Update on Covid-19 and 2020 Valuations

We at PEPCO wanted to give you an update on the Covid-19 crisis and its potential effect on 2020 property tax valuations.

On March 13, 2020 Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster as it relates to Covid-19. Some discussions then took place regarding Covid-19 and the effect the state of disaster and provisions within the Texas Property Tax Code regarding an potential exemption due to the state of a disaster.

The House Ways and Means Committee issued an opinion on April 8th stating that the Texas Courts would likely interpret that the natural disaster provision applies only to properties suffering physical property damages, not economic damages list those caused by the Coronavirus (read here).

On April 9, 2020 Senator Paul Bettencourt asked for an Attorney General (AG) opinion regarding whether the natural disaster provision applies to Covid-19 (read here).

On April 13, 2020 The Attorney General of Texas responded to Senator Bettencourt’s request (read here). The AG ruled that the natural disaster provision does not apply to Covid-19 as its applicability is limited to disasters that result in physical damage to property.

Appraisal District’s around the state have concluded that based on the OG opinion they will deny all applications for a natural disaster exemption for tax year 2020.

Therefore the only option left to taxpayers will be to litigation. Please note that an AG’s opinion is just that, an opinion. Although the AG’s opinion would likely be a persuasive argument in court, however it does not have the force and effect of law. I have spoken to several attorneys and it is their opinion that courts will not read something into a law which isn’t there.

We at PEPCO feel the best way to proceed is to document the effect that Covid-19 has had on your properties. The way we do that is to requests current P&Ls, Rent Rolls and AR on properties.

Should you have any questions and or comments please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

Paul Pennington
P.E. Pennington & Company, Inc.
4300 Marsh Ridge Road Unit 104
Carrollton, TX  75010
Direct line 972.236.7052
Cell 214.676.7926

Section 11.35 Disaster Exemption_Overview_4.2.20
Expedited request for legal opinion on Section 11.35 of Tax Code
Opinion No. KP-0299