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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

taxes

Declared Natural Disasters and Emergencies Tax Help

The Comptroller’s office has compiled information for Hurricane Harvey evacuees and relief workers, including information on how to request an extension for reporting and paying taxes.

Extensions for Filing Taxes

Many taxpayers are unable to file taxes on time because of damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. The Comptroller’s office is allowing limited temporary extensions of time to file taxes for businesses in Texas counties designated for individual assistance by the Federal Major Disaster Declaration. These extensions only apply to businesses in those counties.

The decision to offer extensions upon request for the immediate reporting periods, rather than simply granting an extension to businesses in all affected counties, was made because we must balance the need for relief with the responsibilities of this office.

The Comptroller’s office will evaluate whether additional filing periods may be eligible for extensions as due dates approach.

Select the topic below for more information about these extensions.

Franchise Tax

For the 2017 franchise tax reports with valid extensions to Nov. 15, the Comptroller’s office is granting an automatic extension to Jan. 5, 2018, to businesses located in the counties designated for individual assistance by the Federal Major Disaster Declaration. Businesses located in these counties do not need to request an extension for their franchise tax reports.

Service providers who file franchise tax reports on behalf of other taxpayers can request a franchise tax extension if the provider is affected by Hurricane Harvey and is located in a Texas county designated by the Federal Major Disaster Declaration. See How to Request an Extension.

Mixed Beverage Sales Tax and Mixed Beverage Gross Receipts Tax

The Comptroller’s office granted businesses located in the federally declared disaster area in Texas that are not required to report (file) electronically an automatic 30-day extension to complete the following mixed beverage sales tax reports and mixed beverage gross receipts tax reports:

  • August monthly reports due Sept. 20
  • Quarterly reports due Oct. 20

Taxpayers are not required to report electronically if they paid less than $50,000 in tax in the preceding state fiscal year (Sept. 1 to Aug. 31). Taxpayers located in the federally declared disaster area in Texas who are not required but choose to report electronically also received the automatic extension.

Examples:

For monthly mixed beverage sales tax filers and mixed beverage gross receipts filers not required to file electronically, the extended deadline for the August monthly report, normally due on Sept. 20, was Oct. 20. The September monthly report remained due on the normal due date, Oct. 20. This means the taxpayer had two monthly reports, the August and September reports due on the same date.

For quarterly mixed beverage sales tax filers not required to file electronically, the extended deadline for the July-Sept. quarterly report, normally due on Oct. 20, was Nov. 20. The Oct.-Dec. quarterly report remains due on Jan. 20.

Taxpayers who may need more than 30 days to file may submit an extension request for more time. See How to Request an Extension.

Taxpayers who are required to report electronically did not get the automatic extension, but may request a 30-day extension of time to file. See How to Request an Extension.

Sales and Use Tax

The Comptroller’s office granted businesses located in the federally declared disaster area in Texas that are not required to report (file) electronically an automatic 30-day extension to complete the following sales and use tax reports:

  • August monthly reports due Sept. 20
  • Quarterly reports due Oct. 20

Taxpayers are not required to report electronically if they paid less than $50,000 in sales and use tax in the preceding state fiscal year (Sept. 1 to Aug. 31). Taxpayers located in the federally declared disaster area in Texas who are not required but choose to report electronically also received the automatic extension.

Examples:

For monthly sales and use tax filers not required to file electronically, the extended deadline for the August monthly report, normally due on September 20, was October 20. The September monthly report remained due on the normal due date, October 20. This means the taxpayer had two monthly reports, the August and September reports due on the same date.

For quarterly sales and use tax filers not required to file electronically, the extended deadline for the July-Sept. quarterly report, normally due on October 20, was November 20. The Oct.-Dec. quarterly report remains due on January 20.

Taxpayers who may need more than 30 days to file may submit an extension request for more time. See How to Request an Extension.

Taxpayers who are required to report electronically did not get the automatic extension, but may request a 30-day extension of time to file. See How to Request an Extension.

