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Title 1. Property Tax Code
Subtitle F. Remedies

Chapter 41. Local Review

Subchapter C. Taxpayer Protest

Sec. 41.41. Right of Protest.
Sec. 41.411. Protest of Failure to Give Notice.
Sec. 41.412. Person Acquiring Property After January 1.
Sec. 41.413. Protest by Person Leasing Property.
Sec. 41.42. Protest of Situs.
Sec. 41.43. Protest of Inequality of Appraisal.
Sec. 41.44. Notice of Protest.
Sec. 41.45. Hearing on Protest.
Sec. 41.455. Pooled or Unitized Mineral Interests.
Sec. 41.46. Notice of Protest Hearing.
Sec. 41.461. Notice of Certain Matters Before Hearing.
Sec. 41.47. Determination of Protest.

[Sections 41.48 to 41.60 reserved for expansion]

Sec. 41.45. Hearing on Protest.

(a) On the filing of a notice as required by Section 41.44, the appraisal review board shall schedule a hearing on the protest. If more than one protest is filed relating to the same property, the appraisal review board shall schedule a single hearing on all timely filed protests relating to the property. A hearing for a property that is owned in undivided or fractional interests, including separate interests in a mineral in place, shall be scheduled to provide for participation by all owners who have timely filed a protest.

(b) The property owner initiating the protest is entitled to an opportunity to appear to offer evidence or argument. The property owner may offer his evidence or argument by affidavit without personally appearing if he attests to the affidavit before an officer authorized to administer oaths and submits the affidavit to the board hearing the protest before it begins the hearing on the protest. On receipt of an affidavit, the board shall notify the chief appraiser. The chief appraiser may inspect the affidavit and is entitled to a copy on request.

(c) The chief appraiser shall appear at each protest hearing before the appraisal review board to represent the appraisal office.

(d) An appraisal review board consisting of more than three members may sit in panels of not fewer than three members to conduct protest hearings. However, the determination of a protest heard by a panel must be made by the board. If the recommendation of a panel is not accepted by the board, the board may refer the matter for rehearing to a panel composed of members who did not hear the original hearing or, if there are not at least three members who did not hear the original protest, the board may determine the protest. Before determining a protest or conducting a rehearing before a new panel or the board, the board shall deliver notice of the hearing or meeting to determine the protest in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter.

(e) The board shall postpone the hearing to a later date if the property owner or the owner's agent shows good cause for the postponement or if the chief appraiser consents to the postponement. The hearing may not be postponed to a date less than five or more than 15 days after the date scheduled for the original hearing unless the date and time of the hearing as postponed are agreed to by the appraisal review board, the property owner, and the chief appraiser. Postponement under this subsection does not require the delivery of additional written notice to the property owner.

(f) A property owner who has been denied a hearing to which the property owner is entitled under this chapter may bring suit against the appraisal review board by filing a petition or application in district court to compel the board to provide the hearing. If the property owner is entitled to the hearing, the court shall order the hearing to be held and may award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the property owner.

(g) In addition to the grounds for a postponement under Subsection (e), the board shall postpone the hearing to a later date if:

(1) the owner of the property or the owner's agent is also scheduled to appear at a hearing on a protest filed with the appraisal review board of another appraisal district;

(2) the hearing before the other appraisal review board is scheduled to occur on the same date as the hearing set by the appraisal review board from which the postponement is sought;

(3) the notice of hearing delivered to the property owner or the owner's agent by the other appraisal review board bears an earlier postmark than the notice of hearing delivered by the board from which the postponement is sought or, if the date of the postmark is identical, the property owner or agent has not requested a postponement of the other hearing; and

(4) the property owner or the owner's agent includes with the request for a postponement a copy of the notice of hearing delivered to the property owner or the owner's agent by the other appraisal review board.

(h) Before the hearing on a protest or immediately after the hearing begins, the chief appraiser and the property owner or the owner's agent shall each provide the other with a copy of any written material that the person intends to offer or submit to the appraisal review board at the hearing.

(i) To be valid, an affidavit offered under Subsection (b) must be attested to before an officer authorized to administer oaths and include:

(1) the name of the property owner initiating the protest;

(2) a description of the property that is the subject of the protest; and

(3) evidence or argument.

(j) A statement from the property owner that specifies the determination or other action of the chief appraiser, appraisal district, or appraisal review board relating to the subject property from which the property owner seeks relief constitutes sufficient argument under Subsection (i).

