Proposed Administrative Rules

Chapter 66. Registration of Property Tax Consultants
Proposal Filed: November 5, 2018 – Published in the Texas Register: November 16, 2018
Deadline for Public Comment: December 17, 2018

Underlined text is new language.

[ Strikethrough text ] is deleted language.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) proposes amendments to existing rules at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 66, §§66.10, 66.20, 66.21, 66.25, 66.70, and 66.80, regarding the Property Tax Consultants Program.

JUSTIFICATION AND EXPLANATION OF RULES

The proposed amendments are being implemented to be consistent with statutory language contained in Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1152. The Department published a Notice of Intent to Review its Property Tax Consultants Program rules as part of the four-year rule review required under Government Code §2001.039 in the December 26, 2014, issue of the Texas Register (39 TexReg 10483). These changes update references; clarify licensing and regulatory provisions; and address concerns during the initial comment period. The proposed amendments are necessary to complete Phase II of the Department’s rule review.

The Property Tax Consultants Advisory Council met on October 10, 2018 and recommended publishing the proposed rules in the Texas Register for public comment.

SECTION–BY–SECTION SUMMARY

The proposed amendments to §66.10 update language.

The proposed amendments to §66.20 make editorial corrections.

The proposed amendments to §66.21 update the review date for each educational program and course.

The proposed amendments to §66.25 update continuing education hours, instruction hours, certificate of course completion retention, and removes continuing education providers.

The proposed amendments to §66.70 update language.

The proposed amendments to §66.80 update fees.

FISCAL IMPACT ON STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Brian E. Francis, Executive Director, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendments are in effect, there are no estimated additional costs or reductions in costs to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendments.

Brian E. Francis, Executive Director, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendments are in effect, there will be a loss of revenue to the State as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendments.

The proposed amendments increase the license renewal fee from $75 to $135, however, the renewal fee will be paid once every two years instead of annually. For fiscal years one, two, and four the Department estimates an increase in revenue of $33,030, $28,699 and $24,859 respectively. However, in fiscal year three the Department estimates a loss in revenue of $50,348, and in fiscal year five a loss in revenue of $51, 248. The estimated loss and increase in revenue is a result of the timing of license renewals. A renewing licensee will, therefore, pay 10 percent less in fees every two years, and revenue to the State will also be reduced by approximately 10 percent over the long term.

The reduction in fees for private providers will not result in a loss of revenue, as no fees have previously been collected from them.

There is no estimated increase or loss in revenue to local governments as a result of the proposed amendments as local governments are not responsible for administering the state regulation of property tax consultants under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1152.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT STATEMENT

Mr. Francis has determined that the proposed amendments will not affect the local economy, so the agency is not required to prepare a local employment impact statement under Government Code §2001.022.

PUBLIC BENEFITS

Mr. Francis also has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed amendments are in effect, the public benefit will be changing from a one-year license to a two-year license. This would result in a reduction in the paperwork required of Property Tax Consultant licensees, as they would now renew their license every other year. Renewing licensees would pay 10 percent less in fees every two years, ultimately reducing the cost of business operations and passing savings onto to the consumer.

PROBABLE ECONOMIC COSTS TO PERSONS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH PROPOSAL

Mr. Francis has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed amendments are in effect, there are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the proposed amendments.

FISCAL IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES, MICRO-BUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES

There will be no adverse effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities as a result of the proposed amendments. Since the agency has determined that the proposed amendments will have no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities, preparation of an Economic Impact Statement and a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, as detailed under Texas Government Code §2006.002, are not required.

ONE-FOR-ONE REQUIREMENT FOR RULES WITH A FISCAL IMPACT

Under Government Code §2001.0045, a state agency may not adopt a proposed rule if the fiscal note states that the rule imposes a cost on regulated persons, including another state agency, a special district, or a local government, unless the state agency: (a) repeals a rule that imposes a total cost on regulated persons that is equal to or greater than the total cost imposed on regulated persons by the proposed rule; or (b) amends a rule to decrease the total cost imposed on regulated persons by an amount that is equal to or greater than the cost imposed on the persons by the proposed rule. There are exceptions for certain types of rules under §2001.0045(c).

The proposed amendments do not have a fiscal note that imposes a cost on regulated persons, including another state agency, a special district, or a local government. Therefore, the agency is not required to take any further action under Government Code §2001.0045.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT

Pursuant to Government Code §2001.0221, the agency provides the following Government Growth Impact Statement for the proposed rules. For each year of the first five years the proposed rules will be in effect, the agency has determined the following:

(1) The proposed amendments do not create or eliminate a government program.

(2) Implementation of the proposed amendments does not require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions.

(3) Implementation of the proposed amendments does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency.

(4) The proposed amendments do require an initial increase in fees paid to the agency due to extending the licensing term. However, fees paid to the agency will decrease by 10 percent each subsequent year.

(5) The proposed amendments do not create a new regulation.

(6) The proposed amendments do not expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation.

(7) The proposed amendments do not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rule's applicability.