Other Taxpayers Who May Request Extensions

Taxpayers required to electronically report sales and use tax, mixed beverage sales tax, mixed beverage gross receipts tax and taxpayers reporting other tax types may request a 30-day extension of time to file if located in the federally declared disaster area in Texas. Taxpayers affected by Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma located in disaster areas outside of Texas may also request a 30-day extension of time to file. See How to Request an Extension.

How to Request an Extension

An affected business must request the extension either by calling the Comptroller's Taxpayer Services line at 800-252-5555 or emailing ExtensionRequests@cpa.texas.gov.

To receive a valid extension based on inability to file timely due to the disaster, please provide the following information:

  • taxpayer name
  • taxpayer number
  • name of person making request
  • email or phone contact information of person making request
  • tax type(s) for which extension is requested
  • affected filing period

Extension requests due to disasters are handled on a case-by-case basis. The taxpayer will be notified when an extension request is granted or denied.

A person or entity that would like to request filing deadline extensions for several businesses at once can submit the required information in a spreadsheet format with this information.

Other Suspensions and Waivers

Hotel Taxes – Temporary Suspension

Governor Greg Abbott temporarily suspended collecting all state and local hotel occupancy taxes from the victims of Hurricane Harvey and personnel participating in hurricane relief efforts.

The tax suspension began Aug. 23, 2017, and ended Oct. 23, 2017.

This tax suspension applied to government personnel, as well as nonprofit entity and for-profit entity personnel, participating in relief operations for victims of Hurricane Harvey, such as:

  • disaster relief volunteers;
  • law enforcement officers;
  • insurance adjusters;
  • construction workers;
  • utility workers; and
  • sanitation workers.
International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) – Temporary Waiver

The Governor issued a temporary waiver of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) until Sept. 30.

The Comptroller suspended requirements that the trucking industry pay tax on motor fuel used in Texas when delivering relief supplies and fuel into the state. The waiver also suspended all IFTA licensing requirements, including trip permits, for trips to deliver relief supplies and fuel into Texas.

Motor Vehicle Tax – Temporary Suspension

In August, the Governor and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) temporarily suspended the rules for the titling, registration and inspection of motor vehicles in counties affected by Hurricane Harvey for the period Aug. 30, 2017, through Oct. 14, 2017.

On Oct. 16, 2017, the Governor extended this temporary suspension to Nov. 15, 2017, for motor vehicle owners who reside in the following counties: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Milam, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington and Wharton.

The Comptroller also suspended motor vehicle tax collection and penalties during this time for motor vehicle owners in the same counties.

General guidance is provided below.

  • For motor vehicle purchases that occurred between July 31, 2017, and Sept. 14, 2017, in the counties affected by Hurricane Harvey that are not included in the extended suspension, no penalty is due if the tax was paid on or before Oct. 14, 2017.
  • For motor vehicle purchases that occurred between July 31, 2017, and Oct. 16, 2017, in the extended areas, no penalty is due if the tax is paid on or before Nov 15, 2017.
  • Tax and penalty that became due before the suspension period remains due.
  • Tax and penalty paid after the suspension period does not receive the benefit of the suspension and the regular rules for tax and penalty apply.
  • Tax and penalty on motor vehicles purchased outside this state and then brought into Texas follow these same guidelines.

A refund may be due to dealers who paid delinquent tax penalties through the TxDMV’s webDealer system during the suspension period. Refund claims must be filed with the Comptroller’s office using Form 14-202, Texas Claim for Refund of Motor Vehicle Tax (PDF).

Affected county tax assessor-collectors, motor vehicle rental companies and motor vehicle seller-financed dealers (Buy Here, Pay Here dealers) who pay directly to the Comptroller’s office may request a 30-day extension to file their returns and pay motor vehicle tax to the Comptroller’s office by calling 800-252-5555 or by emailing ExtensionRequests@cpa.texas.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hotel Tax

If I’m a disaster relief worker or person displaced by Hurricane Harvey, can I stay in a hotel or motel tax-free?