(k) The comptroller shall prescribe a standard form for an affidavit offered under Subsection (b). Each appraisal district shall make copies of the affidavit form available to property owners without charge.

(l) A property owner is not required to use the affidavit form prescribed by the comptroller when offering an affidavit under Subsection (b).

(m) If the protest relates to a taxable leasehold or other possessory interest in real property that is owned by this state or a political subdivision of this state, the attorney general or a representative of the state agency that owns the land, if the real property is owned by this state, or a person designated by the political subdivision that owns the real property, as applicable, is entitled to appear at the hearing and offer evidence and argument.

Amended by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 171, ch. 13, Sec. 138; amended by 1987 Tex. Laws, ch. 794, Sec. 1; amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 3602, ch. 796, Sec. 37; amended by 1995 Tex. Laws., p. 4211, ch. 828, Sec. 2; amended by 1997 Tex. Laws, p. 3915, ch. 1039, Sec. 38; amended by 1999 Tex. Laws, p. 2751, ch. 416, Sec. 3; amended by 1999 Tex. Laws, p. 2891, ch. 463, Sec. 2; amended by 2001 Tex. Laws, p. 4312, ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(99).

Cross References:

Right to protest by taxpayer, see Sec. 41.41.
Determination of protest, see Sec. 41.47.
Notice of Protest Hearing, see Sec. 41.46.
Appraisal review board record requirement, see Rule Sec. 9.803.

Notes:

Appearance at appraisal review board hearing in person or by affidavit is mandatory condition precedent to filing suit. Webb County Appraisal District v. New Laredo Hotel, Inc., 792 S.W.2d 952 (Tex. 1990).

Appraisal review board members perform quasi-judicial functions so that immunity did apply in barring claims against them in the performance of their duties. Three appraisal review board panel members were sued by a tax consultant claiming negligence in a value determination for not basing the value reduction on a preponderance of the evidence presented at the protest hearing. The members asserted the affirmative defense of judicial immunity. Sledd v. Garrett, 123 S.W.3d 592 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, no pet. h.).

An unadjudicated protest filed by a taxpayer does not bar a hearing pursuant to a motion for late correction under Section 25.25(d). Dismissal of a protest for failure to appear at a hearing is not an adjudication of the rights of the parties. The taxpayer was not entitled, however, to recover attorneys fees under Section 41.45 as a result of the denial of the hearing on the motion for late correction. Koger Equity, Inc. v. Bexar County Appraisal Review Board, 123 S.W.3d 502 (Tex. App.-San Antonio, 2003, no pet. h.).

Tax Code Section 25.25(c), subject to a five-year limitation, gives the appraisal review board the authority to change the appraisal roll on motion of the chief appraiser or a property owner. Section 25.25(b) does not contemplate the filing or presentation of any protest, or authorize the appraisal review board to review the chief appraiser's decision. Western Athletic Clubs, Inc. v. Harris County Appraisal District and Harris County Appraisal Review Board, 56 S.W.3d 269 (Tex. App. - Amarillo 2001, 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).

Taxpayer is entitled to judicial review of the appraisal review board order - he is not required to meet his burden of proof or present evidence at the appraisal review board hearing. When the appraisal review board issues its order, the taxpayer has exhausted his administrative remedies. National Pipe and Tube Company v. Liberty County Appraisal District, 805 S.W.2d 593 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 1991, writ denied).

Sec. 41.455. Pooled or Unitized Mineral Interests.

(a) If a property owner files protests relating to a pooled or unitized mineral interest that is being produced at one or more production sites located in a single county with the appraisal review boards of more than one appraisal district, the appraisal review board for the appraisal district established for the county in which the production site or sites are located must determine the protest filed with that board and make its decision before another appraisal review board may hold a hearing to determine the protest filed with that other board.

(b) If a property owner files protests relating to a pooled or unitized mineral interest that is being produced at two or more production sites located in more than one county with the appraisal review boards of more than one appraisal district and at least two-thirds of the surface area of the mineral interest is located in the county for which one of the appraisal districts is established, the appraisal review board for that appraisal district must determine the protest filed with that board and make its decision before another appraisal review board may hold a hearing to determine the protest filed with that other board.

(c) A protest determined by an appraisal review board in violation of this section is void.

Amended by 1999 Tex. Laws, p. 3443, ch. 810, Sec. 1.

