Austin (Tex.). Tax Department Records
An Inventory of the Collection
The City of Austin Tax Department was responsible for assessing and collecting City of Austin taxes until the early 1980s. In January 1982, Texas established an appraisal district in each county which provides a single appraisal or valuation of each piece of property. Later that same year, as a cost cutting decision, the Austin City Council voted to adopt the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector's proposal that the county collect the City of Austin taxes. The Tax Department was then reduced to two members to collect taxes on city land in Williamson County, city liquor taxes and the city hotel/motel bed tax. Eventually the Tax Department was dissolved completely and today the Financial and Administrative Services Department, with direction from the Austin City Council, is responsible for taxation issues such as tax rates and Hotel Occupancy Taxes.
The Tax Records series (1871-1983) includes detail files, appraisal sheets, appraisal cards, tax rolls and tax reports. The detail files, circa 1920s-1930s, are an incomplete set of handwritten notes and portions of deed records that textually or visually describe property boundaries. In addition there is some appraisal computation. The appraisal sheets, dated from the 1940s, are in plat number order and include land and improvement value for a piece of property as well as information about the building layout (including a diagram), type of utilities, foundation, interior and exterior walls, roof, interior floor and finishes, basement, and attic. The appraisal cards, the bulk of which date from the 1950s and 1960s (with one box dating to the 1980s), include similar information as the appraisal sheets plus building permit record, topography and street improvements. Neither the appraisal sheets or cards include the name of the owner of the property and both sets are incomplete. The majority of the tax rolls are on microfilm and include owner name and land and improvement values listed individually. The tax rolls are arranged/accessed by different methods depending upon the years: by ward (1876-1891); by block or division (1908-1926); by plat number (1927-1952); by name (1908-1943). The tax roll of the Austin Independent School District for 1981 is in print form and arranged by parcel number. Information provided is land and improvements appraisal, total assessed value and amount of taxes owed. Lastly, there is a single microfilm reel with the City Tax Assessor/Collector reports dating from 1871-1909 that lists names of tax payers from whom taxes were collection and for what reason as well as reports of the total amount taxes collection by the City by year.
The Publicity and Photographs series (1952-1987) contains the Tax Department's "In the News" scrapbooks and a photo album. The three "In the News" scrapbooks span the years 1952 to 1974 and 1987 and contain newspaper clippings related to taxation and the Tax Department. The photo album, dated 1963 to 1979, contains photographs of Tax Department employees on the job and at retirement parties.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Austin (Tex.). Tax Department Records (AR.1991.016). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1976/012
Donation Date: 1983
Donor #: DO/2014/007
Donation Date: 2014
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults in 2014.
Other Finding Aid
For additional information about using this collection and other property tax related materials at the Austin History Center please see the Tax Resources at the Austin History Center handout in the Reading Room.
Detailed Description of the Collection