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Texas Constitution
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Article VIII. Taxation and Revenue.

Sec. 1-l. Property Used for Control of Air, Water or Land Pollution; Exemption of Property from Ad Valorem Taxation.

(a) The legislature by general law may exempt from ad valorem taxation all or part of real and personal property used, constructed, acquired or installed wholly or partly to meet or exceed rules or regulations adopted by any environmental protection agency of the United States, this state, or a political subdivision of this state for the prevention, monitoring, control or reduction of air, water or land pollution.

(b) This section applies to real and personal property used as a facility, device or method for the control of air, water or land pollution that would otherwise be taxable for the first time on or after January 1, 1994.

(c) This section does not authorize the exemption for ad valorem taxation of real or personal property that was subject to a tax abatement agreement executed before January 1, 1994.

Cross References:
Pollution control property, see Sec. 11.31.

Sec. 1-m. Property on Which Water Conservation Initiative Has Been Implemented; Exemption from Ad Valorem Taxation.

The legislature by general law may authorize a taxing unit to grant an exemption or other relief from ad valorem taxes on property on which a water conservation initiative has been implemented.

Cross References:
Water conservation initiative exemption, see Sec. 11.32.

Sec. 1-n. Authorization to Exempt from Ad Valorem Taxation Raw Cocoa and Green Coffee.

(a) The legislature by general law may exempt from ad valorem taxation raw cocoa and green coffee that is held in Harris County.

(b) The legislature may impose additional requirements for qualification for an exemption under this section.

Cross References:
Exempting raw cocoa and green coffee in Harris County, see Sec. 11.33.

Sec. 1-n. Authorization to Exempt from Ad Valorem Taxation Tangible Personal Property.

(a) To promote economic development in this state, the legislature by general law may exempt from ad valorem taxation goods, wares, merchandise, other tangible personal property, and ores, other than oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products, if:

(1) the property is acquired in or imported into this state to be forwarded to another location in this state or outside this state, whether or not the intention to forward the property to another location in this state or outside this state is formed or the destination to which the property is forwarded is specified when the property is acquired in or imported into this state;

(2) the property is detained at a location in this state that is not owned or under the control of the property owner for assembling, storing, manufacturing, processing, or fabricating purposes by the person who acquired or imported the property; and

(3) the property is transported to another location in this state or outside this state not later than 270 days after the date the person acquired the property in or imported the property into this state.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) tangible personal property includes aircraft and aircraft parts;

(2) property imported into this state includes property brought into this state;

(3) property forwarded to another location in this state or outside this state includes property transported to another location in this state or outside this state or to be affixed to an aircraft to be transported to another location in this state or outside this state; and

(4) property detained at a location in this state for assembling, storing, manufacturing, processing, or fabricating purposes includes property, aircraft, or aircraft parts brought into this state or acquired in this state and used by the person who acquired the property, aircraft, or aircraft parts in this state or who brought the property, aircraft, or aircraft parts into this state for the purpose of repair or maintenance of aircraft operated by a certificated air carrier.

(c) A property owner who is eligible to receive the exemption authorized by Section 1-j of this article may apply for the exemption authorized by the legislature under this section in the manner provided by general law, subject to the provisions of Subsection (d) of this section. A property owner who receives the exemption authorized by the legislature under this section is not entitled to receive the exemption authorized by Section 1-j of this article for the same property.

(d) The governing body of a political subdivision that imposes ad valorem taxes may provide for the taxation of property exempt under a law adopted under Subsection (a) of this section and not exempt from ad valorem taxation by any other law. Before acting to tax the exempt property, the governing body of the political subdivision must conduct a public hearing at which members of the public are permitted to speak for or against the taxation of the property.

(e) Expired Jan. 1, 2003.

Sec. 2. Occupation Taxes; Equality and Uniformity; Exemptions from Taxation.

