Texas comptroller’s new local tax web tool empowers taxpayers
Oct 12, 2012 | 1045 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUSTIN — Thousands of cities, counties, special purpose districts and transit authorities in Texas levy property or sales tax, and taxpayers may not be aware of the various tax entities they are paying.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced Wednesday that for the first time Texans can get a more complete picture of local taxes levied in every county through a newly developed Web tool. With the click of a mouse, every citizen in Texas can now see who is collecting property taxes and sales taxes in their county, along with the value of those local taxes.

“Taxpayers deserve to know who’s in their wallets,” Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said. “Texans should know who is taxing them on the local level, how they are being taxed and where their tax dollars are being spent.”

This new resource, available at www.TexasTransparency.org, includes interactive maps that provide a close-up view of the local entities that assess property tax and sales tax in each of Texas’ 254 counties. Combs also released a report titled Your Money and the Taxing Facts that provides context for the Web tool, including trends in local taxation. The report also proposes several recommendations to increase transparency for local taxation and offers tips to help residents exercise their rights as taxpayers.

Over the past two decades, hundreds of property and sales taxing districts have been created (in addition to cities, counties and school districts) to finance services as diverse as crime control, groundwater, libraries, emergency services, utility infrastructure and hospitals. These special purpose districts are growing in number every year, collecting taxes to support operations; oftentimes taxpayers may not be fully aware of how much and to whom they are paying.

“More transparency is critical to individual Texans as they consider tax burdens,” Combs said. “Because so many different local entities have taxing authorities, finding all of that information in one place can be challenging. I want to change that.”

This report is the first in a series of reports titled Texas, It’s Your Money aimed to help taxpayers know more about all the ways their wallets are impacted. Taxpayers can find the report at www.TexasItsYourMoney.org.

Here are the notable types of local taxing entities:

• Cities – Incorporated cities in Texas, including municipalities, towns and villages, may impose a property tax and a sales tax.

• Counties – Texas counties may impose a property tax. To impose a sales tax, the county property tax rate must be reduced.

• School Districts – Every public school district in Texas levies a property tax on taxable property within its boundaries to generate the locally funded portion of its operating revenue and debt service.
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