BILL BY SENATOR SHAPLEIGH CREATES SYSTEM FOR ONLINE PROTESTS OF TAX APPRAISALS BY HOMEOWNERS
March 3, 2009
"So many El Pasoans have come to me to say appraisals are not accurate. Senate bill 258 gives every El Pasoan the ability to appeal an appraisal from home or office. The bill will save time and money, and make the process work for homeowners."
Written by Senator Eliot Shapleigh, www.shapleigh.org
AUSTIN - Today, Senator Eliot Shapleigh, (D- El Paso) laid out in the Senate Committee on Finance a bill he filed that would allow Texans to protest their property tax appraisals online.
Senator Shapleigh testified before the Senate Committee on Finance on behalf of S.B. 258. The bill would mandate that Texas' largest counties - including El Paso - launch a program for electronic protests of property tax appraisals.
"So many El Pasoans have come to me to say appraisals are not accurate. Senate bill 258 gives every El Pasoan the ability to appeal an appraisal from home or office. The bill will save time and money, and make the process work for homeowners," Senator Shapleigh said.
Right now, protesting property tax appraisals is a lengthy, cumbersome and paper-driven process. Mail gets lost and data entry errors can occur. Property owners have to drive to the appraisal district headquarters, spending hours on traffic, time in lines and consulting appraisal district employees about basic laws governing the appeal process.
The bill would provide for convenient online appeals, where taxpayers can understand how the law works, how to file an appeal and how to find help. The bill would allow communication between citizens and appraisal officers to also be done online. Creation of an online system to file protests will lower costs for appraisal districts and increase their efficiency in addressing citizens.
Harris county implemented a successful online protest program in 2004. During testimony before the finance committee this morning, Jim Robinson, Harris County's chief appraisal officer estimated that their program saves the county about $750,000 a year.
S.B. 258 would require central appraisal districts have a system online by January 2010. The Senate committee on Finance is expected to vote on S.B. 258 Wednesday morning.