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Title 3. Local Taxation
Subtitle B. Special Property Tax Provisions

Chapter 312. Property Redevelopment and Tax Abatement Act

Subchapter C. Tax Abatement in a County Reinvestment Zone

Sec. 312.401. Designation of Reinvestment Zone.
Sec. 312.4011. Enterprise Zone.
Sec. 312.402. County Tax Abatement Agreement.

[Sections 312.403 to 312.600 reserved for expansion]

Sec. 312.401. Designation of Reinvestment Zone.

(a) The commissioners court of a county eligible to do so under Section 312.002 by order may designate as a reinvestment zone an area of the county that does not include area in the taxing jurisdiction of a municipality.

(b) The commissioners court may not designate an area as a reinvestment zone until it holds a public hearing on the designation and finds that the designation would contribute to the retention or expansion of primary employment or would attract major investment in the zone that would be a benefit to the property to be included in the zone and would contribute to the economic development of the county. At the hearing, interested persons are entitled to speak and present evidence for or against the designation. Notice of the hearing must be given in the same manner as provided for notice of a hearing to be held by a municipality under Section 312.201.

(c) The designation of a reinvestment zone under this section expires five years after the date of the designation and may be renewed for periods not to exceed five years. The expiration of the designation does not affect existing agreements made under this subchapter.

(d) Property may be located both in a reinvestment zone designated by a county under this subchapter and in a reinvestment zone designated by a municipality under Subchapter B.

Amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 185, ch. 2, Sec. 14.12.

Note:

A county is not authorized to amend a Property Tax Code Chapter 312 tax abatement agreement by deleting land from an existing reinvestment zone. A county reinvestment zone under Chapter 312 must be contiguous and may not consist of only a portion of a building. The Legislature intended to leave the substance of criteria for tax abatement agreements to the county commissioners court's discretion, subject to general constraints and certain specific limitations imposed by Chapter 312. Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. No. DM-456 (1997).

Sec. 312.4011. Enterprise Zone.

Designation of an area as an enterprise zone under the Texas Enterprise Zone Act (Chapter 2303, Government Code) constitutes designation of the area as a reinvestment zone under this subchapter without further hearing or other procedural requirements than those provided by the Texas Enterprise Zone Act (Chapter 2303, Government Code).

Added by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 4593, ch. 1106, Sec. 30; amended by 1995 Tex. Laws, p. 545, ch. 76, Sec. 5.95(22).

Cross References:

Texas Enterprise Zone Act, former Art. 5190.7, see ch. 2303, Government Code.

Sec. 312.402. County Tax Abatement Agreement.

(a) The commissioners court may execute a tax abatement agreement with the owner of taxable real property located in a reinvestment zone designated under this subchapter. The court may execute a tax abatement agreement with the owner of a leasehold interest in tax-exempt real property or leasehold interests or improvements on tax-exempt real property that is located in a reinvestment zone designated under this subchapter to exempt a portion of the value of tangible personal property or leasehold interests or improvements on tax-exempt real property located on the real property. The execution, duration, and other terms of an agreement made under this section are governed by the provisions of Sections 312.204, 312.205, and 312.211 applicable to a municipality. Section 312.2041 applies to an agreement made by a county under this section in the same manner as it applies to an agreement made by a municipality under Section 312.204 or 312.211.

(b) A tax abatement agreement made by a county has the same effect on the school districts and other taxing units in which the property subject to the agreement is located as is provided by Sections 312.206 (a) and (b) for an agreement made by a municipality to abate taxes on property located in the taxing jurisdiction of the municipality.

(c) If on or after September 1, 1989, property subject to an agreement with a county under this section is annexed by a municipality during the existence of the agreement, the terms of the county agreement regarding the share of the property to be exempt in each year of the agreement apply to the taxation of the property by the municipality if before the annexation the governing body of the municipality by official action expresses an intent to enter into an agreement with the owner of the property to abate taxes on the property if it is annexed or to be bound by the terms of the county agreement after annexation, even if that official action of the governing body of the municipality expressing that intent occurs before September 1, 1989.

(d) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, property that is located in a reinvestment zone designated by a county under this subchapter and that is owned or leased by a person who is a member of the commissioners court may not be subject to a tax abatement agreement made under this section. Property that is subject to a tax abatement agreement under this section in effect when the person becomes a member of the commissioners court does not cease to be eligible for property tax abatement under that agreement because of the person's membership on the commissioners court.

(e) An agreement made under this section by a county or other taxing unit may be modified or terminated in the same manner and subject to the same limitations as provided by Section 312.208 for an agreement made under Subchapter B.

(f) The Texas Department of Economic Development or its successor may recommend that a taxing unit enter into a tax abatement agreement with a person under this chapter. In determining whether to enter into a tax abatement agreement under this section, the commissioners court of a county shall consider any recommendation made by the Texas Department of Economic Development or its successor.

Amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 185, ch. 2, Sec. 14.12; amended by 1989 Tex. Laws, p. 4687, ch. 1137, Sec. 11; amended by 1997 Tex. Laws, p. 2732, ch. 855, Sec. 14, and p. 5047, ch. 1333, Sec. 7; amended by 2001 Tex. Laws, p. 1135, ch. 640, Sec. 3 and by p. 2104, ch. 1016, Sec. 2; amended by SB 1771, 78th Tex. Leg, 2003, effective September 1, 2003.

Notes:

Tax Code Chapter 312 neither precludes nor authorizes a commissioners court agreement to pay county funds to a private company that are equivalent of an abatement of real property taxes. Local Government Code Section 381.004 neither expressly nor impliedly authorizes a commissioners court to enter into such an agreement. The legislature history indicates that the legislature did not intend that Section 381.004 authorize county economic development loans and grants. Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. No. JC-0092 (1999).

The Tax Code does not preclude a commissioners court from entering into a tax abatement agreement with a corporation merely because a commissioners court member owns a very small percentage of shares in the corporation or the corporation's parent corporation, or because a commissioner's court member invested in the corporation by way of a mutual fund. Letter Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. No. DM-98-001 (1998).

A county is not authorized to amend a tax abatement agreement by deleting land from an existing tax reinvestment zone. A county reinvestment zone must be contiguous and may not consist of only a portion of a building. The Legislature intended to leave the substance of criteria for tax abatement agreements to the discretion of each county commissioners court, subject to very general constraints and certain specific limitations imposed by Chapter 312. Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. No. DM-456 (1997).

[Sections 312.403 to 312.600 reserved for expansion]