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Appraisal district suspends in-person hearings

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Meeting by videoconference Wednesday, the board of directors of the Travis Central Appraisal District approved a request from Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler to suspend all face-to-face meetings between appraisers and protesting taxpayers. Like many other governmental agencies, TCAD bowed to the requirements of Gov. Greg Abbott’s declaration of a statewide public health disaster in order to protect employees and the public from COVID-19. Asked whether the board had approved Crigler’s request, Board Member Blanca Zamora Garcia said, “Yes, we did. We don’t have any choice at this point.” Taxpayers will be able to have hearings on their property values either over the phone or via internet. TCAD was embroiled in lawsuits last year for failing to schedule hearings on a timely basis. But because of the coronavirus, the office is closed to all in-person interactions. Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant, a member of the TCAD board, told the Austin Monitor that as soon as the public health emergency is over he was confident the agency will return to its normal ways of doing business. Crigler also announced Wednesday that Travis County residents who need to file what is called a rendition will have until May 15. The normal filing date is April 15, but because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus, Crigler extended the deadline for filing the reports, which describe personal property used for business purposes.

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