Update: 13th Court of Appeals Holds the Three Year Deadline to File a Property Tax Refund Application Under Section 31.11 Can Only Be Extended by a Governing Body of a Taxing Unit.
By Lee Winston | April 21, 2023
Sundial Owner’s Association, Inc. v. Nueces County, No. 13-21-00069-CV, 2023 WL 2414898 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi–Edinburg March 9, 2023 no pet. h.)
If you or your client is entitled to a property tax refund, make sure a timely application is filed! Don’t take it from us, take it from the 13th Court of Appeals’ holding in in Sundial Owner’s Association, Inc. v. Nueces County, No. 13-21-00069-CV, 2023 WL 2414898 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi–Edinburg March 9, 2023 no pet. h.).
In Sundial, the 13th Court of appeals fully recognized that a property tax refund application for an excessive/erroneous payment must be filed within three years from the date of payment. Full stop. And that there is only one, short exception — the governing body of the taxing unit may extend the deadline for a maximum of two years on a showing of good cause.
In this case, Sundial did not file a refund application within three years and did not receive an extension from a governing body for any taxing unit involved. Sundial argued that it was not required to seek an extension because it had good cause (without much explanation). The 13th Court of Appeals disagreed after a simple read of the statute controlling refunds on excessive/erroneous payments. Tex. Tax Code § 31.11.
The court found the statute clear and that “only the ‘governing body of taxing unit’ may grant an extension.” Meaning, the deadline is three years from payment, unless a governing body has granted an extension. No exceptions. Arguing you have good cause to extend the three-year deadline or asking a court to grant an extension is ineffective under Section 31.11 of the Texas Tax Code. This case is a great reminder. If you or your client are entitled to a refund, don’t put it off!
Tex. Tax Code § 31.11(c), (c-1):
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (c-1), an application for a refund must be made within three years after the date of the payment or the taxpayer waives the right to the refund.
(c-1) The governing body of the taxing unit may extend the deadline provided by Subsection (c) for a single period not to exceed two years on a showing of good cause by the taxpayer.
To review this case’s appellate history and status, click the following link (or copy and paste): https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=13-21-00069-CV&coa=coa13.
Key Sections of Texas Property Tax Code:
§ 31.11, Refunds of Overpayments or Erroneous Payments
 This case also concerns the interpretation of the term erroneous payment under Section 31.11 of the Texas Tax Code. The court held that a payment cannot be erroneous if the payment was voluntary and performed by a person with apparent agent authority to do so.
 Sundial filed a refund application for tax years 2010 and 2011 on December 2015. Sundial paid taxes for tax year 2010 on January 21, 2011, and paid taxes for tax year 2011 on January 31, 2012.