Running The Appraisal District Office To Code:
Top Five Best Practices
An appraisal district (CAD) faces a continual challenge in complying with the Texas Property Tax Code requirements. A Chief Appraiser must be proactive to protect and defend the appraisal district.
Achieving the dual responsibility of following the law and providing public education is challenging to navigate and control. The tips below will assist your CAD in this challenge.
Know the Property Tax Code- Be comfortable discussing the tax code in your office. Summary sheets are helpful for your staff in describing the sections and most common references used in everyday operations. For instance, knowing the tax code is generally organized chronologically, similar to the Ad Valorem process, is helpful. Section 6 discusses the appraisal district formation. Section 41 describes the Appraisal Review Board and the protest process. BIS can assist you with shortcut materials for your staff and keep you updated on new legislative requirements.
Educate the CAD Board of Directors, taxing units, and the public at every opportunity. Include tax code references in communications. A summary of why you need the sales survey, income survey, or application renewal could improve the response. Our Board of Directors training and PR materials can reinforce your education efforts.
Notify the CAD BOD, taxing units, and involved CAD staff timely of a significant CAD issue. Promptly describing the problem, cause, and resolution will establish a factual narrative. Make sure your 25.25 procedures are accurate with appropriate notifications. Seeking legal advice when needed will offer additional security in describing the scope of the matter. Building and preserving trust between the appraisal district and stakeholders is critical. Document, Document, Document your preemptive actions for the good of the CAD. Was your budget at risk of reduction due to political pressure? Document your reasons for the budget presented. BIS has organizational tools to assist you.
Understand the CAD evaluation tools. The Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) Property Value Study (PVS) and Methods and Assistance Program (MAP) Review conducted every other year confirm the rules are followed. Tax Code Section 5.102(a) and related Comptroller Rule 9.301 require PTAD to review appraisal district governance, taxpayer assistance, operating procedures, and appraisal standards.
Consequences of not meeting the technical standards: New Targeted MAP. After the PVS two-year grace period ends and a third year is assigned state funding, school districts are assigned state value risk of losing school funding. Targeted Map Review notification letters will be sent to these appraisal districts this fall after the 2022 PVS appeals are completed. The study will determine why an appraisal district is not meeting the required standards. The Comptroller is currently developing the criteria. It is a safe bet that it will be next level to the existing MAP review and include recommendations with consequences if not implemented. Since 2019, the Formula Transition Grant (FTG) and other funding outside the TEA calculation template have prevented some schools from losing school funding. The FTG is set to expire in 2024 unless the legislature extends the grant. BIS can assist in meeting the MAP criteria and running your office efficiently.
BIS is a powerful ally in providing the tools to assist you in proactive steps for a successful appraisal district. We can empower you to make it through even the most difficult circumstances.