Cross References:

Right to protest by taxpayer, see Sec. 41.41.
Determination of protest, see Sec. 41.47.
Notice of Protest Hearing, see Sec. 41.46.
Appraisal review board record requirement, see Rule Sec. 9.803.

Notes:

When a gas well is located in one school district, but the royalty interests from the well appertain to land located in two school districts, the school district is entitled to levy property taxes against the royalty interest based upon the location of the real property to which the royalty interest appertains. Each school district may only tax the royalty income on royalty interests that appertain to real property located in the school district. Where there is a pooling agreement with provisions for pooling the royalties from oil or gas produced anywhere on the leased land on the basis of acreage, the pooling agreement has the effect of vesting all of the lessors with joint ownership of the royalty. In this case, the school districts may each tax half of the royalty interests. If the royalty interests owners are not joint owners, however, then each school district would tax the appraised value only on those royalty interests located in its school district boundaries. Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. No. DM-490 (1998).

Sec. 41.46. Notice of Protest Hearing.

(a) The appraisal review board before which a protest hearing is scheduled shall deliver written notice to the property owner initiating a protest of the date, time, and place fixed for the hearing on the protest unless the property owner waives in writing notice of the hearing. The board shall deliver the notice not later than the 15th day before the date of the hearing.

(b) The board shall give the chief appraiser advance notice of the date, time, place, and subject matter of each protest hearing.

(c) If the protest relates to a taxable leasehold or other possessory interest in real property that is owned by this state or a political subdivision of this state, the board shall deliver notice of the hearing as provided by Subsection (a) to:

(1) the attorney general and the state agency that owns the real property, in the case of real property owned by this state; or

(2) the governing body of the political subdivision, in the case of real property owned by a political subdivision.

Amended by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 172, ch. 13, Sec. 139; amended by 1997 Tex. Laws, p. 3916, ch. 1039, Sec. 39; amended by 1999 Tex. Laws, p. 2751, ch. 416, Sec. 4.

Cross References:

Delivery of notice, see Sec. 1.07.
Protest of failure to deliver notice, see Sec. 41.411.

Sec. 41.461. Notice of Certain Matters Before Hearing.

(a) At least 14 days before a hearing on a protest, the chief appraiser shall:

(1) deliver a copy of the pamphlet prepared by the comptroller under Section 5.06(a) to the property owner initiating the protest if the owner is representing himself, or to an agent representing the owner if requested by the agent;

(2) inform the property owner that the owner or the agent of the owner may inspect and may obtain a copy of the data, schedules, formulas, and all other information the chief appraiser plans to introduce at the hearing to establish any matter at issue; and

(3) deliver a copy of the hearing procedures established by the appraisal review board under Section 41.66 to the property owner.

(b) The charge for copies provided to an owner or agent under this section may not exceed the charge for copies of public information as provided under Subchapter F, Chapter 552, Government Code, except:

(1) the total charge for copies provided in connection with a protest of the appraisal of residential property may not exceed $15 for each residence; and

(2) the total charge for copies provided in connection with a protest of the appraisal of a single unit of property subject to appraisal, other than residential property, may not exceed $25.

Added by 1991 Tex. Laws, p. 1414, ch. 364, Sec. 1; amended by 1993 Tex. Laws, p. 4446, ch. 1031, Sec. 17; amended by 1995 Tex. Laws, p. 554, ch. 76, Sec. 5.95(100).

Cross References:

Delivery of notice, see Sec. 1.07.
Protest of failure to deliver notice, see Sec. 41.411.

Sec. 41.47. Determination of Protest.

(a) The appraisal review board hearing a protest shall determine the protest and make its decision by written order.

(b) If on determining a protest the board finds that the appraisal records are incorrect in some respect raised by the protest, the board by its order shall correct the appraisal records by changing the appraised value placed on the protesting property owner's property or by making the other changes in the appraisal records that are necessary to conform the records to the requirements of law. If the appraised value of a taxable property interest, other than an interest owned by a public utility or by a cooperative corporation organized to provide utility service, is changed as the result of a protest or challenge, the board shall change the appraised value of all other interests, other than an interest owned by a public utility or by a cooperative corporation organized to provide utility service, in the same property, including a mineral in place, in proportion to the ownership interests.

(c) Repealed in 1985.

(d) The board shall deliver by certified mail a notice of issuance of the order and a copy of the order to the property owner and the chief appraiser.

