Comptroller to Conduct New Appraisal District Reviews

(AUSTIN) - The Texas Legislature, in House Bill 8, gave Texas Comptroller Susan Combs the responsibility of reviewing the performance of each county appraisal district at least once every other year. In the off years, the Comptroller's office will conduct a property value study to determine the taxable value in each school district. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2010.

"We look forward to working with appraisal districts in our reviews and value studies to ensure fair and accurate appraisals," Combs said. "Texas taxpayers expect and deserve efficient service and uniform appraisals so property taxes are shared equally among taxpayers."

The reviews will cover each appraisal district's governance, taxpayer assistance, operating and appraisal standards, procedures and methods.  If an appraisal district fails to comply with the Comptroller's recommendations within one year, the Board of Tax Professional Examiners or a successor agency must take action necessary to ensure compliance.

HB 8 also changed the Comptroller's school district Property Value Study from an annual study to a study that must be conducted once every two years, except when the study finds invalid values for a school district, at which time a study will be conducted annually until the values are valid. The requirement for a biennial - rather than an annual - study will free up Comptroller resources to do a more intensive Property Value Study in approximately half the school districts each year.

The bill created a nine-member Comptroller's Property Value Study Advisory Committee to consult with the Comptroller prior to the adoption of study rules. The Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives will appoint one member from the House; the Lieutenant Governor will appoint one member from the Senate; and the Comptroller will appoint two members representing appraisal districts, two members representing school districts and three members who are Texas taxpayers or have expertise in school district taxation or ratio studies.