84(R) - 2015
House Ways & Means
House Ways & Means
Relating to the eligibility of persons to participate in an ad valorem tax sale of real property; creating a criminal offense; authorizing a fee.
A fiscal note dated May 20, 2015 anticipates no fiscal implication to the State or units of local government.
House Bill 3951 is a bracketed bill which would amend Subchapter A, Chapter 34 of the Tax Code relating to Tax Sales to allow certain county commissioners courts to require that to be eligible to bid at a sale of real property under Chapter 34, a person would have to be registered as a bidder with the county assessor-collector before the sale begins.
The county assessor-collector would be able to require a person registering as a bidder to provide personal contact information and verification of identification; written proof of authority to bid on behalf of another person, if applicable; any other information required by the county assessor-collector; and to at least annually execute a statement on a form provided by the county assessor-collector certifying that there are no delinquent ad valorem taxes owed by the person registering as a bidder to the county or to any taxing unit having territory in the county.
The county assessor-collector would then issue a written registration statement to the bidder that would be required to be issued before a sale begins.
House Bill 3951 would amend Section 34.0445 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code relating to persons eligible to purchase real property to add the requirement that in cases such as the above, an officer conducting a sale may not execute or deliver the deed to the purchaser without the purchaser exhibiting the proper written registration statement. This section stipulates that a person who knowingly violates the section commits a Class B misdemeanor offense.
Vote Recommendation Notes
Update: This bill page has been updated to reflect a neutral position. After consultation with the author's office our original objection is satisfied. This bill does not create a new Class B misdemeanor but rather makes a modification to an existing Class B misdemeanor. Ultimately this is a procedural bill that does not affect our liberty principles and we remain neutral.
House Bill 3951 aims at making the law apply uniformly and more consistently regarding the qualifications of bidders in auctions of delinquent real property.
According to the statement of intent for the bill, current law already prohibits the officer conducting the tax sale from executing or delivering a deed to the purchaser unless the purchaser exhibits to the officer an unexpired written statement issued by the county assessor-collector showing that the purchaser owes no delinquent taxes to the county, any school district, or any municipality within the county. Nevertheless, the bidder registration process is voluntary in some cases, making it difficult for an officer to verify the required qualifications of a bidder. H.B. 3951 would allow all counties the authority to require bidders register in advance to ensure that bidders are qualified and that the tax sales could be completed.
Since bidders are currently required certain qualifications by law to be able to participate in and complete tax sales, House Bill 3951 would allow commissioners courts to make sure they can complete sales with all bidders that participate in those sales. This would help to prevent a winning bidder from later being found to be ineligible due to delinquent taxes and consequently voiding the auction which causes unnecessary delay and rescheduling.
The second chamber sponsor is Senator Paul Bettencourt.