Update: Commercial Property Tax
Appraisal Lawsuits Appealed in September 2022
By Lee D. Winston | October 10, 2022
For the month of September, there was one commercial property tax appraisal lawsuit appealed from district court. There was one other commercial property tax lawsuit appealed but it does not appear to deal with core property tax appraisal issues such as qualifications for exemptions or application of appraisal methodologies.
ECW Investments, LLC v. Tarrant Appraisal District, No. 02-22-00374-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth)
Increasing your value and testifying as a tax consultant without an active appraisal license or certification
The ECW Investments appeal is from a final judgment increasing a Tarrant County medical office building’s value for the 2019 and 2020 tax years. The appeal concerns, among other issues, whether a previously licensed appraiser and current property tax consultant may offer valuation testimony in a Chapter 42 property tax lawsuit. It also concerns whether an appraisal district is entitled to seek affirmative relief increasing the value of a property without its chief appraiser exhausting its remedies for a claim under Section 42.02 of the Texas Property Tax Code.
In trial court, Tarrant Appraisal District (“TAD”) filed a motion to exclude the taxpayer’s opinion of value because — the person offering the opinion was not currently licensed or certified as an appraiser under Chapter 1103 of the Texas Occupations Code and that person’s methodologies did not conform to generally accepted appraisal methods and techniques. The district court granted TAD’s motion, and TAD subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment to increase the property’s valuation from $1,902,313 to $2,125,000 for the 2019 tax year and from $2,183,007 to $2,250,000 for the 2020 tax year.
Prior to the district court’s hearing on TAD’s motion for summary judgment, the taxpayer filed a motion to nonsuit all of its own claims. The district court did not expressly rule on the taxpayer’s motion to nonsuit and granted TAD’s motion for summary judgment increasing the value for the 2019 and 2020 tax years.
In response, the taxpayer filed a plea to the jurisdiction arguing the district court did not have jurisdiction to increase the values because TAD’s chief appraiser did not exhaust its remedies for a claim under Section 42.02 of the Texas Property Tax Code. The 352nd Judicial District Court denied the taxpayer’s motion.
The taxpayer appealed on September 27, 2022 in the 2nd Court of Appeals, Fort Worth.
Importance to you: This case is important for property tax consultants and their clients who need clarification on the authority of an appraisal district to increase the value of their property in response to their current or future district court lawsuit challenging the equal and uniform and market value. It is also important for property tax consultants and their clients who have engaged, or are considering engaging, a person not currently licensed or certified as an appraiser to provide valuation testimony in a Chapter 42 property tax lawsuit.
To follow this appeal, click the following link (or copy and paste): https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=02-22-00374-CV&coa=coa02.
Midcoast G&P (Oklahoma) L.P., Midcoast Pipelines (Texas Gathering) L.P., and Midcoast Pipelines (Texas Liquids) L.P. v. Hemphill County Appraisal District, 07-22-00258-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo) (This appeal concerns the conduct of both a jury and the Hemphill County Appraisal District’s attorneys during a jury trial concerning the valuation of over 700 miles of pipeline and additional property located in Hemphill County. The taxpayer appealed on August 31, 2022, and the appellate case began on September 9, 2022, in the 7th Court of Appeals, Amarillo.).
 To review the text of Chapter 1103 of the Texas Occupations Code, click the following link (or copy and paste): https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/OC/htm/OC.1103.htm.
 To review the text of Texas Property Tax Code Section 42.02, click the following link (or copy and paste): https://codes.findlaw.com/tx/tax-code/tax-sect-42-02.html.