The Public Information Act, formerly known as the Open Records Act (Government Code, Chapter 552), provides a way for citizens to inspect or copy government records. Certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information. The Public Information Act does not require the governmental body to produce information which is not in existence¹ or to create new information, calculate statistics, perform legal research, or to prepare answers to questions².
Only written requests trigger a governmental body's obligations under the Public Information Act³. For more information, please see the Public Information Act Posting (Texas Attorney General).
The Harris County Tax Office is committed to open government. All Public Information Act requests must be submitted in writing. Please complete the Open Records Request form and send it by mail, fax or e mail directly to:
Public Information Officer
Harris County Tax Office
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4663, Houston, Texas 77210
**Please do not include a Public Information Act / Open Records Request with any other Tax Office correspondence.**
Charges may be incurred for a Public Information Act request. If charges exceed $40, an itemized statement of estimated charges will be provided by the Harris County Tax Office to the requestor prior to proceeding.
For more information on cost estimate calculations, see the Public Information Cost Estimate Model (Texas Attorney General).
You must respond to any written estimate of charges within ten (10) business days of the date the governmental body sent it or the request is considered automatically withdrawn.
If the information you request falls within one of the exceptions to disclosure found in the Public Information Act, the government body may refuse to release the information while it seeks an open records decision from the Texas Attorney General. Unless the governmental body has a previous determination from a court or the Texas Attorney General regarding the precise information requested, a governmental body cannot determine on its own to withhold information.
Within ten business days of receiving a written request, the government body must:
- Write the Attorney General and explain how the claimed exceptions apply;
- Provide a copy of your written request to the Texas Attorney General;
- Provide a signed statement to the Texas Attorney General stating the date the request was received by the governmental body or provide evidence sufficient to establish the date the request was received; and
- Provide copies of the documents requested or a representative sample of the documents to the Texas Attorney General and the documents must be labeled to show which exceptions apply to which parts of the documents.