Changes to Texas Tax Code

There was a somewhat rocky end to the 85th regular session of what was perceived by many as one of the most dysfunctional Texas legislative sessions in recent years. The regular and special session included the likes of a Sanctuary City Bill, the Bathroom Bill, Anti-Abortion Bill and a Property Tax Reform Bill which was one of Gov. Greg Abbot’s top priorities.


I would like to share some of the bills most relevant to property tax that were passed during the sessions that may affect you from a business or personal perspective.


HB 2228 amended Section 11.4391, Tax Code to change the deadline for filing a late Freeport goods application from the date before the appraisal review board approves the records (August 20 for Harris County, July 25 for most other Texas Counties), to June 15 for all counties. Effective January 1, 2018.


Effective January 1, 2018, the rendition deadline has changed from the previous April 15 to April 1. It will still include one automatic 30-day extension and another 15-day good cause extension.


Beginning in 2018, the deadline to file the ever important notice of protest has been shortened by two weeks and moved from May 31 to May 15. The notice must still provide a minimum period of 30 days after notices of appraised value are delivered, whichever is later.


Section 33.06 has been amended to now authorize disabled veterans to defer taxes on their homesteads. This option was already in place for those age 65 and older and disabled persons. Effective September 1, 2017.


Originally intended to assist the elderly and those with limited transportation, the final passed bill permits all property owners to now appear by telephone at an ARB hearing as opposed to appearing in person or by affidavit. The property owner must offer evidence by affidavit to the appraisal review board before it begins the phone hearing. This law applies to all formal hearings scheduled for September 1, 2017 and after.


Beginning September 1, 2017, homeowners may now submit late applications for residence homestead exemptions up to two years after becoming eligible and disabled veterans may now file late applications for partially disabled homestead exemptions up to five years after initial eligibility.


Section 11.439, Tax Code, is amended to permit late applications for partially disabled veterans from one year later to five years later. Effective September 1, 2017.


In lieu of filing litigation, binding arbitration may be requested for properties where the appraised or market value as determined by an appraisal review board is $5 million or less.


For a more complete list of recent property tax related legislative changes, please visit the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association.


About the Author

Gary Rivas is Vice President of J. Joseph Consulting, Inc. where he oversees all property tax technical operations. He is responsible for the effective administration of over 6 billion in client assets.


Gary was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and attended the University of Texas at San Antonio.  He obtained his Texas Real Estate License in 1984, his property tax consulting license in 1991, and his Senior Property Tax Consulting License in 2001.  He is currently a candidate for the CMI designation.


Gary presently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Texas Association of Property Tax Professionals, is a member of the Texas Association of Assessing Officers, the International Association of Assessing Officers, Institute for Professionals in Taxation.