For a limited time, state and local hotel taxes were suspended for victims and relief workers of Hurricane Harvey. The tax suspension was for a period beginning on Aug. 23, 2017, and ending on Oct. 23, 2017. The hotel does not need to be in the declared disaster area.

Hurricane Harvey victims and relief workers should complete a Form 12-302, Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate (PDF). Hotel managers should mark the “Exempt by Other Federal or State Law” box and write “Hurricane Harvey” anywhere on the form.

As a hotel manager, what must I have to grant an exemption from the hotel occupancy tax?

Request a Form 12-302, Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate (PDF) from Hurricane Harvey victims and relief workers. They will mark the “Exempt by Other Federal or State Law” box and write “Hurricane Harvey” anywhere on the form.

I paid hotel tax while displaced during the Hurricane Harvey disaster. How do I get it back?

Hotel tax refund requests should be made to the hotel that collected the tax. After refunding the tax, the hotel can adjust taxable receipts on a current return to take credit for the refund. The hotel can also complete Form 00-985 Assignment of Right to Refund (PDF), which is for state hotel tax only.

For more information on hotel tax refunds, see Hotel Occupancy Tax - Filing For a Refund.

I’m a Hurricane Harvey victim or relief worker who reserved my room through an intermediary, such as a third-party website. How can I get a refund of hotel tax I paid?

The taxes that are paid by the third-party website to the hotel (and ultimately to the state and local governments) are only a portion of the taxes and fees that are assessed by the third-party website. The hotel and the third-party website can only refund the portion of the taxes and fees that represent the tax amount remitted to the state and/or local governments.

Victims and relief workers who reserved and paid for their rooms through a third-party website can request their refund of taxes paid from that third-party website or the hotel.

To request a refund, victims and relief workers should complete a Form 12-302, Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificate (PDF). They should mark the “Exempt by Other Federal or State Law” box and write “Hurricane Harvey” anywhere on the form.

After refunding the tax, the hotel or third-party website can adjust taxable receipts on a current return to take credit for the refund.

If hurricane victims or relief workers stay at my hotel after the tax suspension period expires, will their stay still be exempt?

In Texas, permanent residents are exempt from hotel tax. Permanent residents are exempt:

  • beginning the day they notify the hotel in writing of their intent to stay for 30 or more consecutive days, and stay for at least 30 days from the date of notice; or
  • beginning the 31st consecutive day of their stay and after.

During the tax suspension period, hotel managers only needed to look at the first 30 days to determine if hotel tax was due. Hurricane victims and relief workers were exempt from hotel tax for stays during the suspension period and when they qualified as permanent residents as described above.

FEMA is paying for a hotel room through its hurricane short-term lodging program and has asked that I charge hotel taxes on those rooms. Isn’t FEMA exempt as a federal government agency?

An exempt organization may choose to pay tax. If FEMA requests to be billed for hotel taxes, charge FEMA the tax. Include FEMA room charges as taxable receipts on Form 12-100 Texas Hotel Occupancy Tax Report (PDF).

What happens to hurricane victims and relief workers who stay in the hotel after FEMA’s hurricane short-term lodging program expires?

Hurricane victims and relief workers who stayed at the hotel for the previous 30 or more consecutive days may claim exemption as permanent residents when the short-term lodging program expires. If the hotel creates a new guest folio, for audit purposes, the hotel should note on the new folio that the resident has occupied a room for 30 or more consecutive days and reference the old folio number.

Motor Fuels Tax

How can I get licensed as a motor fuel distributor, importer, or transporter to assist in delivering fuel into Texas?

The Comptroller’s office issued expedited licenses to motor fuel distributors, importers, and transporters assisting with Hurricane Harvey relief from Sept. 1 through Sept 30. We are no longer issuing expedited licenses and all licenses issued during this period for this purpose have been placed inactive as of Sept. 30, 2017.

Did the IRS and EPA lift federal restrictions for using dyed diesel fuel on roads and highways in response to the declared natural disaster?

