owner and for confirming delivery of the communication.

(c) An agreement may address other matters.

(d) Unless otherwise provided by an agreement, the delivery of any information in an electronic format is effective on receipt by a chief appraiser, property owner, or person designated by a property owner.

Text of Subsections (e), (f) and (g) as added by SB 340, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003:

(e) The comptroller by rule:

(1) shall prescribe acceptable media, formats, content, and methods for the electronic transmission of notices required by Section 25.19; and

(2) may prescribe acceptable media, formats, content, and methods for the electronic transmission of other notices, renditions, and applications.

(f) In an agreement entered into under this section, a chief appraiser may select the medium, format, content, and method to be used by the appraisal district from among those prescribed by the comptroller under Subsection (e).

(g) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), if a property owner whose property is included in 25 or more accounts in the appraisal records of the appraisal district requests the chief appraiser to enter into an agreement for the delivery of the notice required by Section 25.19 in an electronic format, the chief appraiser must enter into an agreement under this section for that purpose and shall deliver the notice in accordance with an electronic medium, format, content, and method prescribed by the comptroller under Subsection (e).

Text of Subsections (e) and (f) as added by SB1833, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003:

(e) The comptroller by rule shall prescribe acceptable media, formats, content, and methods for the exchange of electronic information for notices required by Section 25.19 and may prescribe acceptable media, formats, and methods for the exchange of electronic information for other notices, renditions, and applications. In an agreement entered into under this section, the chief appraiser may select the medium, format, and method to be used in the appraisal district from those prescribed by the comptroller.

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection (a), if a property owner having 25 or more accounts requests an agreement for delivery of the notice required by Section 25.19 in an electronic format, the chief appraiser shall enter into the agreement and shall deliver the notice in the electronic medium, format, and method prescribed by Subsection (e).

Added by 1999 Tex. Laws, p. 2820, ch. 441, Sec. 2; amended by SB 340, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, effective January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2006; amended by SB 1833, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, effective January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2006.

Cross References:

Delivery of notices, see Sec. 1.07.
Notices of appraised value, Sec. 25.19
Representation by agent, see Sec. 1.111.

Sec. 1.09. Availability of Forms.

When a property owner is required by this title to use a form, the office or agency with which the form is filed shall make printed and electronic versions of the forms readily and timely available and shall furnish a property owner a form without charge.

Amended by SB 340, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, effective January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2006; amended by SB 1833, 78th Tex. Leg., 2003, effective January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2006.

Sec. 1.10. Rolls in Electronic Data-Processing Records.

The appraisal roll for an appraisal district and the appraisal roll or the tax roll for the unit may be retained in electronic data-processing equipment. However, a physical document for each must be prepared and made readily available to the public.

Amended by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 118, ch. 13, Sec. 3.

Cross References:

Appraisal roll for appraisal district, see Sec. 25.24.
Appraisal roll for taxing unit, see Sec. 26.01(a).
Tax roll for taxing unit, see Sec. 26.09(e).

Sec. 1.11. Communications to Fiduciary.

(a) On the written request of a property owner, an appraisal office or an assessor or collector shall deliver all notices, tax bills, and other communications relating to the owner's property or taxes to the owner's fiduciary.

(b) A request pursuant to this section remains in effect until revoked by the owner.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p.118, ch. 13, Sec. 4.

Cross References:

Model form for designation of agent, see Rule Sec. 9.3044.

Notes:

Where taxpayer did not check box on appointment of agent form authorizing the sending of notices to the agent, the appraisal review board was required to deliver any notices to the property owner. Mailing a notice without authorization did not trigger the 15- and 45-day appeal time periods. First Union Real Estate Investments v. Taylor CAD, 758 S.W.2d 380 (Tex. App.-Eastland 1988, writ denied).

If an employee of the property owner, but not the appointed fiduciary, receives the appraisal review board order and signs for the receipt of the notice as the property owner's agent, the notice is presumed delivered. Personal, in-hand delivery to the appointed fiduciary is not necessary. MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Tarrant Appraisal District, 723 S.W.2d 350 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 1987, no writ).

Sec. 1.111. Representation of Property Owner.

(a) A property owner may designate a lessee or other person to act as the agent of the owner for any purpose under this title in connection with the property or the property owner.

(b) The designation of an agent must be made by written authorization signed by the owner, a property manager authorized to designate agents for the owner, or other person authorized to act on behalf of the owner, and must clearly indicate that the person is authorized to act on behalf of the property owner in property tax matters relating to the property or the property owner. The designation may authorize the agent to represent the owner in all property tax matters or in specific property tax matters as identified in the designation.