(e) The notice of the issuance of the order must contain a prominently printed statement in upper-case bold lettering informing the property owner in clear and concise language of the property owner's right to appeal the board's decision to district court. The statement must describe the deadline prescribed by Section 42.06(a) of this code for filing a written notice of appeal, and the deadline prescribed by Section 42.21(a) of this code for filing the petition for review with the district court.

Amended by 1981 Tex. Laws (1st C.S.), p. 172, ch. 13, Sec. 140; amended by 1985 Tex. Laws, p. 4191, ch. 504, Sec. 3; amended by 1987 Tex. Laws, ch. 145, Sec. 1, ch. 733, Sec. 2, and ch. 794, Sec. 2; amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 181, ch. 2, Sec. 14.03.

Cross References:

Delivery of notice, see Sec. 1.07.
Filing a notice of appeal, see Sec. 42.06.
Filing a petition for judicial review within 45 days, see Sec. 42.21.
Appraisal review board record requirement, see Rule Sec. 9.803.

Notes:

The notice of the appraisal review board determination was insufficient to comply with statutory requirements of delivery of notice because the notice (1) identified the property only by docket number, not by legal description or a taxpayer account number, and (2) the parent corporation and not the property subsidiary corporate owner was listed. State law treats subsidiary corporations and parent corporations as separate entities and entitles each to notice sufficient to meet the minimum requirements of the Tax Code and due process. It did not matter that the taxpayer's agent was present at the hearing when the review board made its decision. Receiving the notice, not attending the hearing, triggers the 45-day period for the taxpayer to file in district court. Valero South Texas Processing Co. v. Starr County Appraisal District, 954 S.W.2d 863 (Tex. App. -- San Antonio 1997).

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).

Property owner admitted the receipt of both notice of issuance of order of the appraisal review board determination and a copy of the order signed by current appraisal review board chairman. Sending the notice of appeal to former chairman of review board was insufficient to perfect appeal for judicial review. R. J. Underhill v. Jefferson County Appraisal District, 725 S.W.2d 301 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 1987, no writ).

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. Property owner must file written notice of appeal within 15 days of receiving notice. Copy of order determining protest met requirements sufficiently for sending order and notice of issuance of order, and two documents were not required to be sent. MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Tarrant Appraisal District, 723 S.W.2d 350 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 1987, no writ).

Taxpayer protesting an appraisal review board determination was barred from judicial review for failure to file notice within 45 days from receipt of the review board's determination, the "final order" required by Section 41.47 of the Tax Code. Flores v. Fort Bend Central Appraisal District, 720 S.W.2d 243 (Tex. App.-Houston 1986).

A taxpayer's notice of intent to file an appeal is proper if the chief appraiser forwards the notice of appeal to the review board during the 15-day filing period; although the taxpayer's appeal was accomplished through an indirect means, it met the legislative intent of notice to the review board. Texas Conference Association of Seventh-Day Adventists v. Central Appraisal Review Board of Johnson County, 719 S.W.2d 255 (Tex. App.-Waco 1986, writ ref'd n.r.e.).

Where taxpayer was dissatisfied with his property appraisal his exclusive remedies under the Property Tax Code are that of administrative and judicial review within available grounds of protest. When a taxpayer's protest to tax has been determined by the review board, he may then file suit for judicial review of the board's decision, but the board's decision is not a prerequisite to a suit by a taxing unit for delinquent taxes. The statute allows the appraisal board additional time to act by allowing a determination of all protests not only before appraisal records are approved, but "or as soon thereafter as practicable." Valero Transmission Company v. Hays Consolidated Independent School District, 704 S.W.2d 857 (Tex. App.-Austin 1985, writ ref'd n.r.e.).

The grant of summary judgment in favor of an appraisal district is improper where a question existed pertaining to delivery of written order by the appraisal review board. Taxpayers were not required to comply with Sec. 42.06(a) because the appraisal district had not necessarily complied with Sec. 41.47 notice requirements, specifically, issuance of a written order, and delivery of notice of issuance and a copy of the order to the property owner and chief appraiser. Taxpayers' failure to timely file notice of appeal under Sec. 42.06 under the circumstances did not deprive the court of jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Sec. 42.09 does preclude appellants from challenging the review board's determination by any procedure other than the one prescribed by the code. Herndon Marine Products, Inc. v. San Patricio County Appraisal Review Board, 695 S.W.2d 29 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 1985, writ ref'd n.r.e.).

[Sections 41.48 to 41.60 reserved for expansion]