Texas 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.

TIF may be initiated only by a city. If a property is located outside of the city limits (within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction or beyond), it is not eligible for TIF. Once a city has initiated TIF, counties, school districts, and special districts are allowed to consider participating in the TIF agreement.