taxesProperty Tax Assistance

Elections to Approve Tax Rate

If the governing body of a taxing unit adopts a tax rate that exceeds the voter-approval tax rate, in most cases it must automatically hold an election for voters to approve the tax increase. 1 For school districts, this is called a tax rate ratification election or TRE. 2 An election permits voting for or against the tax-rate proposition. If the majority of votes are cast in opposition to the adopted tax rate, the election limits the taxing unit's tax rate for the current year to the voter-approval tax rate. 3 There are also tax rate scenarios in which the election is not automatic and, voters in the taxing unit may petition for an election on the tax increase. The election process is different when voters petition for the tax rate election. 4

If required to hold an election to approve the tax rate, the governing body shall hold the election on the uniform election date in November of the applicable tax year. It must adopt the rate no later than the 71st day before the next November uniform election date and the order calling the election may not be issued later than the 78th day before the date of the election. 5

Water districts have different actions that trigger an automatic election or allow for a petition for an election to approve the tax rate. While water districts follow Water Code provisions in most truth-in-taxation matters, they must follow procedures in the Tax Code when it comes to an election. 6

By providing the information below, the Comptroller's office provides technical assistance and not legal advice. Taxing units should consult legal counsel for interpretations of law regarding voter-approval elections.