transparency

Special Purpose District Financial and Tax Reporting

In 2017, the 85th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 625 (SB 625), a transparency bill requiring certain special purpose districts to annually provide records and other information concerning district finances and tax rates to the Comptroller of Public Accounts. SB 625 also requires the Comptroller of Public Accounts to create the Special Purpose District Public Information Database on the Comptroller’s Internet website, where information submitted by the districts will be assembled, updated, and made available to the public free of charge. (Texas Local Government Code §203.062; Texas Government Code §403.0241.)

Information submitted by special purpose districts must be transmitted in the form and manner prescribed by the Comptroller. The Comptroller’s office has developed an electronic reporting form to enable entities or their third-party representatives to submit the required information in the approved format starting on January 1, 2018.

Reporting Requirements

A special purpose district (SPD) will be required to report information to the Comptroller for inclusion in the Special Purpose District Public Information Database if it meets all of the following applicability criteria:

  • The district is a political subdivision of the state with geographic boundaries that define its territorial jurisdiction;
  • The district is authorized by the state pursuant to general or special law to impose an ad valorem tax or a sales and use tax, to impose an assessment, or to charge a fee;
  • The district, during the most recent fiscal year, had bonds outstanding, gross receipts in excess of $250,000, or had cash and temporary investments in excess of $250,000; and
  • The district is not a municipality, county, junior college district, independent school district, or political subdivision with statewide jurisdiction.

An SPD meeting all of the above criteria will be required to submit the following information to the Comptroller every year (or, alternatively, to affirm that information previously submitted is still accurate):

  • Texas Taxpayer ID number (i.e., the SPD’s 11-digit Texas Taxpayer ID)
  • Note: If you do not have a Texas Taxpayer ID, please contact our office at 844-519-5676 to receive one.

  • The SPD’s contact information:
    • Name of the entity
    • The first and last name of each board member
    • The name and job title of any employee of the SPD serving as general manager, executive director, or in another position with comparable duties or functions
    • Physical address of the main office
    • Mailing address, if different
    • County or counties within the SPD’s territorial jurisdiction
    • Main telephone number
    • Primary contact email address
    • Internet website address, if applicable
  • Third-party contact information, if applicable
    • Firm name
    • Employee name
    • Job title
    • Mailing address
    • Telephone number
    • Email address
  • The contact information for the SPD’s tax assessor-collector, if applicable
    • Name of representative for the tax assessor-collector
    • Mailing address
    • Telephone number
    • Tax-assessor-collector’s entity name
  • The contact information for the SPD’s utility operator, if applicable
    • Name of representative for the utility operator
    • Company name
    • Mailing address
    • Telephone number
  • The sales and use tax rate that the district imposes for the most recent fiscal year, if applicable
  • The total amount of bonds authorized by the voters of the SPD that are payable wholly or partly from ad valorem taxes, excluding refunding bonds if refunding bonds were separately authorized and excluding contract revenue bonds
  • The aggregate initial principal amount of all bonds issued by the SPD that are payable wholly or partly from ad valorem taxes, excluding refunding bonds and contract revenue bonds
  • Whether the SPD is classified as a water district under Texas Water Code §49.001
  • In addition to the information set forth above, water districts must report:
    • The ad valorem tax rate imposed for the most recent tax year, if any
    • Financial information required to be reported to the Comptroller under Local Government Code §140.008 (b) or (g), including any revenue obligations
  • Non-water districts must also report:
    • The table of ad valorem tax rates for the most recent tax year as described by Tax Code §26.16, in the form required by that section (if the SPD imposes an ad valorem tax)
    • Financial information required to be reported to the Comptroller under Local Government Code §140.008(b), including any revenue obligations

Note: The online Special Purpose District Public Information Database reporting form is currently being developed and will be available no later than January 1, 2018.

Reporting Deadlines

Special purpose districts have a 90-day window to report the required information. Starting in 2018, the annual reporting period begins January 1st and closes on March 31st. All required reporting information must be reported to the Comptroller’s office using the online form no later than March 31st.

Online Database

As required by SB 625, the Comptroller’s office will launch an online database containing special purpose district information by September 1, 2018.

FAQ’s

If, during the last fiscal year, an SPD did not have bonds outstanding, gross receipts or cash and temporary investments in excess of $250,000, but otherwise meets the applicability criteria set forth above, does it still need to provide any information?

The Comptroller of Public Accounts encourages special purpose districts to provide, at a minimum, contact information where district representatives wish to receive notices and other communications from the agency regarding these and any future reporting requirements.

I represent multiple districts; can I just fill out 1 reporting form for the database?

No. You will need to fill out a separate reporting form for each SPD you represent.

I have already submitted the Annual Local Debt Report (pursuant to Texas Local Government Code §140.008) to the Comptroller’s office. Do I need to report that information to the Comptroller again for the Special Purpose District Public Information Database (i.e., to satisfy the reporting requirements in Texas Government Code §403.0241(c)(8))?

An entity that is subject to the debt reporting requirements of both Local Government Code §140.008 and Government Code §403.0241 will need to comply with both requirements separately, which may mean submitting the pertinent information to the Comptroller’s office twice for any given reporting year- once through the Annual Local Debt Report and once for inclusion in the Special Purpose District Public Information Database.

Is there a penalty for noncompliance?

If an entity does not timely report required information and does not cure its failure after notice from the Comptroller, it may be subject to a maximum penalty of $2,000 and listed as a noncompliant entity. The Comptroller has no means to determine if an entity should report information or if reported information has changed.

For other questions regarding this reporting requirement, please email us at transparency@cpa.texas.gov or call 844-519-5676.

The Special Purpose District Public Information Database will be available September 2018