TITLE 34. PUBLIC FINANCE

PART 1. COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

CHAPTER 9. PROPERTY TAX ADMINISTRATION

SUBCHAPTER D. APPRAISAL REVIEW BOARD

34 TAC §9.805

The Comptroller of Public Accounts proposes new §9.805, concerning appraisal review board evidence exchange and retention and audiovisual equipment requirements. The addition of §9.805 is to implement legislative changes to Tax Code, §41.45 (Hearing on Protest), which the 85th Legislature, 2017, enacted through passage of Senate Bill (SB) 1286, SECTIONS 1, 5, 6, and 8.

The new section proposes to adopt the manner and form in which property owners or their agents and appraisal districts exchange materials for use at appraisal review board hearings that allows the appraisal review board to retain the materials as part of the board's hearing record. The new section also proposes to specify requirements for the audiovisual equipment an appraisal district may make available for use by a property owner or the property owner's agent at an appraisal review board hearing.

Tom Currah, Chief Revenue Estimator, has determined that during the first five years that the proposed new rule is in effect, the rule: will not create or eliminate a government program; will not require the creation or elimination of employee positions; will not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; will not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; will not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rules' applicability; and will not positively or adversely affect this state's economy. This proposal creates a new rule.

Mr. Currah also has determined that for each year of the first five years the rule is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rule will be by improving the administration of local property valuation and taxation. The proposed new rule would have no fiscal impact on small businesses. There is no significant anticipated economic cost to individuals who are required to comply with the proposed rule.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Mike Esparza, Director, Property Tax Assistance Division, P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528. Comments may be submitted by email sent to: Mike.Esparza@cpa.texas.gov and must be received no later than 30 days from the date of publication of the proposal in the Texas Register.

The new section is proposed under Tax Code, §41.45 (Hearing on Protest), which provides the comptroller with the authority to promulgate rules specifying not only the manner and form in which materials intended for use at appraisal review board hearings are to be exchanged that allows the appraisal review board to retain the materials as part of the board's hearing record but also the requirements for the audiovisual equipment an appraisal district may make available for use by a property owner or the property owner's agent at an appraisal review board hearing.

The new section implements Tax Code, §41.45 (Hearing on Protest).

§9.805.Appraisal Review Board Evidence Exchange and Retention and Audiovisual Equipment Requirements.

(a) Exchange of evidence. Before or immediately after an appraisal review board hearing begins, the appraisal district and the property owner or the owner's agent shall each provide the other party with a duplicated set of the evidentiary materials the person intends to offer or submit to the appraisal review board for consideration at the hearing. One set of these materials is to be exchanged with and retained by the other party, and another set of these materials is to be provided to and retained by the appraisal review board as evidence for its records as required under §9.803 of this title (relating to Requirements for Appraisal Review Board Records). The duplicated material sets shall be produced in either paper or electronic form.

(b) Evidentiary materials in electronic form. Evidentiary materials produced in electronic form shall be saved in a file format type and downloaded to a small, portable, electronic device. The file format type and small, portable, electronic device must be considered generally accepted technology and must be suitable for retention by the recipient. For security purposes, the electronic files on devices produced pursuant to this section shall be capable of being scanned or reviewed for the presence of any malicious software or computer viruses before acceptance by or exposure to the recipient's computer system.

(c) Electronic file format types and devices. The appraisal review board shall determine the types of file formats and devices which meet the requirements of subsection (b) of this section and specify the types of file formats and devices in the appraisal review board hearing procedures. Examples of file format types that may be considered acceptable include but are not limited to the Adobe portable document format (PDF); Microsoft Word, typically used for text documents; Microsoft Excel, typically used for spreadsheets and tables; Microsoft PowerPoint, typically used for presentations or slideshows; and JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg) for photographs. Examples of the general types of small, portable, electronic devices suitable for retention by the recipient that may be considered acceptable include but are not limited to USB flash drives (i.e., thumb or jump drives, USB or memory sticks), and compact discs (i.e., CDs, DVDs) with various characteristics. The appraisal district and the property owner or the owner's agent may agree to exchange evidence in a manner other than provided in appraisal review board hearing procedures so long as a copy of the evidence may be retained in the records of the appraisal review board and satisfies the requirements of subsection (b) of this section.

(d) Audiovisual equipment requirements. If the appraisal district uses audiovisual equipment at appraisal review board hearings, the appraisal district shall make available this same equipment or audiovisual equipment of the same general type, kind, and character for use at the hearing by the property owner or the owner's agent. The equipment made available shall be capable of reading and accepting the same types of file formats and devices the appraisal review board has determined are generally accepted under subsection (c) of this section. In the alternative, property owners and their agents may bring their own audiovisual equipment for their presentation of evidentiary materials at appraisal review board hearings. If the operation of audiovisual equipment at the hearing requires access to and connection with the Internet for the presentation, the parties must provide their own Internet connection and access through their own service provider. The property owner and the owner's agent may not access the appraisal district office's network or Internet connection nor any of the appraisal district office's technology or equipment other than that made available under this section and described in the appraisal review board hearing procedures. The appraisal district and the property owner or the owner's agent may use audiovisual equipment with specifications that are different from those in the hearing procedures if the parties agree to do so in writing or verbally agree as shown in the audio recording of the hearing.

(e) Appraisal Review Board hearing procedures. The following information regarding the exchange and presentation of evidence at appraisal review board hearings shall be provided in the appraisal review board hearing procedures:

(1) identification of the file format types considered acceptable under subsection (c) of this section;

(2) description of the types of small, portable, electronic devices suitable for retention by the recipient considered acceptable under subsection (c) of this section;

(3) notice that property owners and their agents may bring their own audiovisual equipment for their presentation at appraisal review board hearings but must provide their own Internet access, if needed, through their own service provider;

(4) whether the appraisal district uses audiovisual equipment at appraisal review board hearings;

(5) if the appraisal district uses audiovisual equipment at appraisal review board hearings, a description of the type, kind, and character of audiovisual equipment the appraisal district makes available for use by property owners or their agents and which meets the requirements of subsection (d) of this section; and

(6) notice that property owners and their agents may not access the appraisal district office's network or Internet connection nor any of the appraisal district office's technology or equipment other than that made available under this section and described in the hearing procedures.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on December 6, 2017.

TRD-201704989

Lita Gonzalez

General Counsel

Comptroller of Public Accounts

Earliest possible date of adoption: January 21, 2018

For further information, please call: (512) 475-0387