AG Opinion, Surveys, and Disaster Declaration

BigPic_GalvestonDear Chief Appraisers and Tax Assessor-Collectors:

This message contains important information regarding an Attorney General’s opinion on the new application requirements for the residence homestead exemption, appraisal districts completing the Farm and Ranch Survey, and Governor Perry renewing the declaration of a drought emergency.

State Representative Harvey Hildebrand requested an Attorney General’s opinion concerning implementation of the new residence homestead application required by Tax Code Section 11.43. The Attorney General’s opinion was issued on May 7, 2012 (Attorney General Opinion No. GA-0924), and provides in summary the following:

“Only a driver’s license, personal identification certificate or vehicle registration receipt issued by this state may be used to meet the requirements of Tax Code subsection 11.43(j)(4).”
“We do not find any federal authority that would exempt military personnel from compliance with the documentation requirements of Tax Code subsection 11.43(j)(4).”
“The Legislature has prohibited a chief appraiser from granting a homestead exemption to an individual that does not possess a driver’s license or a state-issued identification certificate.”
“A chief appraiser may not grant a residence homestead exemption based on an expired driver’s license, state-issued identification certificate or vehicle registration receipt.”
The request also asked if a chief appraiser can grant an exemption for an applicant who submits a driver’s license or state-issued identification card that bears a post office box address or 911 – Emergency Services Address. Citing administrative rules of the Department of Public Safety, the opinion states that a post office box number may only be listed in addition to a Texas residence on a driver’s license.

In May 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) changed its rules to require all new applicants for a driver’s license or identification card to present two acceptable documents containing the applicant’s name and address to establish proof of residency in the state of Texas, in addition to the standard requirements. See the DPS website for more information.

Appraisal districts should complete the Farm and Ranch Survey for this year as soon as possible. Productivity values are calculated annually by the Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD) for all counties; therefore, it is critical that input from all districts is received. Appraisal districts in which Methods and Assistance Program reviews are being conducted this year should also complete the survey. If you need assistance with this request, please contact Connie Shaffer at 1-800-252-9121, ext. 6-6967.

On April 20, 2012, Governor Perry renewed the proclamation to extend through the drought emergency. The Property Tax Code contains several sections related to natural disasters and droughts. For more information see PTAD’s Property Taxes in Disaster Areas and During Droughts Web page.

If you have other questions, please contact via email or at 1-800-252-9121. (Press 2 to access the menu, then press 1 to contact the Information Services Team.)

Sincerely,

Deborah Cartwright
Director
Property Tax Assistance Division