(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today released a list of the first set of county appraisal districts (CADs) that will receive a new type of state review, which begins in 2010. Mason County is on that initial list.
The new Methods and Assistance Program (MAP) reviews, required by House Bill 8 (HB 8) passed by the 81st Legislature, will begin in January. They will examine CADs’ governance; taxpayer assistance; operating procedures; and appraisal standards, procedures and methodology.
"For the first time since the Property Tax Code was enacted in 1979 all county appraisal districts are subject to review once every two years, and we will work closely with CADs to help them appraise property accurately and according to law," Combs said.
Appraisal districts will receive MAP reviews in alternate years, starting with reviews of approximately half of the CADs in 2010 and the remaining CADs in 2011.
A complete list of the 128 CADs that will receive MAP reviews in 2010, and the 125 CADs that will be reviewed starting in 2011 can be found at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/map/MAPreviews.pdf
MAP reviews are intended to make property appraisal practices more accurate and uniform across the state. School districts, cities, counties and other taxing jurisdictions set local property tax rates based on the appraisals performed by CADs.
"The Comptroller does not set local property taxes. Tax rates are set by local elected officials to help fund local services and operations," said Debbie Cartwright, Director of the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division. "The Comptroller’s role is to assist appraisal districts to comply with the law and generally accepted appraisal practices, to train appraisal review board members and to help property owners understand how to protest their property values if they disagree with the CAD’s appraisal."
HB 8 also changed the frequency of the Property Value Study (PVS) for school districts from yearly to every other year. The Comptroller uses the PVS to check the accuracy of local property values reported by school districts for school funding purposes.
Beginning next year, for school districts located in county appraisal districts that are undergoing a MAP review, local property values reported to the state by the school districts will automatically be used to determine school funding. For school districts located in counties that are not undergoing a MAP review, the PVS will determine whether local values or state-calculated values are used for school funding.
Following a MAP review, a CAD will receive a report containing the Comptroller’s recommendations. The CAD will have one year to comply with the recommendations.
"The Property Tax Assistance Division will assist CADs throughout the process, giving them the information, tools and resources they need to improve their operations," Cartwright said
If a CAD fails to comply with the Comptroller’s recommendations within one year, the CAD will be reported to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for enforcement. More information on the MAP process is available on the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Web site at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/map/index.html.
"We are committed to helping county appraisal districts achieve market-value appraisals; follow legal requirements and generally accepted appraisal standards; and provide superior customer service that enables Texans to understand their property taxes, along with their rights and responsibilities as taxpaying home and business owners," Combs said.