In 2017, the 85th Legislature passed 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 (See Senate Bill 625 (SB 625). ) SB 625 also requires the Comptroller of Public Accounts to create the Special Purpose District Public Information Database, where information submitted by the districts will be assembled, updated, and made available to the public free of charge. (See Texas Local Government Code §203.062; Texas Government Code §403.0241.)
Starting on September 1, 2019, special purpose districts that annually submit their Special Purpose District Financial and Tax Report to the Comptroller no longer have to 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.
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.
Reporting entities have the choice of manually entering their debt information through the online portal or providing a direct link to the entity’s debt material posted on its website.
Special purpose districts that are classified as a water district under Texas Water Code §49.001 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.
Only the district's base property tax rate for the most recent tax year should be reported.