Tax Increment Financing

Tax increment financing (TIF) is a tool that local governments can use to publicly finance needed structural improvements and enhanced infrastructure within a defined area. These improvements usually are undertaken to promote the viability of existing businesses and to attract new commercial enterprises to the area. The statutes governing TIF are located in Chapter 311 of the Texas Tax Code.

The cost of improvements to the area is repaid by the contribution of future tax revenues by each taxing unit that levies taxes against the property. Specifically, each taxing unit can chose to dedicate all, a portion of, or none of the tax revenue that is attributable to the increase in property values due to the improvements within the reinvestment zone. The additional tax revenue that is received from the affected properties is referred to as the tax increment. Each taxing unit determines what percentage of its tax increment, if any, it will commit to repayment of the cost of financing the public improvements.

Only a city or county may initiate tax increment financing. A county can designate by order a contiguous geographic area within its borders as a reinvestment zone. A municipality can designate by ordinance a contiguous or noncontiguous geographic area in its corporate limits as a reinvestment zone. A municipality also can designate a reinvestment zone in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. Once a city begins the process of establishing a tax increment financing reinvestment zone, other taxing units may consider participating in the zone.