(c) The designation of an agent under this section remains in effect until revoked in a written revocation filed with the appraisal district by the property owner. A designation may be made to expire according to its own terms but is still subject to prior revocation by the property owner.

(d) A property owner may not designate more than one agent to represent the property owner in connection with an item of property. The designation of an agent in connection with an item of property revokes any previous designation of an agent in connection with that item of property.

(e) An agreement between a property owner or the owner's agent and the chief appraiser is final if the agreement relates to a matter:

(1) which may be protested to the appraisal review board or on which a protest has been filed but not determined by the board; or

(2) which may be corrected under Section 25.25 or on which a motion for correction under that section has been filed but not determined by the board.

(f) A property owner in writing filed with the appraisal district may direct the appraisal district, appraisal review board, and each taxing unit participating in the appraisal district to deliver all notices, tax bills, orders, and other communications relating to one or more specified items of the owner's property to a specified person instead of to the property owner. The instrument must clearly identify the person by name and give the person's address to which all notices, tax bills, orders, and other communications are to be delivered. The property owner may but is not required to designate the person's agent for other tax matters designated under Subsection (a) as the person to receive all notices, tax bills, orders, and other communications. The designation of an agent for other tax matters under Subsection (a) may also provide that the agent is the person to whom notices, tax bills, orders, and other communications are to be delivered under this subsection.

(g) An appraisal district, appraisal review board, or taxing unit may not require a person to designate an agent to represent the person in a property tax matter other than as provided by this section.

(h) The comptroller shall prescribe forms and adopt rules to facilitate compliance with this section. The comptroller shall include on any form used for designation of an agent for a single-family residential property in which the property owner resides the following statement in boldfaced type:

"In some cases, you may want to contact your appraisal district or other local taxing units for free information and/or forms concerning your case before designating an agent."

(i) An appraisal review board shall accept and consider a motion or protest filed by an agent of a property owner if an agency authorization is filed at or before the hearing on the motion or protest.

Added by 1987 Tex. Laws, ch. 435, Sec. 1; amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 3591, ch. 796, Sec. 2; amended by 1991 Tex. Laws (2nd C.S.), p. 26, ch. 6, Sec. 1; amended by 1993 Tex. Laws, p. 4443, ch. 1031, Sec. 1 and p.4258, ch. 981, Sec. 1; amended by 1997 Tex. Laws, p. 1482, ch. 349, Sec. 1.

Cross References:
Hearing on protest, see Sec. 41.45.
Model form for designation of agent, see Rule Sec. 9.3044.
Model form for designation of agent for residence homestead, see Rule Sec. 9.3044.
Motion for correction, see Sec. 25.25.

Notes:

Tourneau Houston, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Tourneau, Inc.) had no standing to appeal because it was not the owner, was never designated in writing to be the owner's agent, and no such designation was ever filed with the appraisal district. Tourneau Houston, Inc. v. Harris County Appraisal District, 24 S.W.3d 907 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2000, no pet.).

An appraisal review board exceeds its authority by having a written procedure that a taxpayer's fiduciary authorization must be filed prior to the filing of a protest or motion. Tarrant Appraisal Review Board v. Martinez Brothers Investments, Inc., 946 S.W.2d 914 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 1997, no writ).

The 45-day limitation period for appeal of an appraisal review board decision only begins to run when proper notice is delivered to the appropriate party. Section 1.07(b) requires the tax official or agency to address the notice to the property owner, the person designated under Section 1.111(f) to receive the notice for the property owner (if that section applies) or, if appropriate, the property owner's agent at his address according to the most recent record in the possession of the official or agency. If a property owner files a written request for notices to be sent to a particular address, the official or agency shall send the notice to the address stated in the request. The erroneous delivery of a notice and order does not serve to trigger the 45-day period for appeal. A specific statutory scheme sets forth the manner in which property tax representatives may be designated and the effect that designation has on a taxing authority's obligation to deliver notice. The Texas Administrative Code provides that when an agent is an employee of a subsidiary of the owner, the owner is not required to provide documents supporting that agent's authority. The agent designation form itself states only that the person naming a tax agent should attach documentation - a suggestion that is not mandatory. Harris County Appraisal District and Harris County Appraisal Review Board v. Drever Partners, Inc., 938 S.W.2d 196 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th District] 1997).