(8) The proposed amendments do not positively or adversely affect this state's economy.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The Department has determined that no private real property interests are affected by this proposal and this proposal does not restrict, limit, or impose a burden on an owner’s rights to his or her private real property that would otherwise exist in the absence of government action. As a result, this proposal does not constitute a taking or require a takings impact assessment under Government Code §2007.043.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Ana Villarreal, Legal Assistant, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711, or facsimile (512) 475-3032, or electronically: erule.comments@tdlr.texas.gov. The deadline for comments is 30 days after publication in the Texas Register.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are proposed under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1152, which authorize the Commission, the Department’s governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.

The statutory provisions affected by the proposal are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1152. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the proposal.

§66.10. Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) (No change.)

(2) Private Provider--An educational institution that is established, conducted, and primarily supported by a nongovernmental person, [ as defined by Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1152 ,] which meets program and accreditation standards comparable to public institutions of higher education as determined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and which offers an educational program or course for pre-registration credit or for upgrade credit towards a senior property tax consultant registration. The term does not include a continuing education provider as defined in Chapter 59 of this title.

(3) - (5) (No change.)

§66.20. Registration Requirements.

(a) (No change.)

(b) An applicant for a senior property tax consultant registration must pass a department-approved examination for senior property tax consultants. The standard for passing the senior property tax consultant examination shall be a score of at least 70 percent [ % ].

(c) An applicant for a property tax consultant registration must pass a department-approved examination for property tax consultants. The standard for passing the property tax consultant examination shall be a score of at least 70 percent [ % ].

(d) (No change.)

§66.21. Pre-registration and Upgrade Education.

(a) - (d) (No change.)

(e) Each educational program or course shall be reviewed in even-numbered years [ annually ].

(f) (No change.)

§66.25. Continuing Education.

(a) Terms used in this section have the meanings assigned by Chapter 59 of this title, unless the context indicates otherwise.

(b) A registrant holding a certificate of registration pursuant to Texas Occupations Code 1152.201 must complete 12 hours of continuing education described in subsection (c)(1)-(4) within the term of the current registration.

(c) [ (b) ] To renew a registration expiring prior to May 1, 2019, a registrant must complete 12 hours of continuing education in courses approved or recognized by the department. Except as provided in Texas Occupations Code, §1152.204(b), the continuing education hours must include the following:

(1) three hours of instruction in Texas state law and rules that regulate the conduct of registrants;

(2) one hour of instruction in ethics;

(3) four hours of instruction in appraisal; and

(4) four hours of instruction in property tax consulting.

(d) To renew a registration expiring on or after May 1, 2019, a registrant must complete 24 hours of continuing education in courses approved or recognized by the department. Except as provided in Texas Occupations Code, §1152.204(b), the continuing education hours must include the following:

(1) six hours of instruction in Texas state law and rules that regulate the conduct of registrants;

(2) two hours of instruction in ethics;

(3) eight hours of instruction in appraisal; and

(4) eight hours of instruction in property tax consulting.

(e) [ (c) ] The continuing education hours must have been completed within the term of the current registration, in the case of a timely renewal. For a late renewal, the continuing education hours must have been completed within the two [ one ] year period immediately prior to the date of renewal.

(f ) [ (d) ] A registrant may not receive continuing education credit for attending the same course more than once during the two-year [ one-year ] period for which the course is approved.

(g) [ (e) ] A registrant shall retain a copy of the certificate of completion for a course for two years [ one year ] after the date of completion. In conducting any inspection or investigation of the registrant, the department may examine the registrant’s records to determine compliance with this subsection.

(h) [ (f) ] To be approved under Chapter 59 of this title, a continuing education provider's course must be dedicated to instruction in one or more of the topics listed in subsection (b) of this section, and the continuing education provider must be registered under Chapter 59 of this title.

(i) [ (g) ] A continuing education course recognized by the department under Texas Occupations Code, §1152.204(b) is not required to be approved under Chapter 59 of this title, and the provider of such a course is not required to be registered under Chapter 59 of this title.

[( h) Except as provided in subsection (i) of this section, this section shall apply to continuing education providers and courses for registrants upon the effective date of this section. ]

[ (i) A continuing education provider that was approved by the department before the effective date of this section may continue to offer for credit continuing education courses that were approved by the department before the effective date of this section, until December 31, 2006. ]

§66.70. Responsibilities of Registrant--General.

(a) - (c) (No change.)

(d) Individuals who are registered under Texas Occupations Code, §1152.158 may not perform property tax consulting services for compensation in connection with personal [ a property that is not real ] property.

(e) - (g) (No change.)

§66.80. Fees.

(a) - (d) (No change.)

(e) The fee for the timely renewal of a property tax consultant’s, senior property tax consultant’s and real estate property tax consultant’s registration is $135 [ $75 ].

(f) - (g) (No change.)

(h) The [ non-refundable application ] fee for recognition as a private provider is $0 [ $125 ].

(i) A [ In addition to the application fee, a ] private provider shall pay no [ an ] annual fee [o f $75, which shall be refunded if the department does not recognize the private provider’s educational program or course ].

REVIEW BY AGENCY COUNSEL

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be a valid exercise of the agency’s legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, on November 5, 2018.


Brian E. Francis
Executive Director
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation