In 2017, the 85th 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.)
New – In 2019, the 86th Legislature passed House Bill 3001 which removes duplicative reporting requirements by amending Local Government Code §140.008. Starting on September 1, 2019, special purpose districts, as described by Government Code §403.0241(b), that annually submit their Special Purpose District Financial and Tax Report to the Comptroller no longer have to also submit the Local Government Debt Report.
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.
As required by Section 403.0241, Government Code, the Comptroller’s office has posted an online database containing financial and tax information from various special purpose districts across the state. The database is updated continuously and provides self-reported information from the districts. Learn more about the Special Purpose District Public Information Database (SPDPID) below.
SPDs that meet the reporting requirements annually submit their information to the Comptroller. SPDs may update or adjust their submitted information at any point. The Comptroller will review and post these reports to the online database. The database provides public access to these annual reports and allows users to view any of the information submitted. The database can also be downloaded directly from Data.Texas.gov.
Government Code Section 403.0241, Subsection (c) dictates the information necessary to operate and update the database. The information must be updated annually by reporting entities. The information presented on the SPDPID is self-reported by submitting entities or third parties on their behalf and has not been independently verified by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Specific questions or concerns regarding an entity's submitted information should be directed to that entity.
The database includes information only from entities that meet criteria outlined in Government Code Section 403.0241, Subsection (b) and who have reported to the Comptroller. The database may not include some SPDs from across the state because the entity either did not meet the reporting criteria or failed to submit a report to the Comptroller.
All reporting is completed through the Comptroller's eSystems, a secure online portal for a variety of online transactions. If the reported information changes following the first report, entities can edit future reports any time prior to the start of the next reporting period.
New – Recent amended language also states the documents sent to the Comptroller’s office related to this reporting requirement will now need to comply with Texas EIR Accessibility statutes and rules. Due to this change, the Comptroller’s office will no longer accept Excel or PDF formats for reporting their debt information. Reporting entities will now have the choice of manually entering their debt information through the online portal or providing a direct link to the entity’s posted debt material on its website.
Special purpose districts that are classified as a water district under Texas Water Code §49.001 also have the option to physically maintain the required documentation at the district’s main office for inspection by any person. Contact information will be requested for public access.
Refer to Assistance for SPD Financial and Tax Reporting for details.
All special purpose districts (SPDs), defined by §403.0241(b) as political subdivisions of the state with geographic boundaries that define their territorial jurisdiction, meeting certain criteria are required to report their information. Exempt are those political subdivisions defined as municipalities, counties, junior college districts, independent school districts, or political subdivisions with statewide jurisdiction.
SPDs meeting at least one of the following applicability criteria from each category below (1 and 2) are required to annually report their information to the Comptroller for inclusion in the Special Purpose District Public Information Database:
To establish a more robust database, the Comptroller encourages all SPDs to provide their general information for inclusion in the public database, whether they meet the criteria above or not.
If an entity is unsure whether it is mandated to comply with these reporting requirements, the Comptroller recommends consulting with a legal or financial professional to make this determination. Agency staff are unable to advise in this regard.
Special purpose districts are provided a 90-day window to gather and report the required information. The reporting period begins annually on January 1st and reports are due by April 1st.
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.
The term “temporary investments” is analogous to “cash equivalents.” This is defined in the State of Texas' Comprehensive Annual Financial Report as short-term, highly liquid investments that are both readily convertible to known amounts of cash and near maturity. They present an insignificant risk of decreasing in value due to interest rate changes.
Investments with an original maturity of three months or less, and used for cash management rather than investing activities, are considered cash equivalents.
Examples could be:
Use this definition to determine if the entity you represent meets the reporting criteria.
No. You will need to fill out a separate reporting form for each SPD you represent.
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.
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.