Yes. On August 30, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in response to the emergency caused by Hurricane Harvey, temporarily lifted their restrictions on using dyed diesel fuel on roads and highways. The penalty relief was available statewide if:

  • the fuel was used between August 25, 2017 and September 15, 2017; and
  • the operator of the highway vehicle in which the fuel was used paid the federal tax of 24.4 cents per gallon.
Will the Comptroller's office also lift the state's restrictions on dyed diesel fuel?

The Governor and Comptroller supported the Hurricane Harvey relief action and lifted the state's restrictions on the taxable sale and use of dyed diesel fuel in state declared disaster areas. The Governor’s disaster proclamation was limited to the following counties: Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kerr, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, Matagorda, Milam, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Willacy and Wilson counties.

The Comptroller did not impose or collect the state motor fuel tax on dyed diesel fuel sold and used on-highway between August 25, 2017 and September 15, 2017, in the above declared disaster areas.

As with the federal tax, the operator of the highway vehicle in which the dyed diesel fuel was used was required to pay the 20 cents per gallon state tax on the fuel used on-road outside of the counties listed above.

What happens if I paid tax on clear diesel fuel purchased and used in off-highway equipment for disaster relief and recovery efforts?

A person who paid the tax on clear diesel fuel purchased and used in off-highway equipment for hurricane relief and recovery efforts within the counties declared disaster areas by the Governor can file a refund claim with the Comptroller's office. The refund claim is valid for clear diesel fuel used from August 25 through September 15, 2017.

A person filing for refund will use Form 06-106, Texas Claim for Refund of Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Taxes (PDF). To claim a refund, simply enter the number of gallons of clear diesel fuel purchased and used on line 10 "Other claims not covered by above methods." The explanation required should indicate that the claim is due to Hurricane Harvey. Refund claims must be supported by fuel receipts and documentation of use as provided on the form.

Refund claims must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2017.

International Fuel Trade Agreement (IFTA)

Were there any International Fuel Trade Agreement (IFTA) waivers?

Yes. The governor temporarily waived IFTA requirements when delivering relief supplies and fuel into Texas. The waiver covered both the payment of the IFTA tax and licensing requirements, including trip permits. This waiver was in effect until Sept. 30.

Did the IFTA waiver also cover motor fuels tax?

No. Motor fuels tax had its own waiver. Please see the FAQs on this page for more information.

Did the IFTA waiver cover all states?

No. This waiver only covered Texas. For additional waivers by other states please visit the IFTA website at www.iftach.org.

How do I report miles traveled in Texas for hurricane relief efforts?

An IFTA licensee must keep documentation on fuel purchased and miles traveled in Texas directly related to hurricane relief efforts while providing supplies and fuel to the affected areas from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, 2017. This information must be included on the IFTA report but miles traveled during this period for the purpose of hurricane relief are considered tax-exempt miles.

A non-licensed person is also required to keep documentation, but there is not a reporting requirement.

Taxpayers should contact our IFTA section at 512-463-3678 with any questions on how to report miles traveled and gallons purchased related to hurricane relief on the IFTA report.

Sales Tax

Can I claim exemption from sales tax on labor charges to repair property damaged in a disaster area?

You can claim exemption from sales tax on the following labor charges by giving the seller an exemption certificate (PDF). The certificate must give the reason for claiming the exemption; for example, "Repair of damaged tree due to a declared natural disaster in Panola County."

  • Nonresidential real property with separately stated labor charge: Purchasers can claim a sales tax exemption from separately stated labor charges to repair or restore nonresidential real property damaged by the disaster. (Labor to repair residential real property is not taxable.)
  • Nonresidential real property billed lump-sum (one charge): If the service provider charges a lump-sum charge, the charge is presumed to be taxable. However, the service provider can overcome this presumption (even after the service is completed) by accepting an exemption certificate and then separately stating the charge for labor from the charge for incorporated materials so that the service provider can refund the sales tax collected on the charge for labor.
  • Personal property: Purchasers can claim an exemption from sales tax on charges for labor to repair or restore items damaged by a declared natural disaster, including furniture and other items of tangible personal property. The exemption can also be claimed on costs to launder or dry clean damaged clothing or other items.
  • Trees: Purchasers can claim an exemption from sales tax on labor on charges for cutting down damaged branches or cutting up a damaged tree. Charges for hauling away branches, limbs or trees are taxable waste removal services. Charges for nontaxable services should be separately stated from charges for taxable services. A lump-sum charge for taxable and nontaxable services will be presumed taxable if the taxable portion is greater than 5 percent of the total bill.
Is sales and use tax due on the purchase, lease or rental of equipment such as chainsaws, stump cutters, brush chippers and other tools that will be used in declared disaster areas?