(a) All occupation taxes shall be equal and uniform upon the same class of subjects within the limits of the authority levying the tax; but the legislature may, by general laws, exempt from taxation public property used for public purposes; actual places of religious worship, also any property owned by a church or by a strictly religious society for the exclusive use as a dwelling place for the ministry of such church or religious society, and which yields no revenue whatever to such church or religious society; provided that such exemption shall not extend to more property than is reasonably necessary for a dwelling place and in no event more than one acre of land; any property owned by a church or by a strictly religious society that owns an actual place of religious worship if the property is owned for the purpose of expansion of the place of religious worship or construction of a new place of religious worship and the property yields no revenue whatever to the church or religious society, provided that the legislature by general law may provide eligibility limitations for the exemption and may impose sanctions related to the exemption in furtherance of the taxation policy of this subsection; any property that is owned by a church or by a strictly religious society and is leased by that church or strictly religious society to a person for use as a school, as defined by Section 11.21, Tax Code, or a successor statute, for educational purposes; places of burial not held for private or corporate profit; solar or wind-powered energy devices; all buildings used exclusively and owned by persons or associations of persons for school purposes and the necessary furniture of all schools and property used exclusively and reasonably necessary in conducting any association engaged in promoting the religious, educational and physical development of boys, girls, young men or young women operating under a State or National organization of like character; also the endowment funds of such institutions of learning and religion not used with a view to profit; and when the same are invested in bonds or mortgages, or in land or other property which has been and shall hereafter be bought in by such institutions under foreclosure sales made to satisfy or protect such bonds or mortgages, that such exemption of such land and property shall continue only for two years after the purchase of the same at such sale by such institutions and no longer, and institutions engaged primarily in public charitable functions, which may conduct auxiliary activities to support those charitable functions; and all laws exempting property from taxation other than the property mentioned in this Section shall be null and void.

(b) The Legislature may, by general law, exempt property owned by a disabled veteran or by the surviving spouse and surviving minor children of a disabled veteran. A disabled veteran is a veteran of the armed services of the United States who is classified as disabled by the Veterans' Administration or by a successor to that agency; or the military service in which he served. A veteran who is certified as having a disability of less than 10 percent is not entitled to an exemption. A veteran having a disability rating of not less than 10 percent nor more than 30 percent may be granted an exemption from taxation for property valued at up to $5,000. A veteran having a disability rating of more than 30 percent but not more than 50 percent may be granted an exemption from taxation for property valued at up to $7,500. A veteran having a disability rating of more than 50 percent but not more than 70 percent may be granted an exemption from taxation for property valued at up to $10,000. A veteran who has a disability rating of more than 70 percent, or a veteran who has a disability rating of not less than 10 percent and has attained the age of 65, or a disabled veteran whose disability consists of the loss or loss of use of one or more limbs, total blindness in one or both eyes, or paraplegia, may be granted an exemption from taxation for property valued at up to $12,000. The spouse and children of any member of the United States Armed Forces who dies while on active duty may be granted an exemption from taxation for property valued at up to $5,000. A deceased disabled veteran's surviving spouse and children may be granted an exemption which in the aggregate is equal to the exemption to which the veteran was entitled when the veteran died.

(c) The Legislature by general law may exempt from ad valorem taxation property that is owned by a nonprofit organization composed primarily of members or former members of the armed forces of the United States or its allies and chartered or incorporated by the United States Congress.

(d) Unless otherwise provided by general law enacted after January 1, 1995, the amounts of the exemptions from ad valorem taxation to which a person is entitled under Section 11.22, Tax Code, for a tax year that begins on or after the date this subsection takes effect are the maximum amounts permitted under Subsection (b) of this section instead of the amounts specified by Section 11.22, Tax Code. This subsection may be repealed by the Legislature by general law.

Cross References:
Exemption of charitable organizations, see Sec. 11.18.
Exemption of religious organizations, see Sec. 11.20.
Exemption of youth spiritual, mental, and physical associations, see Sec. 11.19.
Exemption of schools, see Sec. 11.21.
Exemption of cemeteries, see Sec. 11.17.
Exemption for disabled veterans and their survivors, see Sec. 11.22.
Exemption for solar and wind-powered energy devices, see Sec. 11.27.
Exemption for miscellaneous organizations, see Sec. 11.23.

