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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

taxesProperty Tax Assistance

Hearings Requirements

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.

Small taxing units have no public hearing requirement. 2 School districts, water districts and all other taxing units must hold one public hearing. 3

All taxing units must post notice of the meetings in compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act. 4 The meetings must be open to the public. 5

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.


Ordinance, Resolution or Order

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. 6 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. 7

School Districts: If a proposed tax rate exceeds the sum of no-new-revenue 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 no-new-revenue tax rate, at least 60 percent of the governing body must vote in favor of the ordinance, resolution or order by a record vote. 8

Motion to Adopt Requirements

A motion to adopt an ordinance, resolution or order setting a tax rate that exceeds the no-new-revenue 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 no-new-revenue tax rate) percent increase in the tax rate." 9

Ordinance, 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 statements 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." 10

and

"THE TAX RATE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE RAISED BY (INSERT PERCENTAGE BY WHICH THE TAX RATE EXCEEDS THE NO-NEW-REVENUE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS RATE) PERCENT AND WILL RAISE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS ON A $100,000 HOME BY APPROXIMATELY $(INSERT AMOUNT)." 11

Website Requirements

If the taxing unit adopted a tax rate that exceeds the no-new-revenue M&O rate, the home page of its website must include the following statements:

"(INSERT NAME OF UNIT) ADOPTED A TAX RATE THAT WILL RAISE MORE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS THAN LAST YEAR'S TAX RATE." 12

and

"THE TAX RATE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE RAISED BY (INSERT PERCENTAGE BY WHICH THE TAX RATE EXCEEDS THE NO-NEW-REVENUE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS RATE) PERCENT AND WILL RAISE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS ON A $100,000 HOME BY APPROXIMATELY $(INSERT AMOUNT)." 13

School Districts

Usually a school district adopts its tax rate after it adopts its budget. 14 The school board may adopt the budget and tax rate after the public meeting, but the budget must be adopted before the tax rate. 15

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 or certified estimate of taxable value is received. 16

Adopting 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. 17

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. 18

Following adoption of the tax rate, the school district must publish notice and hold another public meeting before it may adopt a budget. 19

Municipal 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. 20 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. 21

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. 22 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 before Sept. 30 or 60 days after receiving the certified appraisal roll, whichever date is later, except that governing body must adopt a tax rate that exceeds the voter-approval tax rate not later than the 71st day before the next uniform election date that occurs in November of that year. 23

Water Districts The Water Code requires the governing board of water districts to hold a public hearing no less than 10 days after mailing notice of the hearing to property owners. 24
All Other Taxing Units

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, taxing units must hold one public hearing. 25 A quorum of the governing body must be present at the hearing. 26 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. 27 The county judge is considered a member for this purpose. 28

The public hearing must be held at least five days after the date notice of public hearing is given. 29 This hearing 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 or a suitable building to which the public have normal access. 30 Taxpayers must have the opportunity to express their views on the increase at the hearing. 31

The governing body may adopt the tax rate at this hearing. If the governing body does not vote on the proposed tax rate at the public hearing, the governing body must announce at the public hearing the date, time and place of the meeting at which it will vote on the tax rate. 32

Meeting to Adopt Tax Rate

The governing body must follow a strict timetable once it holds a public hearing. The meeting to vote on adoption of the tax rate must take place no less than the seventh day after the public hearing. 33 Like the public hearings, the meeting to vote must take place in a public building inside the taxing unit's boundaries. 34

Deadline to Adopt

Taxing units other than water districts must adopt the tax rate before Sept. 30 or 60 days after receiving the certified appraisal roll, whichever date is later, except that governing body must adopt a tax rate that exceeds the voter-approval tax rate not later than the 71st day before the next uniform election date that occurs in November of that year and it must order the election no later than the 78th day before the November uniform election date. 35