On Wednesday, March 24, the Texas Comptroller’s Office announced several important measures in response to the current conditions caused by COVID-19. The Comptroller’s Office has been preparing these measures for several weeks, particularly after Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster, applicable to all 254 counties, on March 13. These updated measures include:
- Suspension of the 60-day deadline to contest audit results. Under normal circumstances, taxpayers are required to submit a request for redetermination within sixty days of their issued assessment. The Comptroller is suspending this deadline and will waive interest accrued during this period. Taxpayers may still request a redetermination within the normal sixty day window if desired.
- Office Closure. The Comptroller’s Office has closed its Taxpayer Services and Collections field offices. Texas taxpayers are advised to use the Comptroller’s electronic system, Webfile, to make some payments. All Comptroller personnel continue to work remotely and the Comptroller’s Office has instituted an agency-wide telework policy.
- Motor Vehicle Tax Extension. The Comptroller has granted a temporary extension for the registration and titling of purchased vehicles. This extension may range up to ninety days. However, late penalties will be assessed if the last day of the extension is the original due date.
- Property Tax. The Comptroller has paused appraisal review board training and is considering possible options for upcoming appraisal review board hearings. Late spring and early summer are normally busy times for each county’s appraisal review board, whose hearings are the primary vehicle for taxpayers to contest their property tax assessment. If current conditions persist, the Comptroller may require the hearings to be held telephonically, as allowed under the Texas Tax Code.
- Unclaimed Property. The Comptroller has suspended its weekly unclaimed property auction until further notice.
It is important to note that Texas taxpayers are still responsible for collecting and remitting sales tax as usual. As of the date of this post, the Comptroller has not delayed those deadlines, likely because sales tax is such an important source of revenue for the state. However, the Comptroller is offering relief in the form of short-term payment agreements and, in most instances, waivers of penalty and interest.
The Comptroller’s announcement can be read in full here.
Contact the Authors: Stephen Long and Jimmy Lucas