Yes. Sales and use tax is due on the purchase, lease or rental of tools and other equipment that will be used in declared disaster areas. A purchase, lease or rental of these items only qualifies for exemption from Texas sales and use tax in the following situations:

  • Governmental agencies and any nonprofit entities exempt from Texas sales and use tax can claim an exemption from the tax when buying, renting or leasing the equipment in Texas. To verify that a nonprofit entity is exempt from Texas sales and use tax, check our Texas Tax Exempt Entity Search webpage. Purchase orders issued by federal, state and local governmental entities are sufficient documentation for sellers to accept that the purchase, lease or rental qualifies for exemption from sales and use tax. Nonprofit entities exempt from Texas sales and use tax must issue exemption certificates in lieu of paying the sales and use tax.
  • If a seller or a third-party common carrier delivers equipment to a location outside of Texas, Texas sales and use tax should not be collected. The seller must keep the shipping documentation to show that the sale is exempt from Texas sales and use tax as an interstate shipment. The lessee will be responsible for collecting sales and use tax on the lease or rental if the equipment is brought back into Texas for use.
  • No tax is due on taxable items purchased, leased or rented with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or Red Cross debit cards and/or vouchers. Retailers must keep documentation that the items were purchased with FEMA or Red Cross debit cards and/or vouchers. The documentation can be either a copy of the voucher or a copy of the receipt issued to the purchaser. The receipt copy should be clearly marked "FEMA" or "Red Cross" and should be signed by the purchaser. If a combination of a FEMA or Red Cross debit card or voucher AND cash or a personal credit/debit card are used to purchase, lease or rent a taxable item, the retailer must collect sales and use tax on the amount of the purchase that was paid with personal funds but not on the amount paid with a FEMA or Red Cross debit card and/or voucher.

Sellers must keep documentation relating to the above situations for four years from the date of sale.

Are disaster victims making purchases with personal funds exempt from sales tax?

No. Disaster victims making purchases with personal funds are not exempt from paying sales tax unless the items will be donated to an entity exempt from sales tax prior to any use by the purchaser. An individual making a purchase that will be donated to an entity exempt from sales and use tax will issue an exemption certificate for that purpose.

Are purchases made with a FEMA debit card or voucher exempt from Texas sales and use tax?

Yes. Purchasers are not required to pay Texas sales and use taxes on taxable goods and services purchased with a FEMA debit card or voucher. Retailers must keep documentation that the items were purchased with a FEMA debit card or voucher for four years from the date of sale. The documentation can be either a copy of the voucher or a copy of the receipt issued to the purchaser. The receipt copy must be clearly marked "FEMA" and signed by the purchaser.

Because FEMA debit cards and vouchers are federal government purchases, no additional documentation is necessary.

If a taxable item or service is purchased with a combination of a FEMA debit card or voucher AND cash or a personal credit/debit card, the retailer must collect sales and use tax on the amount of the purchase that was paid with personal funds but not on the amount paid with a FEMA debit card or voucher.

Note that purchases of motor vehicles made with a FEMA debit card or voucher are not exempt from Texas motor vehicle sales tax. In these cases, the title passes from the seller to the individual. The vehicles are not being sold to an exempt organization.

Are purchases made with a Red Cross debit card or voucher exempt from Texas sales and use tax?

Yes. Purchasers are not required to pay Texas sales and use taxes on taxable goods and services purchased with a Red Cross debit card or voucher. Retailers must keep documentation that the items were purchased with a Red Cross debit card or voucher for four years from the date of sale. The documentation can be either a copy of the voucher or a copy of the receipt issued to the purchaser. The receipt copy must be clearly marked "Red Cross" and signed by the purchaser.

