Austin History Center

Austin (Tex.). Tax Department Records

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Austin (Tex.). Tax Department
Title: Austin (Tex.). Tax Department Records
Dates: 1871-1987
Dates (Bulk): 1876-1969
Abstract: The City of Austin Tax Department was responsible for assessing and collecting City of Austin taxes until the early 1980s when the Travis Central Appraisal District was created and the Travis County Assessor-Collector took over responsibility for collecting taxes. The collection contains property detail files, property appraisal sheets and cards, real property tax rolls, scrapbooks and a photo album dating from 1871 to 1981.
Identification: AR.1991.016
Quantity: 25.96 linear feet (23 document boxes, 147 microfilm reels, 3 scrapbooks, 1 photo album, 4 oversize boxes)
Location: Archives Stacks, Oversized Volumes, Microform Room
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, , PO BOX 2287, , Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

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.

Scope and Contents

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.


The collection is arranged into two series:
I. Tax Records
II. Publicity and Photographs


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.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Fay, Virginia.
Ganzert, Gertrude P.
Jordan, Edwin Rudolph.
Klitgaard, Jack.
Lemon, Thomas M.
Marshall, Truett Bryan.
Olson, John Elmer.
Stohl, Clifford A.
Vesperman, Fred.
Witty, Merceil.
Austin (Tex.). Tax Department.
Austin (Tex.). Board of Equalization.
Austin (Tex.).
Travis Co. (Tex.).
Real property tax--Texas--Austin.
Tax assessment--Texas--Austin.
Taxation of personal property--Texas--Austin.

Related Material

General Collection

  • A 352.13521 MA Marshall, Truett B. The Assessment of Personal Property: A Manual for Austin, Texas. 1962.
  • A 352.135 AuB25r Austin (Tex.). Board of Equalization. Report of Austin Tax Board of Equalization to the Austin City Council. 1976.

Austin Files

  • AF Subject Taxation - General T0200
  • AF Subject Taxation - City Taxes (by year) T0200 (2)

Yearly tax rates can be found in the City of Austin Annual Budgets in the Revenue section.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Austin (Tex.). Tax Department Records (AR.1991.016). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1976/012

Donation Date: 1983

Donor #: DO/2014/007

Donation Date: 2014

Processing Information

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

Tax Records, 1871-1983

Detail Files, circa 1920s-1930s
1 Plat # 1-24, circa 1920s-1930s
2 Plat # 25-40, circa 1920s-1930s
3 Plat # 41-60, circa 1920s-1930s
4 Plat # 61-80, circa 1920s-1930s
5 Plat # 81-96, circa 1920s-1930s
6 Plat # 97-120, circa 1920s-1930s
7 Plat # 121-155, circa 1920s-1930s
8 Plat # 156-312, circa 1920s-1930s
Appraisal Sheets and Cards, 1940s-1980s
Location Box
Oversize Volumes 1 Plat # 1-25, 1940s
2 Plat # 25B-49, 1940s
3 Plat # 51-185, 1940s
4 Plat # 187-342, 1940s
9 Parcel # 1 0003 0102 - 1 1009 0209, 1950s-1960s
10 Parcel # 1 1103 0311 - 1 3205 0601, 1950s-1960s
11 Parcel # 2 0008 0108 - 2 0420 0212, 1950s-1960s
12 Parcel # 2 0501 0102 - 2 0612 1108, 1950s-1960s
13 Parcel # 2 0613 0119 - 2 0809 2401, 1950s-1960s
14 Parcel # 2 0811 0103 - 2 1002 1910, 1950s-1960s
15 Parcel # 2 1002 2004 - 2 1109 2004, 1950s-1960s
16 Parcel # 2 1117 0115 - 2 1415 0503, 1950s-1960s
17 Parcel # 2 1502 0201 - 2 2101 0522, 1950s-1960s
18 Parcel # 2 2102 0709 - 2 2604 0714, 1950s-1960s
19 Parcel # 2 2607 0117 - 2 3510 0820, 1950s-1960s
20 Parcel # 2 3514 0101 - 2 4908 0202 & 3 0001 0301 - 3 1100 0303, 1950s-1960s
21 Parcel # 4 0000 0107 - 4 1512 0502, 1950s-1960s
22 Parcel # 8 3 0522 0112 - 8 3 0923 0803 & 9 1 0000 0001 - 9 4 4314 0103, 1950s-1960s
23 Parcel # 2 0101 0901 – 2 0604 1302, 1950s-1980s
Tax Rolls, 1876-1952, 1981
More detailed microfilm box inventory available here.
Location COACabinet
Microform Room Drawer 1 By Ward, 1876-1891
Drawer 1 By Block or Division, 1908-1926
Drawer 1 By Plat Number, 1927-1952
Drawer 2 By Name, 1908-1943
Oversize Volumes Austin Independent School District (Volume 1 and 2), 1981
Tax Reports, 1871-1909
Location COACabinet
Microform Room Drawer 2 Tax reports, 1871-1909

Publicity and Photograph Album, 1952-1987

Oversize Volumes "In the News" scrapbooks, 1952-1974, 1987
Photo album, 1963-1979