Notes:
On September 13, 2003, Texas voters approved H.J.R. 55, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, to amend Section 2(a) to authorize the legislature to exempt property owned by a church or religious society and leased for use as a school and to exempt land owned by a church or religious society that owns an actual place of worship, if the land is owned for the purpose of expanding an existing place or constructing a new place of worship.

On November 2, 1999, Texas voters approved H.J.R. 4, 76th Legislature, Regular Session, 1999, to delete purely public charity for institutions in public charitable functions.

Sec. 3. General Laws; Public Purposes.

Taxes shall be levied and collected by general laws and for public purposes only.

Sec. 4. Surrender or Suspension of Taxing Power.

The power to tax corporations and corporate property shall not be surrendered or suspended by act of the Legislature, by any contract or grant to which the State shall be a party.

Sec. 8. Railroad Companies; Assessment and Collection of Taxes.

All property of railroad companies shall be assessed, and the taxes collected in the several counties in which said property is situated, including so much of the roadbed and fixtures as shall be in each county. The rolling stock may be assessed in gross in the county where the principal office of the company is located, and the county tax paid upon it shall be apportioned as provided by general law in proportion to the distance such road may run through any such county, among the several counties through which the road passes, as a part of their tax assets.

Cross References:
Intrastate apportionment of rolling stock, see Sec. 24.37.

Sec. 9. Maximum State Tax; County, City and Town Levies; County Funds; Local Road Laws.

(a) No county, city or town shall levy a tax rate in excess of Eighty Cents (80) on the One Hundred Dollars ($100) valuation in any one (1) year for general fund, permanent improvement fund, road and bridge fund and jury fund purposes.

(b) At the time the Commissioners Court meets to levy the annual tax rate for each county it shall levy whatever tax rate may be needed for the four (4) constitutional purposes; namely, general fund, permanent improvement fund, road and bridge fund and jury fund so long as the Court does not impair any outstanding bonds or other obligations and so long as the total of the foregoing tax levies does not exceed Eighty Cents (80) on the One Hundred Dollars ($100) valuation in any one (1) year. Once the Court has levied the annual tax rate, the same shall remain in force and effect during that taxable year.

(c) The Legislature may authorize an additional annual ad valorem tax to be levied and collected for the further maintenance of the public roads; provided that a majority of the qualified voters of the county voting at an election to be held for that purpose shall approve the tax, not to exceed Fifteen Cents (15) on the One Hundred Dollars ($100) valuation of the property subject to taxation in such county.

(d) Any county may put all tax money collected by the county into one general fund, without regard to the purpose or source of each tax.

(e) The Legislature may pass local laws for the maintenance of the public roads and highways, without the local notice required for special or local laws.

(f) This Section shall not be construed as a limitation of powers delegated to counties, cities or towns by any other Section or Sections of this Constitution.

Sec. 10. Release from Payment of Taxes.

The Legislature shall have no power to release the inhabitants of, or property in, any county, city or town from the payment of taxes levied for State or county purposes, unless in case of great public calamity in any such county, city or town, when such release may be made by a vote of two-thirds of each House of the Legislature.

Sec. 11. Place of Assessment; Value of Property not Rendered by Owner.

All property, whether owned by persons or corporations shall be assessed for taxation, and the taxes paid in the county where situated, but the Legislature may, by a two-thirds vote, authorize the payment of taxes of non-residents of counties to be made at the office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts. And all lands and other property not rendered for taxation by the owner thereof shall be assessed at its fair value by the proper officer.

Sec. 13. Sales of Land and Other Property for Taxes; Redemption.

(a) Provision shall be made by the Legislature for the sale of a sufficient portion of all lands and other property for the taxes due thereon that have not been paid.

(b) The deed of conveyance to the purchaser for all lands and other property thus sold shall be held to vest a good and perfect title in the purchaser thereof, subject only to redemption as provided by this section or impeachment for actual fraud.

