Ethics in Property Tax Administration

Each person registering with the state must sign a pledge to uphold a Code of
Ethics. The following are specific ethics requirements found in the Texas Administrative
Code (TAC).
Improper Influences (Sec. 628.3)
This section bars any person registered with TDLR from accepting any benefit in
return for favorable treatment. The section applies to decisions regarding property
valuation, an exemption from taxation, or property tax collection. Further, a registrant
cannot accept any benefit with the understanding that he or she will testify
falsely or withhold information in an adjudication proceeding, or promise a benefit
to another to do so.
Conflicts of Interest (Sec. 628.4)
This section prohibits a registrant from engaging in activities that could result in
a conflict of interest. Specifically, a registrant cannot engage in any activity outside
of the appraisal or tax office that adversely affects the person’s impartiality in officially
assigned duties. For example, a registrant must disclose any financial interest
he or she possesses in any firm operating in the real estate industry. In addition,
a registrant may not invest in a property within the jurisdiction if it creates a conflict
of interest. Finally, a registrant may not serve as a tax agent, unless such service
focuses on properties not in the appraisal district or tax office that employs the
registrant.

Unfair Treatment and Discrimination (Sec. 628.5)
This section details when registrants provide unfair advantages to other persons.
For example, a registrant cannot provide information to any private party when the
information is not provided to everyone. In addition, a registrant cannot use different
appraisal techniques for similar properties to arbitrarily raise or lower appraised
values of particular properties. Further, a registrant may not use collection procedures
that discriminate to the advantage or disadvantage of any taxpayer. A registrant
also must not provide information on the delinquent tax status of any property
for a fee, except under a limited number of circumstances. Finally, a registrant may
not predetermine the value or value range of a property and then manipulate the
data to arrive at the predetermined value.
Abuse of Powers (Sec. 628.6)
This section prohibits acts where a registrant uses his or her power in an unethical
manner. For example, a registrant cannot use agency resources for personal
benefit. Further, in his or her capacity as a property tax professional, a registrant
may not endorse any services. Also, unless otherwise permitted by law, a registrant
cannot collect money from a private person or firm under the guise of official
action.
Use of Titles (Sec. 628.7)
This section bars the use of the titles Registered Professional Appraiser (RPA),
Registered Texas Collector/Assessor (RTA), or Registered Texas Collector (RTC)
unless the individual is an active, certified registrant with TDLR. Further, registrants
may only use the above titles in connection with official duties.