What is Truth in Taxation, and why is it good news for Texas taxpayers?

An Insider Look at Truth in Taxation in Texas

What is Truth in Taxation in Texas?

Good news is here for Texas taxpayers. Texans now have a voice in their proposed tax rates, and have greater visibility to the taxation process.

In 2019, Texas legislators passed the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act, designed to protect taxpayers and demystify property taxes. This new law (also known as S.B. 2) required local appraisal districts to publish detailed information online to help residents understand proposed budgets and tax rates.

The legislation also required tax rate hearings to be publicly posted. This bill is good news because it puts power in Texas taxpayers’ hands to understand their tax bill, and voice their opinion on proposed tax rates.

In response to this ruling, our company, BIS Consultants, created Truth in Taxation websites to publish these proposed tax rates.  The Truth in Taxation websites show a breakdown of all of the tax rates that contribute to a property owner’s tax bill.

Additionally, Truth in Taxation websites list the dates and locations of public hearings where tax rates are discussed. These sites detail information that allow the public to attend and vote on proposed tax rates.

BIS Consultants went above and beyond the basic requirements set forth by the mandate to offer a robust tool that is easy for appraisal districts and taxpayers alike.

Why is Truth in Taxation important to taxpayers?

Truth in Taxation websites allow property owners to view the individual line items on their property’s tax bill. Because of the new law, and the tool that BIS created, taxpayers are now aware of how their tax bill is calculated.

Truth in Taxation websites also display the dates and time of public hearings where tax rates are proposed. Because of the new law and the tool that BIS created, taxpayers can view, attend, and vote at meetings where their tax rates are proposed.

Where does my tax rate come from?

A property’s taxes are composed of the taxes from each taxing unit. Each taxing unit has it’s own tax rate. Taxing units can include a school district, county, city, hospital district, water district, and more.

All taxable properties will pay county and school taxes. If a property is inside the city limits, a taxpayer may also pay city taxes. If a property falls inside a college district, hospital district, road district, water district, etc. then those units will be included in a tax bill as well. BIS has added visibility through Truth in Taxation websites so taxpayers can view all of the taxing units that compose a tax bill, and the tax rate of each.

In the example below, this Hansford County property falls inside of a county, hospital district, water district, river district, and school district with a special road.

What can I do if I don’t like my tax bill?

The Texas Legislature encourages taxpayers to attend public hearings and meetings where tax rates are proposed and adopted. Because of S.B. 2, Texas taxpayers have a greater degree of control over their tax bills than ever before. Taxpayers can leverage their county’s Truth in Taxation website to view upcoming meeting times so they can vote on the proposed tax rate.

Each taxing unit is required to hold public meetings on the proposed budget and tax rate. Each taxing unit holds their own meetings, so one property may have individual county, city, school district, college district, and water district meetings.

Truth in Taxation websites list the location, date and time of each unit’s meeting. BIS added a calendar feature so taxpayers can send a reminder to their electronic calendar about upcoming meetings. Taxpayers can attend their taxing unit’s meeting and vote to approve or deny the proposed tax rate. Texans do have a voice!

Additionally, Truth in Taxation websites give taxpayers an opportunity to provide feedback to each taxing unit. An example of the feedback form is below:

Thanks to S.B. 2, and the Truth in Taxation websites provided by BIS, Texas taxpayers have a voice in determining their tax rates, and have greater visibility into the taxation process than ever before.

Texas taxpayers are encouraged to use this website to find information about their taxing units, estimated taxes, and information about upcoming public hearings.

A complete listing of counties can be found in the Texas Property Tax Directory.

To learn more about Truth in Taxation in Texas, click here.

Published On: May 18th, 2022 / Categories: Department Highlights /

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