William J. Sonne v. Harris County Appraisal District, No. 01-12-00749-CV (First Court of Appeals—Houston) 
(June 26, 2014)


This memorandum opinion upheld the dismissal of the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction due to the property owner’s failure to tender taxes for the years in dispute (2009 and 2010). The property owner claimed that governmental and administrative restrictions on his property made it worthless and therefore no taxes should be due. The Court upheld the jurisdictional nature of Tax Code Section 42.08, as well as its constitutionality. In response to the property owner’s argument that because the property was worthless the amount of taxes not in dispute would be zero, the Court opined: “Subsection 42.08(b)(1), however, only applies when the property owner ‘elects to pay the amount of taxes described by Subsection (b)(1)’ and the property owner’s suit for judicial review is ‘accompanied by a statement in writing of the amount of taxes the property owner proposes to pay’ before the delinquency date, as allowed by subsection 42.08(b)(1). If he does not make the election, the property owner will be required to pay the full amount of taxes unless he substantially complies with section 42.08 pursuant to subsection 42.08(d). If he does neither, the property owner forfeits his right to judicial review.”