Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 166th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2009CI14592 Honorable Solomon Casseb, III, Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Karen Angelini,
Justice Irene Rios, Justice
Bryan Marion, Chief Justice
Ernest Bustos ("Bustos") appeals from the trial
court's dismissal of a tax dispute for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction. We affirm the trial court's
Bexar Appraisal District (the "District") appraised
Bustos's residential property at $190, 480 for the 2009
tax year. Bustos appealed the appraisal to Appellee Bexar
Appraisal Review Board (the "ARB"), which held a
hearing and upheld the appraisal at $190, 480.
to Chapter 42 of the Texas Tax Code, Bustos appealed the
appraisal for the 2009 tax year to the trial
court. Bustos amended his petition eight times to
challenge the District's appraisal of the property for
the 2010 through 2017 tax years as well.
2017, the District moved to dismiss the suit for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction on the basis that Bustos failed
to substantially comply with Tax Code § 42.08(b) by not
paying any taxes prior to the delinquency date. The District
attached to its motion evidence that Bustos owed $69, 146.09
in total taxes and had not paid any taxes since 2008, except
for $5 paid in 2009. After a hearing, the trial court granted
the District's motion and dismissed the suit with
Bustos's brief purports to raise two issues on appeal,
those issues are substantively identical-i.e., that
the trial court erred in granting the District's motion
to dismiss because he substantially complied with Tax Code
§ 42.08(b) or (d). We hold Bustos did not substantially
comply with either Subsection (b) or (d).
Standard of review
with the prepayment requirements of Tax Code § 42.08(b)
is a jurisdictional prerequisite to the district court's
subject-matter jurisdiction to determine a property
owner's rights. EXLP Leasing, LLC v. Webb Cnty.
Appraisal Dist., 511 S.W.3d 227, 229 (Tex. App.-San
Antonio 2015, pet. denied). Whether a trial court has
subject-matter jurisdiction is a question of law we review de
Subsection (b)'s prepayment requirements
Code § 42.08(b) provides that a property owner who
appeals from an appraisal forfeits his right to a final
determination of his appeal if he does not pay taxes on the
property before the delinquency date. Tex. Tax Code §
42.08(b). This prepayment requirement serves two primary
objectives: (1) to ensure property owners do "not use
the right of judicial review as a subterfuge for delaying or
avoiding the payment of at least some tax"; and (2) to
"assure that the activities of the local governments
which relied on ad valorem taxes would not be unduly impeded
by granting the property owner the right of judicial
review." U. Lawrence Boze' & Assocs., P.C.
v. Harris Cnty. Appraisal Dist., 368 S.W.3d 17, 27 (Tex.
App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, no pet.); J.C. Evans
Constr. Co. ...