If a taxable item or service is purchased with a combination of a Red Cross debit card or voucher AND cash or a personal credit/debit card, the retailer must collect sales and use tax on the amount of the purchase that was paid with personal funds but not on the amount paid with a Red Cross debit card or voucher.

Note that purchases of motor vehicles made with a Red Cross debit card or voucher are not exempt from Texas motor vehicle sales tax. In these cases, the title passes from the seller to the individual. The vehicles are not being sold to an exempt organization.

Can disaster victims making purchases with money received from FEMA or Red Cross through a money order or direct deposit in a personal bank account receive an exemption from sales tax or claim a refund of taxes paid on items purchased in Texas with those funds?

No. Purchases made by individuals using funds in personal accounts, even if those funds were given to the individual by an exempt organization, are not exempt. Purchases of taxable items an individual makes in Texas do not qualify for an exemption or refund of sales tax unless the individual is donating the items for a qualifying organization's use.

Are purchases of prepared food (i.e., ready to eat from a fast food restaurant) using a FEMA or Red Cross voucher or debit card exempt from Texas sales and use tax?

Yes. Ready-to-eat food qualifies for exemption when purchased with a FEMA or Red Cross debit card or voucher.

Sellers of the prepared food must keep a copy of the receipt in their records. The receipt copy must be clearly marked "FEMA" or "Red Cross" and must be signed by the purchaser.

Is sales tax due on purchases of alcohol and tobacco products when using FEMA or Red Cross debit cards and/or vouchers?

Yes. The sales tax exemption does not extend to purchases of alcohol and tobacco products when using FEMA or Red Cross debit cards and/or vouchers; therefore, sales tax is due.

Are purchases made with Salvation Army vouchers exempt from tax?

Items purchased with a Salvation Army voucher are not subject to Texas state and local sales and use taxes. Retailers should show the amount of the Salvation Army voucher on the invoice, deduct that amount before computing the sales tax, and keep a copy of the voucher to substantiate the sale to the Salvation Army on behalf of the individual. In addition, the Salvation Army should provide a properly completed exemption certificate for purchases made with Salvation Army vouchers.

Can a school district or a PTA buy school supplies and clothes sales tax free to give to students who are victims of a declared natural disaster?

Yes. A school district or a PTA can claim an exemption from sales tax on purchases of school supplies and clothing that will be given to students who are victims of a declared natural disaster. Vendors selling to school districts or PTAs must have written purchase orders/vouchers available for audit review to substantiate sales exempt from sales tax.

Can individuals or other nonprofit organizations hold fundraising events and sell goods tax free if all proceeds will be donated to disaster relief?

Generally, all sales of taxable items are subject to tax, even if all proceeds will be donated to a charity. However, there are a variety of events that can be held as fundraisers that are not subject to tax, including:

  • Bake sales
  • Car washes
  • Concerts – if the admission is based on donations only or if the concert is sponsored by a nonprofit organization. Otherwise, a set price for admission to a concert, even for a fundraising event, is subject to tax.

Each chapter of an organization qualifying for sales tax exemption under the religious, educational or charitable category, as well as organizations exempted from sales tax based on their IRS Section 501 (c)(3), (4), (8), (10) or (19) status, can hold two one-day, tax-free sales or auctions each calendar year. During each one-day sale, the organization does not need to collect sales tax. For purposes of the exemption, one day is counted as 24 consecutive hours. The exemption does not apply to items sold for more than $5,000 unless the organization manufactures those items or the items are donated to the organization and not sold back to the donor.

College or university student organizations affiliated with an institution of higher education can hold a one-day, tax-free sale each month. The organization must have a primary purpose other than engaging in business or performing an activity designed to make a profit, and the purpose of the sale must be to raise funds for the organization. The exemption does not apply to items sold for more than $5,000 unless the organization manufactures those items or the items are donated to the organization and not sold back to the donor.

Youth athletic organizations, volunteer fire departments and chambers of commerce cannot hold tax-free sales.

Out-of-State Business Performing Disaster- or Emergency-Related Work in Texas

An out-of-state business entity that enters Texas at the request of an in-state business entity under a mutual assistance agreement, or that is an affiliate of an in-state business entity is exempt from Texas licensing and registration requirements when its business in Texas is limited to performing disaster- or emergency-related work to repair or restore damaged critical infrastructure during a disaster response period in a declared disaster area. The out-of-state entity will not be required to collect and remit Texas sales and use tax on its sales of taxable items in Texas nor on its purchases of taxable items that are sold or transferred to its customers during a disaster response period.

An out-of-state entity will not be considered engaged in business in Texas if the entity's physical presence in Texas is solely for performing disaster- or emergency-related work to repair or restore damaged critical infrastructure during a disaster response period. The out-of-state business entity is not required to register with the Secretary of State or to file or pay any state or local taxes, including franchise tax, when performing disaster- or emergency-related work during a disaster response period.

The out-of-state entity will not owe use tax on equipment brought into Texas used only by the entity to perform disaster- or emergency-related work to repair or restore damaged critical infrastructure during the disaster response period, and removed from Texas by the entity following the disaster response period. The out-of-state entity will owe sales tax on its purchases of taxable items for its own use.

The law does not provide an exemption for taxable items sold by the out-of-state business described by the bill. Purchasers are still responsible for use tax on any taxable items purchased from such an out-of-state business entity.

See franchise tax rule 3.583 and sales tax rule 3.286.

Property Taxes in Disaster Areas

Appraisal District Disaster Assistance

Tax Code Section 6.053 requires a chief appraiser to comply with any request by a federal, state, or local government emergency management authority to provide information and assistance pertinent to disaster mitigation or recovery, including assisting in the estimation of damage from an actual or potential disaster event.

Reappraisal of Property in Disaster Areas

When requested by a local taxing unit, an appraisal district is required to complete a reappraisal as soon as practicable of all property damaged in a disaster if the area is declared a disaster area by the Governor under Tax Code Section 23.02. The appraisal record must include:

  • the date of the disaster;
  • the appraised value of the property after the disaster; and
  • an indication of the taxing units to which the reappraisal applies if the reappraisal was not authorized by all taxing units in which the property is located.

The local taxing unit requesting the reappraisal must pay all the costs involved. If more than one taxing unit requests the reappraisal, all requesting taxing units share the costs based on the proportion of taxes imposed in the affected locality in the preceding year.

For reappraised property, the taxes are prorated for the year the disaster occurred. The local taxing unit assesses taxes prior to the date the disaster occurred based on the market value as of Jan. 1. Beginning on the date of the disaster and for the remainder of the year, the taxing unit applies its tax rate to the reappraised market value of the property.

Continuation of Residence Homestead Exemption

Tax Code Section 11.135 provides that a property owner may continue to receive the homestead exemption on the structure, land, and improvements when the residential structure is rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage while the owner constructs a replacement structure on the land.

The owner may not establish a different principal residence for which the owner receives a homestead exemption during that period and the owner must intend to return and occupy the structure as the owner's principal residence.

To continue receiving the exemption, the owner must begin active construction of the replacement qualified residential structure or other physical preparation of the construction site. The active construction or other physical preparation must begin no later than one year after the owner ceases to occupy the former residential structure. Comptroller Rule 9.416 requires a property owner to notify an appraisal office within 30 days after the date that the eligibility for continuation ends. The continuation cannot be for more than two years.

If the owner sells the property prior to completing the replacement qualified structure, the property owner is subject to additional taxes and interest.

Continuation of Tax Limitations on Homesteads of Elderly or Disabled

If a residence homestead is rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage, the replacement structure owned by an individual who is age 65 or older or disabled may continue to receive the limitations on property taxes allowed by Tax Code Sections 11.26 and 11.261.

