The House Select Committee on Property Tax Relief and Appraisal Reform was created by Speaker Tom Craddick. The committee was instructed to study the property tax appraisal system. Rep. John Otto conducted eight hearings and has filed a summary of the committee report. The recommendations include the following:
Change the Property Value Study conducted by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The current system penalizes school districts if the appraisal district values are more than 5 percent below the Comptroller’s study. This forces higher appraisals from the appraisal district. The Committee recommended that the districts be audited on their methods and procedures, not an arbitrary percentage.
Require a Consistent Reappraisal Cycle. Currently, property is reappraised at least once each three years. Some districts appraise more often. The committee recommended that all property be reappraised every two years, creating a statewide consistent cycle.
Appraisal Review Boards. The Committee recommended more training and education for appraisal review boards and creation of an optional regional appraisal review board. The committee also recommended expansion of the arbitration option for taxpayer appeals.
The committee recommended changes to the current appraisal methods, including valuation methods and disaster reappraisals. The committee did not recommend sales price disclosure requirements.
The committee recommended that the central appraisal district board of directors be elected.
The committee recommended that the school property tax be replaced by an expansion of the sales tax.
The committee recommended revision of the effective tax rate procedure. While this could simplify the process and improve transparency, this legislation could be easily amended to include a lower revenue cap on counties.
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