Property Tax Relief in House Bill 861

September 30, 2020

While Texans are battling the unprecedented health and economic impacts of COVID-19, many property owners received an unwelcome surprise this tax year—rising property taxes. For the many businesses struggling to pay employees and remain open, rising property taxes could be a fatal blow. While appraisal districts, by and large, are refusing to consider the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on property valuations for Tax Year 2020, a bill passed by the Texas House in 2019 provides a different avenue for relief.

many property owners received an unwelcome surprise this tax year—rising property taxes.
House Bill 861 authorizes a property owner to pay taxes on only the undisputed value of the property and the owner will not owe penalties and interest if the final litigated value is higher than this undisputed value.1 For instance, if a taxpayer has a property initially assessed by the appraisal district at $3,000,000, but the value of the property should be $2,000,000, a taxpayer is only statutorily required to pay the taxes on this undisputed amount.2 If the lawsuit against the appraisal district is later finalized at a higher value of $2,500,000, there would be a supplemental bill issued for the taxes due on this additional $500,000 of value. This supplemental bill has its own delinquency date that is not related to the original tax bill and does not contain penalties and interest.

It is important to note that if the additional tax is not paid by the delinquency date on the supplemental bill, the property owner is liable for penalties and interest. These penalties and interest are calculated as if the tax bill became delinquent on the original delinquency date of the original tax bill. Therefore, if the supplemental taxes are not paid timely, the benefits gained from House Bill 861 are lost entirely.

A property owner needs to consider his or her unique circumstances when determining whether to pay the full amount of taxes due or only pay taxes on the undisputed amount. The attorneys at Ryan Law Firm can help you make this determination.

Ryan Law Firm is prepared to advise and aggressively represent Texans to minimize their property tax burdens. If you have questions regarding House Bill 861 or have any other property tax needs you would like to discuss, please contact us at 972-250-6363 or visit our website at


  1. 1 HB861 has been codified as Tex. Tax Code Ann. §42.42(b)
  2. 2 Tex. Tax Code Ann. §42.08(b)(1)