Twenty-three new Texas laws come into effect this Saturday. Enacted in the 87th Texas Legislative Session, the new laws affect property appraisals, third-party delivery services, law enforcement funding cuts, tax breaks for religious organizations and more.
Here’s a look at the new Texas laws that come into effect on January 1:
Third-party delivery apps: Senate Bill 911 concerns “the regulation of restaurants and third-party food delivery services, including the issuance of certain alcoholic beverage certificates to restaurants.”
The measure prohibits third-party delivery services from charging a restaurant a fee or requiring the restaurant to absorb a fee unless that restaurant has agreed to pay or absorb the fee under a written agreement; Prohibits delivery services from using a restaurant’s trade name or brand in a manner that is misleading to suggest that the restaurant is sponsoring or approving the service; Requires third-party delivery services to remove a restaurant from service within 10 days of receiving a removal request; And requires delivery services to provide consumers with a clearly identifiable means of reporting complaints and concerns about orders placed through the service.
Disclosure of floodplains / flood damage: Bill 531 concerns “the notice requirements for rented accommodation located in a floodplain”.
Under the bill, landlords are required to tell potential tenants if their property is located in a 100-year-old floodplain or if it has been damaged by flooding in the past five years. Previously, state law required that only people selling real estate disclose to potential owners whether the property is located in a flood plain, and owners were not required to disclose potential flood risks to their tenants.
Law enforcement funding: Senate Bill 23 concerns “an election to approve a reduction or reallocation of funds or resources for certain county law enforcement agencies.”
The measure, which only applies to counties with more than one million people, requires voter approval before a county can cut law enforcement funding.
Pilot apprenticeship program: Senate Bill 1524 concerns “a pilot sales and use tax rebate program for certain persons who employ apprentices”.
The measure provides a tax incentive for employers who hire apprentices. Employers will receive a sales tax refund of $ 2,500 for each apprentice hired.
Chicken coops and property valuation: Bill 2535 concerns “the valuation for ad valorem tax purposes of real estate that includes certain improvements used for the non-commercial production of food for personal consumption”.
The measure requires appraisers to exclude non-commercial chicken coops and rabbit pens when determining the market value of a property.
Civil court costs and file costs: Senate Bill 41 concerns “the consolidation and the distribution of the costs of civil justice of the State; the increase in certain civil justice costs; authorizing fees.
Wrap Mortgages: Senate Bill 43 relates to “residential mortgages, including the financing of residential real estate purchases by means of a wrap mortgage loan; provide licensing and registration requirements; authorizing an administrative penalty.
Tax exemptions for disabled veterans: Senate Bill 794 concerns “eligibility for exemption from ad valorem taxation of the residence of a totally disabled veteran”.
Fight against e-commerce fraud: Senate Bill 855 concerns “the electronic distribution of commercial recordings or audiovisual works”.
Training certificates: Bill 3131 concerns “the information to be included in the certificate of incorporation of a filing entity”.
The measure requires a new business entity to indicate a preferred mailing address on its training certificate. As it stands, the mailing address shown on a business entity’s certificate of incorporation is often the address of the entity’s registered agent. When an agent’s address changes or the registered agent of the business entity changes, tax information and other correspondence sent by the auditor of public accounts is often not received by the taxpayer to whom it is intended, depending on the Texas Legislature Bill Analysis.
Long-term care transparency: Bill 3961 concerns “the compulsory publication of information concerning the office of the state long-term care ombudsperson on the websites of certain long-term care establishments”.
The measure requires long-term care facilities to post information on their websites about the office of the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman, an independent organization within the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that advocates for the rights of residents of long-term care facilities.
In fiscal year 2020, the organization investigated 7,047 complaints at state nursing and assisted living facilities.
Texas Securities Act: Senate Bill 1280 relates to “certain provisions of the Securities Act for which a person offering or selling a security may be held liable to a person who purchases the security”.
Tax exemptions on movable property: Senate Bill 1449 concerns “the exemption from ad valorem taxation of income-producing tangible movable property of a value below a certain amount”.
Property tax exemptions for charities: Bill 115 House concerns “the exemption from ad valorem taxation of certain property belonging to a charitable organization and used to provide housing and related services to certain homeless”.
The measure amends the current state law that provides a property tax exemption for charities that provide housing and related services to homeless people.
Property tax exemptions for religious organizations: Bill 1197 concerns “the period during which certain land belonging to a religious organization for the purpose of expanding a place of religious worship or building a new place of religious worship may be exempt from ad valorem taxation”.
The bill extends from six to ten years the period during which religious organizations are exempt from paying property taxes on contiguous properties intended for the expansion of the organization’s place of worship.
Medical billing services: Bill 1445 concerns “the applicability of sales and use tax to medical or dental billing services.”
The measure exempts medical and dental billing services from state sales or use tax.
Amendment of the Insurance Code: Bill 1689 refers to “reinsurance credit governed by certain covered agreements and ceded to certain assuming insurers”.
Privilege rights: Bill 2237 concerns “the privileges of the mechanic, the contractor or the materialist”.
Negotiations of eminent fields: Bill 2730 concerns “the acquisition of real estate by an entity having eminent domain authority and the regulation of agents of easement or right of way”.
The measure revises state negotiations between landowners and businesses.
Rehabilitation of the historic structure: Bill 3777 refers to “eligible costs and expenses for the purposes of the franchise tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures”
Members of the Appraisal Review Committee: Bill 3788 relates to “the training and education of members of the Appraisal Review Board”.
Real estate estimates in historic districts: Bill 3971 concerns “the assessment for the purposes of the ad valorem tax of a residential building located in a designated historic district”.
Léandre municipal management district: Bill 4638 relates to “the establishment of certain municipal management districts; give the power to issue bonds; giving the power to impose contributions, fees and taxes.
Several bills already in force include paragraphs that will come into force on January 1. See these invoices here.
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