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Appraisal Protests - S.B. 93

by Senator Patterson

House Sponsor: Representative Heflin

§ Requires the chief appraiser of each appraisal district, each year, to publicize in a manner designed to notify all residents of the district, provisions of the "Right of Protest" and the method by which a property owner may protest an action before the appraisal review board.

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Seizure of Abandoned Real Property - S.B. 141

by Senator Cain

House Sponsors: Representatives Oakley and Giddings

§ Grants power to a county to seize and sell abandoned real property, which is not in a municipality of the county, for delinquent property taxes.

§ Prohibits the property seized by the county from being sold for an amount less than the lesser of the market value of the property or the total amount of taxes due on the property.

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Property Tax Exemption - S.B. 344

by Senator Harris

House Sponsor: Representative Brimer

§ Allows a property tax exemption for a private school to remain in effect if the owner transferred or sold the school property, but continued to operate the school and use the property for the same qualifying school purposes.

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Property Tax Exemption - S.B. 485

by Senator Brown

House Sponsor: Representative Hartnett

§ Exempts from property taxation a person whose stake in a multi-party mineral interest has a taxable value of less than $500.

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Property Tax Reforms - S.B. 841

by Senator Cain, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Hilbert

§ Provides that an appraisal district is governed by a board of five directors, who are appointed by the taxing units that participate in the district, and sets out who is eligible to serve. A county assessor-collector serves as a nonvoting director, if not appointed to the board.

§ Increases the maximum number of auxiliary members the board of directors of an appraisal district may appoint for a county, depending on that county's population.

§ Prohibits a person from receiving a residence homestead tax exemption for more than one residence homestead in the same year.

§ Provides for the limitation of property taxes for persons 65 years or older to be applicable to certain surviving spouses, depending on when the individual who qualified for the residence homestead died.

§ Provides that if an individual who had received a limitation on tax increases imposed under Section 11.26 of the Tax Code (Limitation of School Tax on Homesteads of Elderly) subsequently qualifies a different homestead for a residence homestead exemption, the total amount of school district property taxes imposed on the new homestead may not exceed the amount of school taxes that would have been imposed in the first year in which the person received the homestead exemption for that homestead, had the limitation on school tax increases not been in effect, multiplied by a fraction of which:

§ the numerator is the total amount of school taxes imposed on the former homestead in the last year in which the person received the homestead exemption the former homestead; and

§ the denominator is that total amount of school taxes that would have been imposed on the former homestead in the last year in which the person received the homestead exemption had the limitation on school tax increases not been in effect.

§ Contains contingency provisions for the inclusion of the transfer allowed for persons 65 years of age or older of their frozen property tax levies and other provisions. The provision will be included if either H.J.R. 4 or S.J.R. 43 is approved by the voters.

§ Provides that if a person is the partial owner of exempt property, the exemption shall be multiplied by a fraction, of which the numerator is the value of the person's property interest and the denominator is the property's value.

§ Provides for immediate effect of homestead, charitable, surviving spouses, and other exemptions.

§ Sets out what information must be required on an application form for an exemption.

§ Includes the mass appraisal standards recognized by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice in the methods and techniques used in determining the market value of property.

§ Sets out how a chief appraiser must apply the cost, income, or market data methods of appraisal.

§ Requires notices of appraised value to include a detailed explanation of the procedure for protesting the value.

§ Provides that a governing body may not adopt a tax rate that if applied to the total taxable value would impose an amount of taxes that exceeds last year's levy.

§ Adds Section 23.23 to the Tax Code, which provides that the appraised value of a residence homestead may not exceed the lesser of:

§ the property's market value; or

§ the sum of 10 percent of the appraised value of the property for the last year the property was appraised times the number of years since the property was last appraised, the appraised value of the property for the last year it was appraised, and the market value of all new improvements.

§ Provides that a delinquent tax incurs a penalty of 50 percent of the amount of the tax without regard to the number of months the tax has been delinquent, if the property owner had received certain exemptions that were subsequently canceled by the chief appraiser because that person did not qualify for certain enumerated reasons.

§ Provides that a person is entitled to defer or abate a suit to collect a delinquent tax imposed on a portion of that individual's residence homestead that exceeds the sum of 105 percent of the appraised value of the property for the preceding year and the market value of all subsequent property improvements. Sets out the procedure for obtaining such deferral or abatement, when the deferral or abatement applies, how to calculate the amount of taxes which may be deferred, and the attachment and calculation of the tax lien.

§ Requires an appraisal review board to provide for protest hearings in evenings and on weekends.

§ Provides that the taxable value of property for the determination of school district property values is reduced by the appraised value of property or that portion of property on which the collection of delinquent taxes has been deferred.

