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Texas voters are scheduled to consider a constitutional amendment Sept. 13 to abolish a controversial trailer tax that was mistakenly written into state law, contradicting the intent of a 2001 ballot measure that was supposed to exempt travel trailers from various taxing authorities.
As of early August, both the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle recommended that Texas voters support the amendment, which the Dallas Morning News said would not only correct the law, but also allow taxing authorities to tax trailers that function as homes.
Most Texas counties, meanwhile, have apparently heeded calls by Texas Gov. Rick Perry not to collect the tax. The Texas legislature also acknowledged the mistake in April by approving a bill that provides part of the legal framework to abolish the tax.
However, at least one locale, Tyler County, has continued to collect the tax.
Patricia Cudd, 65, of Spurger, told RV Business she received notice of a tax lien from Tyler County in July for delinquent taxes owed on her fifth-wheel travel trailer. “We knew the governor had sent out notices (to counties) saying to hold off (on collecting the tax),” she said.
Mark Nemeth, RV consumer affairs manager for the Escapees RV Club, said Tyler County was the only Texas county he knew about that was still attempting to collect the tax this summer. Several other counties that had previously enforced the tax have indicated that they will issue refunds to trailers owners, he said.
A broad coalition of RV industry and consumer groups have been working to repeal the tax, including the Texas Recreational Vehicle Association (TVRA), the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), The Escapees RV Club and the Good Sam Club.
The problem stemmed from a 2001 ballot initiative aimed at allowing taxing units other than school districts to grant exemptions to owners of registered, non-income-producing travel trailers. In implementing the change, however, Texas lawmakers inadvertently used wording that made travel trailers subject to school taxes, prompting the ire of trailer owners across the Lone Star State.
The annual tax amounts to about 2% of the purchase price or assessed value of a trailer. More than 161,000 travel trailers were registered in Texas as of January 2001, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.