July 16, 2019
Texas property appeals will see the equal and uniform case being a reason for bringing a protest forward under the 25.25 section of the Texas tax code. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB380 into law this legislative session, extending the scope of appeals within the Texas tax code 25.25. This new law will establish that the property owner is entitled to a final determination of their appeal on the grounds of any protest. Previously, appraisal review boards have claimed that they had no authority to rule on an equal and uniform case. Currently, the Texas tax code 25.25 reads as follows:
“At any time prior to the date the taxes become delinquent, a property owner or the chief appraiser may file a motion with the appraisal review board to change the appraisal roll to correct an error that resulted in an incorrect appraised value for the owner’s property. However, the error may not be corrected unless it resulted in an appraised value that exceeds by more than one-third the correct appraised value. If the appraisal roll is changed under this subsection, the property owner must pay to each affected taxing unit a late-correction penalty equal to 10 percent of the amount of taxes as calculated on the basis of the corrected appraised value.”Texas Tax Code 25.25
The Texas Tax Code “establishes a detailed set of procedures that property owners must abide by to contest the imposition of property taxes.
- The taxpayer must timely file a written notice of protest with the appraisal review board
- The appraisal review board must schedule and provide notice of a hearing on the protest
- The property owner must appear at the hearing
- The appraisal review board must “determine the protest and make its decision by written order”
- The property owner must timely file a petition for judicial review in district court
HB 380 allows a property owner to appeal in district court any appraisal review board order determining that the board lacked jurisdiction to make a final determination of the owner’s protest or motion to correct the appraisal roll due to the owner’s failure to satisfy the requirements for a protest or motion. If the property owner established that the board had jurisdiction to issue a final determination of the protest or motion, the owner would be entitled to have the court make a final determination of the protest or motion. The court could make a final determination of a protest on any ground applicable to the property, even if such ground was not included in the owner’s notice of protest.
HB 380 authorizes a court to remand an appeal by a property owner of an appraisal review board’s order to the board instead of dismissing it for lack of jurisdiction due to the property owner’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The review board would be instructed on remand to give the property owner an opportunity to cure the owner’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Any action remanded to a review board would be considered to be a timely filed protest or motion, as applicable, and the board would be required to schedule a hearing on and issue a written decision determining the protest or motion. A review board’s determination relating to the remanded action could be appealed to the court that remanded the action. Such an appeal could not be the subject of a plea to the jurisdiction due to the property’s owner’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies.