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Texas Legislative Update | May 13, 2019

by DMA Staff | May 13, 2019
DMA Texas Legislative Update May 13, 2019

Sales Tax | Boat and Boat Motor Tax | Cigarette Tax and Other Tobacco Tax | Franchise Tax
Hotel Tax | Miscellaneous Tax | Mixed Beverage Tax | Motor Fuel Tax | Motor Vehicle Sales Tax
Property Tax | Property Tax - Abatement | Severance Tax | Unclaimed Property

DMA - DuCharme, McMillen & Associates, Inc. provides this Texas Legislative Update relating to the 86th Texas Legislature Regular Session.

The House passed HB 3 (Huberty, Dan), the school finance bill, with the intent of increasing the state sales tax rate to fund a portion of the property tax relief. Soon thereafter, Representative Huberty offered committee substitutes to the House Ways & Means Committee for HB 4621 and HJR 3 that would increase the state sales tax rate from 6.25% to 7.25% and that would allocate the revenue from the rate increase to the property tax relief fund, subject to voter approval of the proposed constitutional amendment in November 2019. Both bills were voted out by the House Ways & Means Committee and scheduled for consideration by the House on May 7, 2019. During the same time, the Senate amended HB 3 to remove the link to the sales tax increase and proposed alternative funding sources, which consist of diverting severance taxes that would have otherwise been deposited into the Rainy Day Fund to a new fund called the Tax Reduction and Excellence in Education (TREE), allocating sales tax revenue to be collected from the Comptroller’s Wayfair bills (HB 1525 and HB 2153), and appropriating money from general revenue. The Senate’s removal reflects the concerns or unease that many legislators have about the sales tax increase despite the publicly announced support for it by Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Speaker Bonnen in return for property tax relief. The day following the Senate’s passage of HB 3, as amended, HB 4621 and HJR 3 came up on the House calendar, and Representative Huberty postponed the consideration of the bills to January 2021 (next legislative session), which was a mechanism to declare the death of those bills.

The differences between the House version and the Senate version of HB 3 will have to be worked out in a conference committee. Likewise, the differences between the House version and the Senate version of SB 2 will have to resolved by a conference committee. HB 3, as passed by the Senate, is contingent on the passage of SB 2, and SB 2, as passed by the House, is contingent on the passage of HB 3. The conferees will be motivated to reach some consensus if the legislators want to achieve their stated legislative priorities for this session, which were school finance reform and property tax reform.

The House’s deadline for house committees to report house bills and house joint resolutions expired on May 6, and the deadline for consideration of house bills and house joint resolution on second reading expired on May 9. House bills that did not meet those deadlines are legislatively dead. All house committees must report on senate bills by May 18, 2019, which means senate bills that have not been heard by a senate committee or that are still pending in a senate committee are practically dead because of the time constraints imposed by the House’s deadline. Legislators with dead or dying bills may try to revive their proposals by offering amendments to moving bills, but amendments to a bill must be germane to the bill’s caption as mandated by the Texas Constitution.

At this late stage of the session, we will have to see the final versions to know what proposals within those bills remain, or have been dropped or added. Our next update will be issued after the current legislative session concludes on May 27, 2019, and we will provide detailed summaries of all tax bills that have passed.

MOVEMENT OF TAX BILLS

Below are tax bills that have been voted out of a committee or that have had other legislative action since DMA’s last update dated April 30, 2019. If you wish to review any of the bills that DMA has summarized, you can retrieve and access bills on Texas Legislature Online at https://capitol.texas.gov/.

Sales Tax

HB 1525 (Burrows, Dustin) would require a marketplace provider to collect taxes on taxable items sold through the marketplace provider’s platform. [Note: This is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals.] The bill was enrolled on May 10, 2019.

HB 1965 (Thompson, Senfronia) would provide that amusement services provided by certain nonprofit organizations continue to qualify as exempt amusement services if a nonprofit organization enters a contract with a non-qualifying entity to provide a touring Broadway production under certain circumstances. The Senate Finance Committee voted out the bill on May 7, 2019, and recommended it for the Local and Uncontested Calendar.

HB 2153 (Burrows, Dustin) would permit remote sellers that do not have physical presence in Texas but that are engaged in doing business in the state to collect use tax based on a single local use tax rate in lieu of the current combined local use tax rates. The Comptroller would determine the single local use tax rate effective in a calendar year by computing the estimated average rate of local sales and use taxes imposed in Texas during the preceding state fiscal year. [Note: This is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals.] The bill was enrolled on May 5, 2019, and sent to the Governor on May 6, 2019. 

HB 2358 (Guillen, Ryan) would permit a retailer to directly or indirectly advertise, hold out, or state to a customer or the public that the retailer will pay the tax if the retailer: (1) advertises, holds out, or states that the retailer is paying the tax for the customer; (2) does not represent that the sale is exempt or excluded from taxation; and (3) includes the separately-stated tax amount on the receipt or other documents given to the customer with a statement that the tax will be paid by the retailer. The bill would hold such retailers liable for tax, penalty and interest. The House engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019, and the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear the bill on May 13, 2019.

HB 2684 (Metcalf, Will) would exempt taxable items sold by a nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal income tax under IRC §501(c)(3) at a county fair if the purchaser is a person attending or participating in the fair. The Senate Finance Committee voted out the bill on May 7, 2019, and recommended it for the Local and Uncontested Calendar.

HB 3086 (Cole, Sheryl) would amend Tax Code §151.3185 to require an audio recording be an audio master recording to qualify for the exemption and would require the exhibition required by the statute be for consideration. [Note: This bill is one of the Comptroller's legislative proposals.] The Senate Finance Committee voted out the bill on May 7, 2019, and recommended it for the Local and Uncontested Calendar.

HB 3386 (Geren, Charlie) would amend Tax Code §151.3101 by providing that the exclusivity test for the exemption provided to a nonprofit corporation would be met if an amusement service is provided at a venue that is principally used by rodeos, livestock shows, equestrian events, agricultural expositions, county fairs, or similar events. The House engrossed the bill on May 5, 2019, and the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear the bill on May 13, 2019.

SB 941 (Johnson, Nathan) would amend Tax Code §327.007 to provide a city with a population of less than 50,000 that includes a portion of an international airport and that is located in only two counties, one of which has a population of 2.2 million or more and is adjacent to a county with a population of more than 600,000, and that imposes a city sales/use tax, with the option to renew the local sales/use tax for maintenance and repair of city streets for a 10-year period (instead of four years) at an election to be held before the expiration of the current tax. [Note: This bill currently would apply to the City of Coppell.] The Senate engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019.

SB 1525 (Watson, Kirk) proposes, among others, the following changes: (1) amend Tax Code §151.006 to clarify the sale for resale definition; and (2) amend Tax Code §151.338 to exempt separately-stated labor charges to repair, remodel, maintain, or restore tangible personal property when such services are required by statute, ordinance, order, rule or regulation of any commission, agency, court, or political, governmental, or quasi-governmental entity in order to protect the environment or to conserve energy. The bill provides that the changes are a “clarification of existing law”. [Note: The bill is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals.] The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 2, 2019 .
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Boat and Boat Motor Tax

HB 4032 (Guillen, Ryan) proposes the following: (1) amend Tax Code §160.001 to change the definition of taxable boat from a vessel not more than 65 feet in length to a vessel not more than 115 feet in length; (2) exempt a boat or boat motor that is sold in Texas for use in another state or nation if it is removed within 10 days of the date of purchase or if the boat or boat motor is docked at or placed in a boat repair facility within 10 days of the date of purchase for repair or modification and is removed from Texas within 20 days after the completion of the repairs or modifications; (3) exempt a boat or boat motor from sales/use tax if it is removed from Texas within 90 days of the date of purchase or is removed from Texas within 90 days of the date of entry into Texas as long as the prescribed temporary permit is displayed while the boat or boat motor is in Texas; and (4) limit a tax that may be imposed on a taxable boat or motor to not more than $18,750. The House engrossed the bill on May 9, 2019. 
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Cigarette Tax and Other Tobacco Tax

HB 4614 (Guillen, Ryan) would modify the tax imposition provided by Chapter 154 (Cigarette Tax) from the first sale in intrastate commerce to the first intrastate or interstate sale with certain exclusions. The House engrossed the bill on May 4, 2019, and the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear the bill on May 13, 2019. [Note: This is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals]. 
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Franchise Tax

HB 1607 (Goldman, Craig) would allow a taxable entity that is a party to at least one contract subject to the requirements of 48 CFR, Chapter 2, to deduct from margin the costs allowable under Federal Acquisition Regulations for contracts, or subcontracts supporting those contracts, for the sale of goods or services to the federal government. The House engrossed the bill on May 9, 2019.

HB 2545 (Guillen, Ryan) would allow a taxable entity that operates a desalination facility and holds the necessary state and federal permits to operate such a facility to exclude from its total revenue any amount received from the sale of minerals or materials extracted from water by the desalination facility during the desalination process. This provision would expire on December 31, 2024. The bill would allow the same taxable entity to claim a franchise tax credit for production of usable water based on the total dissolved solids concentrations in the treated water and contingent on the resulting fresh water being put to a beneficial use in Texas. The House engrossed the bill on May 4, 2019.

HB 2611 (Morrison, Geanie) would permit a limited liability company to qualify as a passive entity. The House engrossed the bill on April 30, 2019.

SB 1824 (Perry, Charles) would allow a taxable entity that is a performing rights society that licenses the public performance of nondramatic musical works on behalf of a copyright owner to exclude from total revenue payments made to the public performance rights holder and copyright owner for whom the taxable entity licenses the public performance. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019 .
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Hotel Occupancy Tax

HB 1633 (Kuempel, John) would amend Tax Code §352.002 to allow the commissioners court of a county with a population of not more than 50,000 and in which an annual peanut festival is held to impose a county hotel occupancy tax. The House engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019.

HB 1634 (Kuempel, John) would amend Tax Code §352.002 to allow the commissioners court of a county with a population of 110,000 or more through which the Guadalupe River flows to impose a county hotel occupancy tax. The House engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019.

HB 2272 (Guillen, Ryan) would amend Tax Code §352.003(b), which currently limits a county that does not have a city within it to a tax rate of 4%, by creating an exception for a county that borders three counties, each of which borders Mexico. The House engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019.

HB 3579 (Burrows, Dustin) would extend the 6% state tax rate to the price paid for a space in a hotel and clarify that the price of a room or space in a hotel includes certain specified charges. The bill would require a person who does not own, operate, manage, or control the hotel to collect tax if the person collects payment for a room or space in the hotel. However, a person who secures a room or space for another person is not required to collect tax if the person receives a commission from the hotel, separately states the amount charged to secure the room or space on an invoice, receipt or other similar document and has annual receipts for securing rooms or space in a hotel for others of $250,000 or less. [Note: This bill is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals.] The House engrossed the bill on May 9, 2019.

SB 1319 (Birdwell, Brian) would require a county that imposes hotel occupancy tax to file an annual report with the Comptroller providing certain information, such as the tax rate imposed and the amount of county hotel occupancy tax collected in the preceding fiscal year. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill and reported it favorably on May 7, 2019
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Miscellaneous Tax

HB 1543 (Springer, Drew) would require manufacturers of off-highway vehicles to report warranties provided to vehicles sold by non-Texas retailers to Texas residents to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and would require the Comptroller to review the reports for use tax assessment purposes. The House engrossed the bill on April 30, 2019.

HB 2263 (Paddie, Chris) would provide that miscellaneous gross receipts tax may not be imposed on the gross receipts from the sale of electricity to a public school district customer. The bill was enrolled on May 3, 2019, and sent to the Governor on May 6, 2019.

HB 2675 (Geren, Charlie) would repeal the current requirement that the Comptroller is to suspend the oil-field cleanup regulatory fee imposed on crude petroleum and gas produced in Texas when the fund accounts exceed $30 million. The bill was enrolled on May 3, 2019, and sent to the Governor on May 6, 2019.

HB 3118 (Schaefer, Matt) would add Transportation Code §501.0301 to provide that a county-tax assessor may not issue a title receipt for an all-terrain vehicle or recreational off-highway vehicle that is purchased from an out-of-state retailer and that is designated to be a model year that is not more than one year old unless the applicant certifies that Texas use tax has been paid to the Comptroller. The House engrossed the bill on May 2, 2019.

HB 3754 (Burrows, Dustin) would amend Alcoholic Beverage Code §11.38 to allow a city, town or county to enter into a contract with third parties for the collection of an unpaid permit fee that is more than 60 days past due and would allow a third-party vendor to assess a collection charge. The House engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019 .
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Mixed Beverage Tax

HB 3006 (Burrows, Dustin) would require a permittee to file a mixed beverage sales tax return by no later than the 20th day of each month and would provide that if tax is due for a business day that falls in two different months, then the permittee should allocate tax to the month in which the business day begins. [Note: This bill is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals.] The House engrossed the bill on April 30, 2019. 
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Motor Fuel Tax

HB 791 (Huberty, Dan) would add a definition of "volunteer fire department" to apply to the current exemption for fuel sold to a volunteer fire department for the department’s exclusive use. The bill was enrolled on May 10, 2019.

HB 3954 (Burrows, Dustin) would impose tax on gasoline or diesel fuel sold from a marine vessel in Texas to a person who does not hold certain licenses and would require the seller to collect and remit the tax on the fuel. The Senate Finance Committee voted out the bill on May 7, 2019, and recommended it for the Local and Uncontested Calendar .
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Motor Vehicle Sales Tax

HB 2872 (Burrows, Dustin) would amend Chapter 152, Tax Code, to require a marketplace rental provider to collect motor vehicle rental receipts tax on motor vehicles that are provided or advertised for rental by others. [Note: This bill is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals.] The House engrossed the bill on May 8, 2019.
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Property Tax

HB 97 (Rodriguez, Eddie) proposes the following: (1) amend the definition of “qualified open-space land” to provide that land that is used principally as an ecological laboratory by a public or private college or university must have used it principally in that manner for five of the preceding seven years; (2) require a chief appraiser to distinguish between the degree of intensity required for various agricultural production methods; and (3) classify the production of fruits and vegetables as an agricultural use for qualified open-space land purposes. The House engrossed the bill on May 1, 2019. HB 639 (Springer, Drew) would make the same change to the definition of “qualified open-space land”. The House engrossed the bill on May 4, 2019, and the Senate Property Tax Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

HB 297 (Murr, Andrew) would add Tax Code §26.035 to provide that, beginning January 1, 2022, a school district may not impose a tax for maintenance and operations (M&O tax). It would create a joint committee that would consider the effectiveness of increasing the rate or expanding the base of consumption taxes currently imposed by the state and provide a report to the legislature by November 1, 2020, that proposes a comprehensive plan and the legislation necessary to implement the plan. The House engrossed the bill on May 9, 2019.

HB 380 (Geren, Charlie) would permit a property owner to appeal an order of an appraisal review board (ARB) that it lacks jurisdiction to determine a protest or motion. The bill was enrolled on May 10, 2019.

HB 388 (Murphy, Jim) would provide an exemption for a portion of the real property that a person owns and leases to an open-enrollment charter school under specified conditions. The House engrossed the bill on May 9, 2019. HJR 31 that proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize the exemption did not meet the deadline, but SJR 74 (Creighton, Brandon) is on the Senate Calendar for May 13, 2019.

HB 634 (Buckley, Brad) would expand the definition of a “local government” that could qualify for the disabled veteran assistance payment to include a municipality with extraterritorial jurisdiction located within two miles of the boundary line of a U.S. military installation. The House engrossed the bill on May 8, 2019.

HB 827 (Rose, Toni) would expand the local option exemption for a structure or archeological site to include an improvement that is economically or physically necessary to support the continued use or existence of the structure or site, that is consistent with the architectural integrity of the structure or site, and that is located on the same parcel of land or an adjacent parcel. The House engrossed the bill on May 7, 2019.

HB 861 (Anchia, Rafael) would require a tax assessor to provide in the supplemental tax bill that is sent to a property owner after the final determination of appeals that penalty and interest will be due “if the additional tax is not paid by delinquency date for the additional tax”. The Senate Property Tax Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

HB 994 (Guillen, Ryan) would specify that the chief appraiser is entitled to a copy of the property owner’s affidavit rather than the current right to inspect it and would require the ARB and the chief appraiser to review the property owner’s evidence and arguments before the protest hearing. The Senate Property Tax Committee voted out a committee substitute on May 9, 2019.

HB 1060 (Bell, Cecil) would provide that a property owner does not have to enter into an agreement to be entitled to electronic delivery of a notice of protest hearing under Tax Code §41.46 and would amend Tax Code §41.46 to require an ARB to deliver the hearing notice by certified mail if the property owner requests in the notice of protest that the hearing notice be delivered by electronic mail. The Senate Property Tax Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

HB 1313 (King, Phil) would change an appraisal district’s burden of proof standard from “substantial” to “clear and convincing” when it wants to increase the appraised value of a property in the following tax year after the appraised value had been lowered as result of a protest or appeal. The House engrossed the bill on May 5, 2019, and the Senate Property Tax Committee heard the bill on May 9, 2019, but left it pending.

HB 1409 (Ashby, Trent) would amend provisions relating to timber land or restricted-use timber land to provide that land could continue to qualify as timber land or restricted-use land even if a portion of the land is used for certain specified activities as long the remainder of the land meets the eligibility requirement. The excepted activities are: (1) use for the production of timber or forest products, including use as a road, right-of-way, buffer area, or firebreak; (2) use as a right-of-way taken through eminent domain; or (3) use for oil and gas operations by a lessee. The bill was enrolled on May 2, 2019, and sent to the Governor on May 6, 2019.

HB 1526 (Bell, Cecil) would exempt a nursery stock weather protection unit, as defined by Agricultural Code §71.041, as an implement of husbandry. The House engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019, and the Senate Property Tax Committee heard the bill on May 9, 2019, but left it pending.

HB 1802 (Bohac, Dwayne) would change the deadline to appeal an appraisal review board’s order from 45 days to 60 days and would prohibit the Comptroller from rejecting an application for binding arbitration before it delivers a written notice of the defect in the application and allows the cure of the defect within 15 days. The bill was enrolled on May 3, 2019, and sent to the Governor on May 6, 2019.

HB 1815 (Sanford, Scott) would amend Tax Code §21.09 to change the deadline to file the allocation application from April 1 to May 1. The Senate Property Tax Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

HB 1883 (Bonnen, Greg) would make all persons who serve in the U.S. armed forces eligible to make payment on delinquent property tax without penalty if the payment is made at certain prescribed times. The House engrossed the bill on May 2, 2019.

HB 1885 (Bonnen, Greg) would provide that the governing body of a taxing unit may waive penalties and interest on a delinquent tax if the tax bill was delivered to a mortgagee of a property for which the mortgage does not require the owner to fund an escrow account, and the mortgagee failed to mail a copy of the bill, and the taxpayer paid the tax no later than the 21st day after the date the taxpayer knew or should have known of the delinquency. The House engrossed the bill on May 10, 2019.

HB 2441 (Wray, John) would provide that an eligible disabled person who is 65 or older may not receive both a disabled and an elderly residence homestead exemption from the same taxing unit in the same year but would be permitted to elect one if a taxing unit has adopted both. The House engrossed the bill on May 4, 2019; and the Senate Property Tax Committee heard the bill on May 9, 2019, but left it pending.

HB 2159 (Meyer, Morgan) would allow a late filed protest for both excessive market value and unequal appraisal if the value exceeds by more than one-third the correct appraised value. The House engrossed the bill on May 9, 2019.

HB 2859 (Capriglione, Giovanni) would exempt from ad valorem tax precious metal that a person owns and that is held in a precious metal depository in Texas, regardless of whether the precious metal is held or used by the person for the production of income. On May 4, 2019, the House engrossed the bill and HJR 94 (Capriglione, Giovanni), which proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize the exemption. The Senate Property Tax Committee heard the bills on May 9, 2019, and left them pending.

HB 3225 (Springer, Drew) would modify the penalty imposed on a motor vehicle dealer who fails to file or who fails to timely file a Dealer's Motor Vehicle Inventory Tax Statement from $500 to $100. The House engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019.

HB 3348 (Guillen, Ryan) would provide that an appraisal of land as agricultural land continues even if there is a temporary cessation of agricultural use because of a temporary quarantine imposed by the Texas Animal Health Commission in its regulation of handling livestock and eradicating ticks or exposure to ticks. The bill was enrolled on May 8, 2019, and sent to the Governor on May 10, 2019.

HB 3384 (Shine, Hugh) would provide that the Comptroller may conduct a limited-scope review in place of the full review of methodology, appraisal standard, and procedures if the appraisal district is in a county that has been declared in whole or in part by the governor to be a disaster area. The House engrossed the bill on May 9, 2019.

SB 58 (Zaffirini, Judith) would allow the owner of a leased motor vehicle to claim an exemption as a motor vehicle not used in the production of income if the motor vehicle is leased to this state or a political subdivision of this state. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out a committee substitute on May 9, 2019, which includes the exemption for a motor vehicle that is leased to an IRC §501(c)(3) organization that uses it exclusively for exempt purposes and that could claim an exemption if it were to own the motor vehicle.

SB 129 (Hinojosa, Chuy) would expand the definition of first responders who are eligible for an exemption of the appraised value of a residence homestead to include: (1) a special agent of the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement; (2) a customs and border protection officer or border patrol agent of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection; or (3) an immigration enforcement agent or deportation officer of the Department of Homeland Security. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

SB 443 (Hancock, Kelly) would extend the current exemption for a residence homestead that is rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage for two years to five years if the property is located in an area declared to be a disaster area by the governor following a disaster and the residential structure is rendered uninhabitable or unusable as a result of that disaster. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 2, 2019.

SB 597 (Buckingham, Dawn) would prohibit an ARB from requiring a property owner to pay a fee in connection with a protest. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

SB 956 (Bettencourt, Paul) would permit the correction of an appraisal roll and related appraisal records for the current tax year and two preceding tax years for inaccuracy in the appraised value of the owner's tangible personal property that was the result of an error or omission in a rendition statement or property report filed but specifies certain exclusions. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 2, 2019.

SB 1006 (Bettencourt, Paul) would increase the threshold for exempting tangible personal property that is held or used for producing income from $500 to $2,500. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 2, 2019.

SB 1013 (Hughes, Bryan) would clarify the penalty for filing a late Freeport application. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

SB 1309 (Bettencourt, Paul) would prohibit a school district from employing a person to assess or collect the district's property taxes and would require the county assessor-collector to assess and collect taxes. The Senate engrossed the bill on May 2, 2019.

SB 1428 (Hancock, Kelly) would allow a property owner or the owner's agent who has filed a notice of protest to bring a lawsuit against an appraisal district, chief appraiser, or ARB to compel compliance with a procedural requirement imposed by the chapter or under a rule established by the ARB that is applicable to the protest. The Senate engrossed the bill on May 9, 2019.

SB 1772 (Bettencourt, Paul) would exempt a portion of the appraised value of tangible personal property used for producing income or an improvement to real property that is located in an area declared by the governor to be a disaster area. The House Ways & Means Committee reported favorably on the bill on May 7, 2019.

SB 1856 (Paxton, Angela) would provide that a collector or taxing unit is to pay a tax refund to the property owner who paid the tax and would exempt a portion of the appraised value of tangible personal property used for the production of income or an improvement to real property that is located in an area declared by the governor to be a disaster area. The House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

SB 1876 (Fallon, Pat) would provide that tracts of land that constitute the same economic unit should be considered contiguous regardless of the classification for purposes of binding arbitration. The Senate engrossed the bill on May 2, 2019, and the House Ways & Means Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.

SB 2101 (Birdwell, Brian) would allow the surviving spouse of a disabled person to receive a residence homestead limitation on the school district ad valorem taxes after the death of the disabled person. On May 8, 2019, the Senate engrossed the bill and SJR 67 (Birdwell, Brian), which proposes a constitutional amendment to authorize the limitation.
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Property Tax - Abatement

HB 3143 (Murphy, Jim) would require, among others, the following: (1) a taxing unit to hold a public hearing to adopt, amend, repeal or reauthorize guidelines and criteria for Chapter 312 agreements; (2) the chief appraiser to deliver the appraised value of the property that was the subject of the abatement agreement to the Comptroller for three years following the expiration of the abatement; and (3) to include a fiscal impact statement of the costs and benefits if the agreement provides for the creation of at least 25 new jobs. The Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee voted out the bill on May 9, 2019.
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Severance Tax

HB 2256 (Sanford, Scott) would amend Chapter 201, Tax Code, to: (1) allow a person who filed a producer's report or first purchaser's report for gas production tax to compute overpayment by use of selected marketing cost sampling (the use of a sample of marketing transactions to determine the percentage of gross receipts attributable to marketing costs) if the Comptroller approves the sampling method; (2) allow the same person to take a credit on one or more reports or file a refund claim; and (3) authorize managed audits. The House engrossed the bill on May 4, 2019, and the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled to hear the bill on May 13, 2019.

SB 925 (Flores, Pete) would amend Tax Code §§201.059 and 202.058 to provide that for purposes of qualifying a gas well, the production per well is determined by computing the average daily production from the well at the greater of the monthly production from the well reported to the Railroad Commission or the monthly production reported to the Comptroller on the producer's report. [Note: This bill is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals.] The bill was enrolled on May 6, 2019, and sent to the Governor on May 8, 2019 .
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Unclaimed Property

HB 3598 (Martinez Fischer, Trey) proposes, among others, the following: (1) require records be kept for 10 years from the later of the date on which the property is reportable or the date the report is filed; (2) require an affiliated group to file a combined report; and (3) provide that the Comptroller or the Attorney General may not examine records, reports, or delivery of property after the seventh anniversary of the date a person filed a property report unless the person filed a false or fraudulent property report with the intent to avoid delivery of property, failed to file a report, or a court grants a petition to compel the person to submit for an audit. [Note: This bill is one of the Comptroller’s legislative proposals.] The House engrossed the bill on May 3, 2019.
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