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Property Tax for Change of Use of Land - S.B. 1033

by Senator Harris

House Sponsor: Representative Hawley

§ Waives the rollback property tax for land that changed from a qualifying open-space use if the change of use occurred as a result of a transfer of the property to the state or a political subdivision of the state to be used for a public purpose.

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Property Tax Abatements and Reinvestment Zones -

S.B. 1557

(Died in the House)

by Senator Sibley, et al.

§ Prohibits school districts from entering into tax abatement agreements authorized by the Tax Increment Financing Act after September 1, 1997, and from increasing their level of financial participation in tax abatement agreements entered into before September 1, 1997.

§ Prohibits school districts from entering into tax abatement agreements authorized by the Property Redevelopment and Tax Abatement Act, on or after September 1, 1997, and from making certain modifications to a tax abatement agreements entered into on or after September 1, 1997.

§ Excludes from the definition of a "Taxing Unit," for a reinvestment zone created or a tax abatement agreement executed on or after September 1, 1997, a school district that is subject to guidelines set forth in Chapter 42 of the Education code (Foundation School Program) and organized primarily to provide general elementary and secondary public education.

§ Prohibits a project plan for the development of redevelopment of a reinvestment zone, or a reinvestment zone financing plan approved before September 1, 1997, from being amended on or after September 1, 1997, to increase the percentage of a tax increment to be contributed by a school district to a tax increment fund; to increase the duration of time a school district is to contribute to a tax increment fund; to allow a school district that was not included in the originally approved project plan or reinvestment zone financing plan to contribute a tax increment or any other funds to a tax increment fund; or to allow a school district to pay into a tax increment fund any additional tax increment or funds derived from property added to the reinvestment zone.

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Tax Freeze on the Homesteads of the Elderly - S.J.R. 43

by Senator Cain

House Sponsor: Representative Hilbert

§ Proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to limit the maximum average annual percentage increase in the appraised value of residence homesteads for ad valorem tax purposes to 10 percent, or a greater percentage, for each year since the most recent tax appraisal. A limitation on appraisal increases:

§ takes effect for a residence homestead on the later of the effective date of the law imposing the limitation or the January 1 of the tax year following the first tax year the owner qualified for a residence homestead exemption; and

§ expires on January 1 of the first tax year that neither the owner nor the owner's surviving spouse qualifies for a residence homestead exemption.

§ Authorizes the legislature to provide for the transfer of all or a proportionate amount of the constitutional limitation on increases of ad valorem taxes for general elementary and secondary public school purposes imposed on the residence homestead of a person of 65 years of age or older to a subsequently established different residential homestead. Provides that this proposed amendment shall be submitted to the voters only if the constitutional amendment proposed by H.J.R. 4 of the 75th Legislature is not approved by the voters.

§ Provides that if the legislature provides for such transfer, the legislature may authorize the governing body of a school district to elect to apply the law providing for such transfer to a change in a person's residence homestead that occurred before the law took effect, subject to any statutory restrictions. The transfer may apply only to taxes imposed in a tax year after the tax year the election is made. Ballot Date: November 4, 1997.

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Property Tax Exemption - S.J.R. 45

by Senator Brown

House Sponsor: Representative Lewis

§ Proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to permit a local government taxing unit to grant an exemption or other relief from property taxes on which a water conservation initiative has been implemented. Ballot Date: November 4, 1997.

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Property Tax Relief/Lottery Dedication - H.B. 4

by Representative Junell, et al.

Senate Sponsors: Senators Armbrister and Bivins

§ Increases the homestead exemption from $5,000 to $15,000 of the appraised value of a residence homestead for school district property tax purposes. Requires the exemption increase to be ratified by the voters on August 9, 1997, before it takes effect.

§ Authorizes people 65 years of age or older to transfer a proportionate amount of their frozen property tax levy from their current homesteads to newly purchased homes. Requires this provision to be ratified by the voters on August 9, 1997, before it takes effect.

§ Provides that only school district maintenance and operation tax revenue is eligible for recapture; tax revenue generated to pay off bonds for facilities construction is no longer considered in determining a wealthy district's recapture amount.

§ Creates an instructional facilities allotment beginning with the 1997-98 school year that guarantees $28 per student in state and local funds for each cent of tax effort up to a maximum rate to pay the principal and interest on eligible bonds. Requires the commissioner of education to award state assistance for facilities using a priority scale beginning with the district having the lowest wealth per student.

§ Provides additional money in the school finance system for school districts to pay for increases in the minimum salary schedule for teachers. Increases the minimum number of days of service for a teacher under a 10-month contract to 186 days for the 1997-98 school year and 187 days for the 1998-99 school year.