A property tax lawsuit filed in the name of a related, but erroneously designated, taxpayer does not grant jurisdiction to the court to hear a tax protest even if the party who filed the case is claiming to be a "de facto" agent for the original taxpayer. This alleged agent must comply with reasonable fiduciary responsibilities to prove its status as an agent. Evidence of past tax appraisals could be considered by the jury if the contested appraisal showed a large increase in value and the past appraisals had been established based on an agreement between the property owner and the appraisal district. Gregg County Appraisal District v. Laidlaw Waste Systems, Inc., 907 S.W. 2d 12 (Tex. App.-Tyler 1995, writ denied).

A taxpayer whose exemption applications were rejected based upon defective fiduciary forms must challenge this decision of the chief appraiser to the appraisal review board. If there is a factual dispute, a court issued writ of mandamus cannot be requested. Dallas County Appraisal District v. Funds Recovery, Inc., 887 S.W. 2d 465 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1994, writ denied).

Where taxpayer did not check box on appointment of agent form authorizing the sending of notices to the agent, the appraisal review board was required to deliver any notices to the property owner. Mailing a notice without authorization did not trigger the 15- and 45-day appeal time periods. First Union Real Estate Investments v. Taylor CAD, 758 S.W.2d 380 (Tex. App.-Eastland 1988, writ denied).

Sec. 1.12. Median Level of Appraisal.

(a) For purposes of this title, the median level of appraisal is the median appraisal ratio of a reasonable and representative sample of properties in an appraisal district or, for purposes of Section 41.43 or 42.26, of a sample of properties specified by that section.

(b) An appraisal ratio is the ratio of a property's appraised value as determined by the appraisal office or appraisal review board, as applicable, to:

(1) the appraised value of the property according to law if the property qualifies for appraisal for tax purposes according to a standard other than market value; or

(2) the market value of the property if Subdivision (1) of this subsection does not apply.

(c) The median appraisal ratio for a sample of properties is, in a numerically ordered list of the appraisal ratios for the properties:

(1) if the sample contains an odd number of properties, the appraisal ratio above and below which there is an equal number of appraisal ratios in the list; or

(2) if the sample contains an even number of properties, the average of the two consecutive appraisal ratios above and below which there is an equal number of appraisal ratios in the list.

(d) For purposes of this section, the appraisal ratio of a homestead to which Section 23.23 applies is the ratio of the property's market value as determined by the appraisal district or appraisal review board, as applicable, to the market value of the property according to the law. The appraisal ratio is not calculated according to the appraised value of the property as limited by Section 23.23.

Added by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 118, ch. 13, Sec. 5; amended by 1985 Tex. Laws, p. 6148, ch. 823, Sec. 1; amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 3592, ch. 796, Sec. 3; amended by 1997 Tex. Laws, p. 3918, ch. 1039, Sec. 46.

Cross References:

Determination of median level of appraisal, see Sec. 5.10.
Protest of unequal appraisal, see Secs. 41.41(2) & 41.43.
Judicial remedy for unequal appraisal, see Sec. 42.26.
Limitation on the appraised value of residence homestead, see Sec. 23.23.

Notes:

To determine an unequal appraisal protest in favor of the property owner provided by Tax Code Section 41.43, the appraisal review board's appraised value should be used since that is the only appraised value in existence when a protest is brought before district court. No conflict exists with Section 42.23 because the appraised value is simply the most current one on the tax rolls and admitted into evidence whether or not it was revised by the appraisal review board. Harris County Appraisal District and Harris County Appraisal Review Board v. Michael Duncan, 944 S.W.2d 706 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th District] 1997, writ denied).

Sec. 1.13. Masters for Tax Suits.

Transferred to Chapter 33.

Added by 1983 Tex. Laws, p. 5058, ch. 916, Sec. 1; amended by 1991 Tex. Laws, p. 1808, ch. 525, Sec. 1.

Cross References:

Delinquent tax suits, see Sec. 33.41.
Recovery of costs and expenses of master, see Sec. 33.48
Transferred to new subchapter, see Subch. D, ch. 33.

Sec. 1.15. Appraisers for Taxing Units Prohibited.

A taxing unit may not employ any person for the purpose of appraising property for taxation purposes except to the extent necessary to perform a contract under Section 6.05(b) of this code.

Added by 1983 Tex. Laws, p. 5463, ch. 1028, Sec. 1.

Cross References:

Taxing unit performance as appraisal office, see Sec. 6.05(b).