After publishing the required notice, taxpayers have the opportunity to express their views on tax increases at hearings. 1 The type of taxing unit determines the hearing requirements.
By providing the information and provisions below concerning tax rate hearings, the Comptroller's office provides technical assistance and not legal advice. Taxing units should consult legal counsel for interpretations of law regarding tax rate hearings.
No taxing unit or school district may impose property taxes in any year until its governing body has adopted a tax rate for that year and set it out in an ordinance, resolution or order. 7 Taxing units should consult legal counsel regarding the correct instrument and wording to use for tax rate adoption, but the Tax Code sets out specific wording to be included. 8
School Districts: If a proposed tax rate exceeds the sum of effective maintenance and operation (M&O) tax rate and debt rate, at least 60 percent of the governing body must vote in favor of the ordinance, resolution or order by a record vote.
Taxing Units Other Than School Districts: If a proposed tax rate exceeds the effective tax rate, at least 60 percent of the governing body must vote in favor of the ordinance, resolution or order by a record vote. 9Motion to Adopt Requirements
A motion to adopt an ordinance, resolution or order setting a tax rate that exceeds the effective tax rate must be made in the following form:
"I move that the property tax rate be increased by the adoption of a tax rate of (specify tax rate), which is effectively a (insert percentage by which the proposed tax rate exceeds the effective tax rate) percent increase in the tax rate." 10Ordinance, Resolution or Order Requirements
If the ordinance, resolution or order sets a tax rate that imposes an amount of taxes to fund M&O expenditures that exceeds the amount of taxes imposed for that purpose in the preceding year, it must include the following statement in type larger than the type used in any other portion of the document:
"THIS TAX RATE WILL RAISE MORE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS THAN LAST YEAR'S TAX RATE." 11
If the tax rate exceeds the effective M&O rate, the ordinance, resolution or order must also include the following statement:
"THE TAX RATE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE RAISED BY (INSERT PERCENTAGE BY WHICH THE TAX RATE EXCEEDS THE EFFECTIVE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS RATE) PERCENT AND WILL RAISE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS ON A $100,000 HOME BY APPROXIMATELY $(INSERT AMOUNT)." 12Website Requirements
The taxing unit must include the following statement on the home page of its website:
"(INSERT NAME OF UNIT) ADOPTED A TAX RATE THAT WILL RAISE MORE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS THAN LAST YEAR'S TAX RATE." 13
If the tax rate exceeds the effective M&O rate, the home page of its website must also include the following statement:
"THE TAX RATE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE RAISED BY (INSERT PERCENTAGE BY WHICH THE TAX RATE EXCEEDS THE EFFECTIVE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS RATE) PERCENT AND WILL RAISE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS ON A $100,000 HOME BY APPROXIMATELY $(INSERT AMOUNT)." 14
Usually a school district adopts its tax rate after it adopts its budget. 15 The school board may adopt the budget and tax rate after the public meeting, but the budget must be adopted before the tax rate. 16
A school district with a fiscal year beginning July 1 that adopts a budget based on an estimated appraisal roll must wait to adopt the tax rate until after the certified appraisal roll is received. 17
A school district subject to an equalized wealth notice must wait to adopt a tax rate until the commissioner of education certifies that the wealth is equalized. 18Adopting a tax rate before the budget
If the school district elects to adopt a tax rate before receiving the certified appraisal roll, it may adopt its budget after it adopts a tax rate for the tax year in which the fiscal year covered by the budget begins. 19
If a school district elects to adopt a tax rate before adopting a budget, it must publish notice and hold a meeting for the purpose of discussing the proposed tax rate. 20
Following adoption of the tax rate, the school district must publish notice and hold another public meeting before it may adopt a budget. 21Municipal School District
A municipal school district has special requirements for the public hearing on the annual budget and tax rate. A municipal school district follows the city boundaries in which the school district is located.
The municipal school district board and the city council must jointly hold any hearing required by law for adopting the school's annual budget and property tax rate. 22 Adopting the school budget and the school tax rate requires an affirmative vote of a majority of the school board members present and voting and at least three-quarters of the total of the voting school board members and city council members that are present and voting. 23
If a quorum of the city council is not present at the hearing to adopt the budget and tax rate, then the school board may adopt the budget and tax rate without regard to votes from the city council members. 24 Both the school district and the city must follow all other procedures for the truth-in-taxation process.Deadline to Adopt
A school district must adopt the tax rate by Sept. 29 or 60 days after receiving the certified appraisal roll, whichever date is later. 25
These hearing requirements do not apply to school districts, small taxing units or water districts.Public Hearings on Tax Increase
After publishing the required notice, certain taxing units must hold two public hearings. 27 A quorum of the governing body must be present at both hearings. 28 At least four members of the county commissioners court must be present for a county to adopt a tax rate; at least three must vote for the tax rate. 29 The county judge is considered a member for this purpose. 30
The first public hearing must be held at least seven days after the date notice of public hearing is given. 31 The second hearing may not be held earlier than the third day after the date of the first hearing. 32 These hearings must be held on a weekday that is not a public holiday and must take place in a public building inside the taxing unit's boundaries. 33 Taxpayers must have the opportunity to express their views on the increase at each hearing. 34
The governing body may not adopt the tax rate at either of these hearings. At each hearing, the governing body must announce the date, time and place of the meeting at which it will vote on the tax rate. 35Meeting to Adopt Tax Rate
The governing body must follow a strict timetable once it holds these public hearings. The meeting to vote on adoption of the tax rate must take place no less than three days and no more than 14 days after the second public hearing. 36 Like the public hearings, the meeting to vote must take place in a public building inside the taxing unit's boundaries. 37
If the governing body fails to adopt a tax rate that exceeds the lower of the rollback tax rate or effective tax rate by the during this period, it must republish the Notice of Tax Revenue Increase with a new date, time and location of the second meeting to adopt the tax rate. 38 Counties, cities and small taxing units are not required to publish this notice. 39Deadline to Adopt
Taxing units other than water districts must adopt the tax rate by Sept. 29 or 60 days after receiving the certified appraisal roll, whichever date is later. 40
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 855, which requires state agencies to publish a list of the three most commonly used Web browsers on their websites. The Texas Comptroller’s most commonly used Web browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.