Texas appraisal districts, local governments, the Comptroller's Office and the media by their actions keeps fueling the fire for the demand for change by the legislature and taxpayers.
Many issues created the environment weÂ Texans now find ourselves in now with demand to change our property Texas systems.Â WhenÂ we look at the “administrative remedy” phase of the system we see that groups that shouldÂ be fighting to save the current system are fueling the fires for change.Â
A. Issues from the taxpayers/consultants point of view:
1. Unfair informal hearings.
2. Unfair Appraisal Review Board (ARB) hearings:
a. Bias of board members.
b. The staff has too much influence at ARB hearings.
c. Lack of qualifications of board members.
i. They need better unbiased training as it relates to The Property Tax Code and Case Law.
3. Taxpayers feel overwhelmed by the process:
a. They feel like they are fighting a huge, rigid monolithic bureaucracy.
b. They are not properly educated and do not have a good understanding of the Texas property tax system.
i. Some appraisal districts provide training on how to present an effective appeal informally and formally.
c. Thus they are drawn to special interest groups who claim to have quick fixes to change the current property tax system.
4. Rogue appraisal district(s): Bexar County appealing ARB rulings:
a. Bexar County; they want two bites at the apple.
5. Pressure to constantly increase values because of the Comptroller’s Annual Property Value Study (PVS).
a. Both the appraisal districts and the Comptrollersâ€™ Office have agreed that the current methodology is an accurate measure of valuations, which is incorrect.
b. Statistical samples do not reflect market as of the assessment date because of the natural ebb and flow of valuations.
6. Harris County Appraisal Districtâ€™s inability to make local value over the past three years.
a. So goes HCAD, so goes the Texas property tax system.b. HCAD vs. the State Comptrollersâ€™ Office.
7. â€œAppraisal districts are not at fault!Â Â Â
a. â€œIf we had open sales records everything would be justÂ fineâ€.
i. They essentially have it with residential properties (MLS) and stillÂ there are errors.
ii. They currently have Costar, Loopnet, etc.
iii. How does sales disclosure affect uniform and equal appeals?
b. â€œIf we had audit powers with BPP everything would be just fineâ€.
i. The districts would hire third party entities to conduct audits.Â
8. Currently appraisal districts are not regulated as it relates to their day to day operations.
a. There is a lack of accountability.
i. With the exception of an occasionally adverse court ruling, Attorney General’s opinion and The Comptrollerâ€™s Office PVS, appraisal districts operate with immunity.Â
ii. Currently there is no agency to field complaints from the public and/or agents regarding issues they may have with appraisal districts.
9. The media, Appraisal districts and local government officials continue to claim businesses donâ€™t pay their fair share of property taxes.
a. Neutral third party research groups disagree with this opinion;
i. http://www.taxfoundation.org. Businesses pay more property taxes in Texas than Homeowners.
b. Why are businesses portrayed as not paying their fair share of property tax?
i. (Easy Target) Homeowners vote andÂ Â businesses donâ€™t.
ii. Since appraisal districts and local governments wonâ€™t take any responsibility they pass the buck.
c. Businesses do pay their fair share of property taxes and the Margin tax.
i. This fact doesnâ€™t sell newspapers or make for good sound bites.