Proposed Legislation Likely to Pass In 2013

The Texas Apartment Association (TAA) has announced publicly, and have discussed in hearings, their intention to strengthen Section 23.01(e) of the Texas Property Tax Code (The Code).  Originally passed by the Texas Legislature in 2009, this law was intended to prevent appraisal districts from revaluating properties if the value was reduced either by the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) or through property valuation litigation.  It was agreed that a valuation could be raised the following year by the chief appraiser if “substantial evidence” exists to justify an increase.

A debate ensued to define the term “substantial evidence.”  Taxpayers, appraisal districts, and ARBs sometimes disagreed as to what constituted “substantial evidence.”  To end the debate TAA is pursuing changes to Section 23.01(e) by placing the burden of proof on the chief appraiser and requiring “Clear and Convincing Evidence.”

It is my opinion that the TAA will be successful in altering Section 23.01(e) during the 2013 Session.  The effect on commercial and residential taxpayers will be stability of the assessments and taxes for two years unless the chief appraiser has “Clear and Convincing Evidence,” such as the sale of the property.  There is the potential for the creation of inequitable assessments on like properties which have their values raised while one property’s value is reduced by 23.01 (e).  The Code does have existing provisions for appeals based on equity issues. Therefore the comparable properties would have a remedy available to them.