§ Provides that if a school district adopts a tax rate which exceeds the district's rollback tax rate, the voters of the district must approve the adopted tax rate.

§ Provides that if a school district is certified by the commissioner of education to have been subject to a reduction in total revenue for the school year ending on August 31 of the tax year, the district's rollback tax rate for the tax year is increased by the tax rate that, if applied to the current total value for the school district, would impose taxes in an amount equal to the amount of the reduction certified by the commissioner.

§ Provides that in a school district that received distributions from an equalization tax imposed under former Chapter 18, Education Code, the effective rate of that tax as of the date of the county unit system's abolition is added to the district's rollback tax rate.

§ Provides calculations for the rollback tax rate of a school district, and specifies the rollback tax rate calculation for the 1997 and 1998 tax years.

§ Appropriates $1.04 billion for the biennium through the Foundation School Program.

§ Dedicates net lottery revenue to the Foundation School Fund to support the public schools of Texas. Reduces prize money to lottery winners by 5 percent.

Note: The constitutional amendment for this legislation is H.J.R. 4.

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Tax Reform and Public School Finance - H.J.R. 4

by Representative Craddick, et al.

Senate Sponsors: Senators Armbrister and Bivins

§ Provides that $15,000, rather than $5,000, of the market value of the residence homestead of a married or unmarried adult, including one living alone, is exempt from ad valorem taxation for general elementary and secondary public school purposes. Ballot Date: August 9, 1997.

§ Allows the legislature to provide that all or part of the exemption does not apply to a district or political subdivision that imposes taxes for public edu-cation purposes but is not the principal school district providing general elementary and secondary public education throughout its territory.

§ Allows the legislature to provide for the transfer of all or a proportionate amount of a limitation for a person who qualifies for the limitation and establishes a different residence homestead.

§ Requires the legislature, for a residence homestead subject to a limitation in the 1996 tax year or an earlier tax year, to provide for a reduction in the amount of the limitation for the 1997 tax year and subsequent tax years in an amount equal to $10,000 multiplied by the 1997 tax rate for general elementary and secondary public school purposes applicable to the residence homestead.

§ Requires this constitutional amendment to be submitted to the voters at an election to be held on August 9, 1997.

Note: The enabling legislation for this constitutional amendment is H.B. 4.

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Property Tax Payments on Appeal - H.B. 2201

by Representatives Stiles and Price

Senate Sponsor: Senator Ratliff

§ Deletes the requirement that taxpayers pay the taxes imposed on the property in the preceding year in order to proceed to a final determination of a property appraisal appeal.

§ Authorizes a property owner who prevails in an appeal for remedy for excessive appraisal, to be awarded reasonable attorney's fees, not exceeding the lesser of $100,000 or the total amount by which the property owner's tax liability is reduced as a result of the appeal.

§ Provides that a property owner, with a tax liability remaining after final determination of an appeal, is liable for the remaining delinquent tax and certain penalties and interest, as if the tax became delinquent on the original delinquency date.

_ Provides that a property owner who did not pay taxes because the court found that payment would constitute an unreasonable restraint on the owner's right of access to the courts, after final determination of an appeal, is liable for the delinquent tax with interest as if the tax became delinquent on the original delinquency date.

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Charitable Property Tax Exemptions - H.B. 2383

by Representative Hochberg

Senate Sponsor: Senator Cain

§ Requires charitable, youth development, religious, and private school organizations applying for a charitable property tax exemption to use their property to perform their principal functions or perform the principal charitable functions of a similar organization.

§ Removes the requirement that an organization pledge its assets in performing its function, and allows the organization to transfer its assets to the United States government if the organization was discontinued.

§ Allows a property tax exemption for a private school to remain in effect if a new owner authorizes the former owner to continue to operate the school and use the property for the same qualifying school purposes, and if the former owner continued to own the property and remained entitled to the exemption.

§ Extends the deadline for which a late application for a school exemption may filed to December 31, 1997.

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Property Tax Authorization - H.J.R. 96 and H.B. 2649

by Representative Hamric

Senate Sponsor: Senator Lindsay

§ Proposes a constitutional amendment increasing the amount of property tax the legislature has the power to authorize on property in rural fire prevention districts located in whole or in part in Harris County, from no more than 3¢ per $100 valuation, to no more than 5¢ per $100 valuation of the property. Ballot Date: November 4, 1997.

§ Authorizes the board of fire commissioners of a rural fire prevention district located partially or wholly within Harris County to order an election to increase the maximum tax rate up to 5 cents per $100 valuation of property.