However, the replacement structure will be subject to an increase in tax if:

  • the square footage of the replacement structure exceeds that of the replaced structure as that structure existed before the casualty or damage occurred; or
  • the exterior of the replacement structure is of higher quality construction and composition than that of the replaced structure.
Residence Homestead Cap

Tax Code Section 23.23 provides for the limitation on the appraised value of residence homesteads to 110 percent of the appraised value for the preceding tax year plus the market value of all new improvements to the property. If an improvement is a replacement structure for a structure that was rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage, then the structure is not considered a new improvement.

If the replacement structure exceeds the square footage of the original structure or the exterior of the replacement structure is of higher construction quality and composition than the original structure, then the replacement structure is considered a new improvement and is taxed accordingly. A replacement structure is not considered a new improvement to the extent necessary to satisfy square footage or the quality and composition of the exterior requirements of a disaster recovery program administered by the General Land Office that is federally funded.

Temporary Cessation of Agricultural Use During Drought

Tax Code Section 23.522 provides that the eligibility of land for open space appraisal does not end because the land ceases to be devoted principally to agricultural use to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area if:

  1. a drought declared by the Governor creates an agricultural necessity to extend the normal time the land remains out of agricultural production; and
  2. the owner intends to resume the use the land in the manner and to the degree of intensity at the end of the declared drought.
Waiver of Certain Penalties

Tax Code Section 23.129 allows chief appraisers and tax assessor-collectors to waive certain penalties for failing to file or timely file a declaration or tax statement for motor vehicles, dealer's heavy equipment or retail manufactured housing inventory. A chief appraiser or collector may waive a penalty only if the taxpayer's failure to file or timely file the declaration or statement was a result of a disaster or an event beyond the taxpayer's control destroyed the taxpayer's property or records. The taxpayer must file a written application for the waiver not later than the 30th day after the date the declaration or statement was required to be filed and the taxpayer must otherwise be in compliance with Tax Code Chapter 23.

Election to Ratify School Taxes after a Disaster

Under Tax Code Section 26.08, if a school district adopts a tax rate that exceeds the rollback tax rate, the registered voters of the district determine whether to approve the adopted tax rate at an election. When a school district needs to increase expenditures because of a disaster (including a tornado, hurricane, flood, or other calamity) and the Governor has requested federal disaster assistance for the school district's area, an election is not required to approve the tax rate for the tax year after the disaster. This does not include a drought.

Installment Payments on Certain Real Property Damaged in a Disaster Area

Tax Code Section 31.032 allows homeowners and some small businesses whose property is damaged in a disaster and are located in a designated disaster area to pay their taxes in four installments. For small businesses, this includes real and personal property that is owned or leased by a business entity that has gross receipts under a threshold adjusted by the Comptroller's office.

The installment payments apply to taxes imposed on the property by all taxing units on the tax bill before the first anniversary of the disaster. The property owner must pay at least one-fourth of the taxes before the Feb. 1 delinquency date and provide notice that the person will be paying the remaining taxes in installments. The remaining payments are due before April 1, June 1 and Aug. 1, without any penalty or interest. If the delinquency date is not Feb. 1, then other deadlines apply. If an installment payment is missed, the owner faces a 6 percent penalty and also must pay interest at 1 percent for each month of delinquency.

Installment Tax Payments on Certain Business Property in a Disaster Area

Pursuant to Tax Code Section 31.032(h), for the 2009 tax year, the limit on gross receipts under Tax Code Section 31.032(a)(1)(A)(ii) is $5 million. For each subsequent tax year, the Comptroller's office is required to adjust the limit to reflect inflation by using the index that the Comptroller's office considers to most accurately report changes in the purchasing power of the dollar for consumers in this state and to publicize the adjusted limit. Each collector must use the adjusted limit as calculated by the Comptroller's office under this subsection to determine whether property is owned or leased by a business entity described by Tax Code Section 31.032(a)(1)(A)(ii).

Calendar Year Limit on Gross Receipts
2009$5,000,000
2010$5,082,014
2011$5,242,429
2012$5,350,918
2013$5,429,297
2014$5,517,370
2015$5,523,919
2016$5,593,604
2017$5,704,890

HB855 Browser Statement

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.

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