Relief from Property Taxes Available for Properties Damaged in Protests

July 2, 2020

Certain taxpayers in Texas have suffered physical damage to property as a result of recent and ongoing protests.

As property owners begin to repair their damaged businesses, buildings, and personal property, they should be aware that the harm to their property likely qualifies them for a reduction in property taxes. Under the newly enacted Texas Tax Code § 11.35, taxpayers who have suffered damage to their property in an event declared by the Texas Governor to be a disaster may benefit from a temporary exemption from property taxes. On May 31, 2020, this provision was enacted when Governor Greg Abbott declared all of Texas to be in a state of disaster in response to the widespread protests.

The exemption is allowed for property that has suffered at least 15% damage…
The exemption is allowed for property that has suffered at least 15% damage, in proportion to the number of property tax liabilities. Thus, to the extent that property has been damaged in the protests, the tax benefits to property owners could be significant.

Importantly, Tex. Tax Code § 11.35 is new, so how courts will interpret it is uncertain. However, given the text of the statute and any clear physical damage to property that has occurred, relief is likely available. Ryan Law Firm is prepared to advise property owners in tax matters as they navigate the difficult path of rebuilding their properties and businesses and stands ready to advocate vigorously to secure the best outcome for our clients.

For more information, please contact:

Doug Sigel
Practice Group Leader, Sales & Use and Income Tax