(c) The former owner of a residence homestead, land designated for agricultural use, or a mineral interest sold for unpaid taxes shall within two years from date of the filing for record of the Purchaser's Deed have the right to redeem the property on the following basis:

(1) Within the first year of the redemption period, upon the payment of the amount of money paid for the property, including the Tax Deed Recording Fee and all taxes, penalties, interest, and costs paid plus an amount not exceeding 25 percent of the aggregate total; and

(2) Within the last year of the redemption period, upon the payment of the amount of money paid for the property, including the Tax Deed Recording Fee and all taxes, penalties, interest, and costs paid plus an amount not exceeding 50 percent of the aggregate total.

(d) If the residence homestead or land designated for agricultural use is sold pursuant to a suit to enforce the collection of the unpaid taxes, the Legislature may limit the application of Subsection (c) of this section to property used as a residence homestead when the suit was filed and to land designated for agricultural use when the suit was filed.

(e) The former owner of real property not covered by Subsection (c) of this section sold for unpaid taxes shall within six months from the date of filing for record of the Purchaser's Deed have the right to redeem the property upon the payment of the amount of money paid for the property, including the Tax Deed Recording Fee and all taxes, penalties, interest, and costs paid plus an amount not exceeding 25 percent of the aggregate total.

Cross References:
Redemption of property sold for unpaid taxes, see Sec. 34.21.

Notes:
On September 13, 2003, Texas voters approved H.J.R. 51, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, to add Section 13(e) to extend the redemption period for a mineral interest sold for unpaid taxes at a tax sale from six months to two years, effective January 1, 2004.

Sec. 14. Assessor and Collector of Taxes.

(a) The qualified voters of each county shall elect an assessor-collector of taxes for the county, except as otherwise provided by this section.

(b) In any county having a population of less than 10,000 inhabitants, as determined by the most recent decennial census of the United States, the sheriff of the county, in addition to that officer's other duties, shall be the assessor-collector of taxes, except that the commissioners court of such a county may submit to the qualified voters of the county at an election the question of electing an assessor-collector of taxes as a county officer separate from the office of sheriff. If a majority of the voters voting in such an election approve of electing an assessor-collector of taxes for the county, then such official shall be elected at the next general election for the constitutional term of office as is provided for other tax assessor-collectors in this state.

(c) An assessor-collector of taxes shall hold office for four years; and shall perform all the duties with respect to assessing property for the purpose of taxation and of collecting taxes, as may be prescribed by the Legislature.

Notes:
The elected county tax assessor-collector is not constitutionally required to appraise property within an appraisal district. Article VIII, Sec. 18, Tex. Const., separates appraisal from the assessing function of the county tax assessor-collector, and directs the legislature to provide for a single appraisal within each county. The appraisal districts are charged with responsibility for appraising taxable property. Wilson v. Galveston County Appraisal District, 713 S.W.2d 98 (Tex. 1986).

Sec. 15. Lien of Assessment; Seizure and Sale of Property.

The annual assessment made upon landed property shall be a special lien thereon; and all property, both real and personal, belonging to any delinquent taxpayer shall be liable to seizure and sale for the payment of all the taxes and penalties due by such delinquent; and such property may be sold for the payment of the taxes and penalties due by such delinquent, under such regulations as the Legislature may provide.

Cross References:
Tax liens and personal liability, see Secs. 32.01-32.07.
Seizure and sale of property for unpaid taxes, see Secs. 34.01-34.23.

Sec. 17. Specification of Subjects not Limitation of Legislature's Power.

The specification of the objects and subjects of taxation shall not deprive the Legislature of the power to require other subjects or objects to be taxed in such manner as may be consistent with the principles of taxation fixed in this Constitution.

Sec. 18. Equalization of Valuations; Single Appraisal.

(a) The Legislature shall provide for equalizing, as near as may be, the valuation of all property subject to or rendered for taxation, and may also provide for the classification of all lands with reference to their value in the several counties.

(b) A single appraisal within each county of all property subject to ad valorem taxation by the county and all other taxing units located therein shall be provided by general law. The Legislature, by general law, may authorize appraisals outside a county when political subdivisions are situated in more than one county or when two or more counties elect to consolidate appraisal services.

(c) The Legislature, by general law, shall provide for a single board of equalization for each appraisal entity consisting of qualified persons residing within the territory appraised by that entity. Members of the board of equalization may not be elected officials of the county or of the governing body of a taxing unit.

(d) The Legislature shall prescribe by general law the methods, timing, and administrative process for implementing the requirements of this section.

Cross References:
Establishment of appraisal districts, see Sec. 6.01.
Boundaries of appraisal district, see Sec. 6.02.
Establishment of appraisal review boards, see Sec. 6.41.
Powers of appraisal review board generally, see Secs. 41.01 - 41.69.

Notes:
The elected county tax assessor-collector is not constitutionally required to appraise property within an appraisal district. Article VIII, Sec. 18, Tex. Const., separates appraisal from the assessing function of the county tax assessor-collector, and directs the legislature to provide for a single appraisal within each county. The appraisal districts are charged with responsibility for appraising taxable property. Wilson v. Galveston County Appraisal District, 713 S.W.2d 98 (Tex. 1986).

Sec. 19. Farm Products, Livestock, Poultry, and Family Supplies; Exemption.

Farm products, livestock, and poultry in the hands of the producer, and family supplies for home and farm use, are exempt from all taxation until otherwise directed by a two-thirds vote of all the members elect to both houses of the Legislature.

Cross References:
Exemption of farm products in the hands of the producer, see Sec. 11.16.

Sec. 19a. Implements of Husbandry; Exemption.

Implements of husbandry that are used in the production of farm or ranch products are exempt from ad valorem taxation.

Cross References:
Exemption for implements of husbandry, see Sec. 11.161.

Sec. 20. Fair Cash Market Value not to be Exceeded; Discounts for Advance Payment.

No property of any kind in this State shall ever be assessed for ad valorem taxes at a greater value than its fair cash market value nor shall any Board of Equalization of any governmental or political subdivision or taxing district within this State fix the value of any property for tax purposes at more than its fair cash market value; provided that in order to encourage the prompt payment of taxes, the Legislature shall have the power to provide that the taxpayer shall be allowed by the State and all governmental and political subdivisions and taxing districts of the State a three percent (3 percent) discount on ad valorem taxes due the State or due any governmental or political subdivision or taxing district of the State if such taxes are paid ninety (90) days before the date when they would otherwise become delinquent; and the taxpayer shall be allowed a two percent (2 percent) discount on said taxes is paid sixty (60) days before said taxes would become delinquent; and the taxpayer shall be allowed a one percent (1 percent) discount if said taxes are paid thirty (30) days before they would otherwise become delinquent. The Legislature shall pass necessary laws for the proper administration of this Section.

Cross References:
Appraisal at market value, see Sec. 23.01(a).
Market value defined, see Sec. 1.04(7).
Remedies for excessive appraisal, see Secs. 41.41(1), 42.23, 42.25 & 42.09.
Discounts for early payment of taxes, see Sec. 31.05.

Sec. 21. Increase in Total Property Taxes; Notice and Hearing; Calculation.

(a) Subject to any exceptions prescribed by general law, the total amount of property taxes imposed by a political subdivision in any year may not exceed the total amount of property taxes imposed by that subdivision in the preceding year unless the governing body of the subdivision gives notice of its intent to consider an increase in taxes and holds a public hearing on the proposed increase before it increases those total taxes. The legislature shall prescribe by law the form, content, timing, and methods of giving the notice and the rules for the conduct of the hearing.

(b) In calculating the total amount of taxes imposed in the current year for the purposes of Subsection (a) of this section, the taxes on property in territory added to the political subdivision since the preceding year and on new improvements that were not taxable in the preceding year are excluded. In calculating the total amount of taxes imposed in the preceding year for the purposes of Subsection (a) of this section, the taxes imposed on real property that is not taxable by the subdivision in the current year are excluded.

(c) The legislature by general law shall require that, subject to reasonable exceptions, a property owner be given notice of a revaluation of his property and a reasonable estimate of the amount of taxes that would be imposed on his property if the total amount of property taxes for the subdivision were not increased according to any law enacted pursuant to Subsection (a) of this section. The notice must be given before the procedures required in Subsection (a) are instituted.

