COVID-19 Impacts Ho. Co. Appraisal District

Property Valuations Possibly Affected

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The COVID-19 Disease has impacted nearly every aspect of day-to-day life. One area which hasn’t been talked about very much is the state of Texas’ appraisal districts.

The deadlines for filing Business Personal Property Renditions, as well as reporting property valuations, are fast approaching.   

“However,” according to Houston County Chief Appraiser Carey Minter, “there are currently no waivers or extensions pertaining to this year’s ad valorem appraisal year.”  

In an e-mail received on Thursday, April 2, the chief appraise stated, “Houston County Appraisal District (HCAD) has limited our building to public access until further notice. The appraisal district staff will continue answering phones and correspondence in the office 8:00 AM – 4 PM daily.  We will assist the public by phone, fax, mail and email.  Information can also be obtained from our website, www.houstoncad.org.”

Minter said HCAD office personnel are keeping their distance and limiting the number of people in the office in response to the President’s National Emergency Declaration and Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Public Health Disaster Declaration.

As a result of these declarations, Minter asserted, “I am granting an automatic thirty-day extension for Business Personal Property Renditions. The extension will move the deadline from April 15 to May 15.”

She explained, “A rendition is a report that lists all the taxable property the business owner owned or controlled on January 1 of this year. Examples of personal property include computers, desks, chairs, office supplies, business inventory, machinery and vehicles used to produce income.  The appraisal district has already mailed personal property rendition forms to businesses known to have been operating in Houston County during the previous year.  However, all business owners are required to file renditions regardless of receiving notification.”

 A rendition form is available on the appraisal district’s website at www.houstoncad.org, under the “Forms” tab, along with information on the rules of the process.

“As the Chief Appraiser for Houston County Appraisal District,” Minter’s e-mail continued, “I will continue to do my best for the citizens of Houston County within the confines of the law.  In light of the pandemic, it is important for you to know Texas appraisal districts have been in contact with the Governor’s office and taxing unit organizations. However, there are currently no waivers or extensions pertaining to this year’s ad valorem appraisal year.  We are asking the Governor for guidance in the matter of our 2020 reappraisal plans and the impact it will have on our citizens suffering economic hardship during this time.”

The HCAD offices are about to undergo the busiest time of the year concerning taxpayer visits and correspondence, Minter said.  The appraisal office is  fast approaching the time to send 2020 Appraisal Value Notices.  Texas appraisal districts are mandated to appraise as of January 1 and will go through the same “checks and balances” as in past years.  Texas school funding will still be reliant on timely establishing accurate market values.  Certified Appraisal Values will be sent to the taxing units by July 25.

“There is currently nothing in the property tax law to allow the current pandemic to factor into this year’s property tax appraisal valuation.  While we are all sympathetic to the situation we are facing, our hands are tied without the Governor’s help.  By not taking immediate action related to this year’s ad valorem appraisal process, the matter will only exacerbate an already serious time for Texans.  For questions concerning the appraisal district, please call 936-544-9655 or email [email protected]. Thank you and stay safe,” Minter stated.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].   

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