By Haggerty H.B. No. 2496
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to certain suits instituted under the Property Tax Code
1-3 and to the award of court costs and attorneys fees in certain suits
1-4 and appeals instituted under that code.
1-5 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-6 SECTION 1. Section 42.29, Tax Code, is amended to read as
1-8 Sec. 42.29. ATTORNEY'S FEES. (a) A property owner who
1-9 prevails in an appeal to the court under Section 42.25 or 42.26
1-10 shall [
may] be awarded reasonable attorney's fees. The amount of
1-11 the award may not exceed the greater of:
1-12 (1) $15,000; or
1-13 (2) 20 percent of the total amount by which the
1-14 property owner's tax liability is reduced as a result of the
1-16 (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the amount of an award
1-17 of attorney's fees under Subsection (a) may not exceed [ the lesser
1-19 [ (1)] $100,000[ ; or]
1-20 [ (2) the total amount by which the property owner's
1-21 tax liability is reduced as a result of the appeal].
1-22 SECTION 2. Section 43.01, Tax Code, is amended to read as
1-24 Sec. 43.01. AUTHORITY TO BRING SUIT. (a) The following
2-1 persons [ A taxing unit] may sue the appropriate appraisal district
2-2 or the appraisal review board established for that appraisal
2-3 district [ that appraises property for the unit] to compel the
2-4 appraisal district or appraisal review board to comply with the
2-5 provisions of this title, rules of the comptroller, or other
2-6 applicable law:
2-7 (1) a taxing unit;
2-8 (2) a property owner;
2-9 (3) a lessee of property who is contractually
2-10 obligated to pay taxes imposed on the property;
2-11 (4) an agent of a property owner designated under
2-12 Section 1.111; or
2-13 (5) any other person authorized to bring an action on
2-14 behalf of a person listed in Subdivisions (1)-(4).
2-15 (b) The court shall award court costs and reasonable
2-16 attorney's fees to a plaintiff who prevails in a suit brought under
2-17 this section.
2-18 SECTION 3. (a) This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.
2-19 (b) The changes in law to Section 42.29, Tax Code, made by
2-20 this Act apply only to an appeal under Chapter 42, Tax Code, that
2-21 is filed on or after the effective date of this Act. An appeal
2-22 filed under Chapter 42, Tax Code, before the effective date of this
2-23 Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the appeal was
2-24 filed, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
2-25 (c) The changes in law to Section 43.01, Tax Code, made by
2-26 this Act apply only to a suit that is filed under that section on
2-27 or after the effective date of this Act. A suit filed under
3-1 Section 43.01, Tax Code, before the effective date of this Act is
3-2 governed by the law in effect on the date the suit was filed, and
3-3 the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
3-4 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT NO. 1
3-5 Amend H.B. No. 2496 as follows:
3-6 (1) On page 1, line 10, strike "shall [ may]" and substitute
3-8 (2) On page 2, at the end of line 7, add "or".
3-9 (3) On page 2, line 8, strike the semicolon and substitute
3-11 (4) On page 2, strike lines 9-14.
3-12 (5) On page 2, line 15, strike "shall" and substitute "may".