2009 Truth in Taxation Guide

by Coy Holcombe.  

The Comptroller’s office has issued the 2009 Truth in Taxation Guide for school districts. This guide aides school districts in the steps necessary to set an M & O and I & S tax rate. The guide provides an overview of the tax setting process, definitions used during the process, a summary of the new laws that will affect setting tax rates, as well as worksheets for calculating the effective tax rate and the rollback rate. In addition, the guide provides the notices that districts must publish in a local newspaper.

Over the next few days, we will talk about different parts of the 2009 Guide and how it impacts EISD. Today, we will examine the steps in adopting a tax rate for EISD. The first step in adopting a tax rate for school districts is to calculate the required rates. School districts must perform two different calculations: the effective tax rate and the rollback rate. These rates are dependent upon certified tax roles provided by our appraisal districts (EISD works with Henderson County and Van Zandt County Appraisal Districts). The appraisal districts must have the certified values to school districts no later than July 27.

The next step is to draft a budget and decide how much tax to levy. We have actually been working on a budget for the 09-10 school year since last December. Usually, districts use estimates of taxable value (based on prior years) to start the budget process.

The third step is to adopt the district’s tax rate. Before a district may adopt a tax rate, the board must propose a tax rate, publish the tax rate proposed, along with other information, and publish the time and place of a public hearing to discuss the tax rate and budget.

The fourth step is to administer a rollback election, if necessary. A rollback election is automatically generated in a school district if the board adopts a tax rate above the rollback rate. There is no petition necessary for a school district rollback election.

Finally, school districts prepare and mail out the tax bills.

Over the next few days, if you have any questions about the tax rate process or the budget process, please do not hesitate to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.


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