Cross References:
Notice of appraised value, see Sec. 25.19.
Calculating an effective tax rate, see Sec. 26.04.
Providing notice and hearing on tax increase, see Sec. 26.06 and Sec. 44.004, Education Code.
Limitation on adoption of a tax rate, see Sec. 26.05(b).
Texas Constitution, Art. 8, Sec. 23.

Sec. 23. Appraisal of Property; Enforcement of Standards.

(a) There shall be no statewide appraisal of real property for ad valorem tax purposes; however, this shall not preclude formula distribution of tax revenues to political subdivisions of the state.

(b) Administrative and judicial enforcement of uniform standards and procedures for appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes, as prescribed by general law, shall originate in the county where the tax is imposed, except that the legislature may provide by general law for political subdivisions with boundaries extending outside the county.

Sec. 24. Personal Income Tax; Dedication of Proceeds.

(a) A general law enacted by the legislature that imposes a tax on the net incomes of natural persons, including a person's share of partnership and unincorporated association income, must provide that the portion of the law imposing the tax not take effect until approved by a majority of the registered voters voting in a statewide referendum held on the question of imposing the tax. The referendum must specify the rate of the tax that will apply to taxable income as defined by law.

(b) A general law enacted by the legislature that increases the rate of the tax, or changes the tax, in a manner that results in an increase in the combined income tax liability of all persons subject to the tax may not take effect until approved by a majority of the registered voters voting in a statewide referendum held on the question of increasing the income tax. A determination of whether a bill proposing a change in the tax would increase the combined income tax liability of all persons subject to the tax must be made by comparing the provisions of the proposed change in law with the provisions of the law for the most recent year in which actual tax collections have been made. A referendum held under this subsection must specify the manner in which the proposed law would increase the combined income tax liability of all persons subject to the tax.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this section, the legislature may amend or repeal a tax approved by the voters under this section without submitting the amendment or the repeal to the voters as provided by Subsection (a) of this section.

(d) If the legislature repeals a tax approved by the voters under this section, the legislature may reenact the tax without submitting the reenactment to the voters as provided by Subsection (a) of the section only if the effective date of the reenactment of the tax is before the first anniversary of the effective date of the repeal.

(e) The legislature may provide for the taxation of income in a manner which is consistent with federal law.

(f) In the first year in which a tax described by Subsection (a) is imposed and during the first year of any increase in the tax that is subject to Subsection (b) of this section, not less than two-thirds of all net revenues remaining after payment of all refunds allowed by law and expenses of collection from the tax shall be used to reduce the rate of ad valorem maintenance and operation taxes levied for the support of primary and secondary public education. In subsequent years, not less than two-thirds of all net revenues from the tax shall be used to continue such ad valorem tax relief.

(g) The net revenues remaining after the dedication of money from the tax under Subsection (f) of this section shall be used for support of education, subject to legislative appropriation, allocation, and direction.

(h) The maximum rate at which a school district may impose ad valorem maintenance and operation taxes is reduced by an amount equal to one cent per $100 valuation for each one cent per $100 valuation that the school district's ad valorem maintenance and operation tax is reduced by the minimum amount of money dedicated under Subsection (f) of this section, provided that a school district may subsequently increase the maximum ad valorem maintenance and operation tax rate if the increased maximum rate is approved by a majority of the voters of the school district voting at an election called and held for that purpose. The legislature by general law shall provide for the tax relief that is required by Subsection (f) and this subsection.

(i) Subsections (f) and (h) of this section apply to ad valorem maintenance and operation taxes levied by a school district on or after the first January 1 after the date on which a tax on the net incomes of natural persons, including a person's share of partnership and unincorporated association income, begins to apply to that income, except that if the income tax begins to apply on a January 1, Subsections (f) and (h) of this section apply to ad valorem maintenance and operation taxes levied on or after that date.

(j) A provision of this section prevails over a conflicting provision of Article VII, Section 3, of this Constitution to the extent of the conflict.

Cross References:
Equality and uniformity and income tax, see Article VIII, Sec. 1.