Ann Harris Bennett
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar

Coin-operated Machine Permits

Title 13, Subtitle D, Chapter 2153 of the Occupations Code under Texas Law provides for the taxation of any person engaged in a business dealing with coin-operated amusement machines.

Section. 2153.002 of the statute defines a taxable coin-operated machine as "any kind of machine or device operated by or with a coin or other United States currency, metal slug, token, electronic card, or check, including a music or skill/pleasure coin-operated machine."

Note: This does not include coin-operated amusement machines designed exclusively for children.

Section. 2153.004 states that machines which are exempt from taxation include:

  • a stamp vending machine;
  • a service coin-operated machine; or
  • if subject to an occupation or gross receipts tax, a:
    • gas meter;
    • food vending machine;
    • confection vending machine;
    • beverage vending machine;
    • merchandise vending machine; or
    • cigarette vending machine.

All public establishments which have coin-operated machines on their premises must obtain a permit for each machine from the Harris County Tax Office every year. Each individual machine must have the permit affixed.

Cost for the permit is as follows:

  • $15.00 if purchased between January 1st and March 31st of the calendar year for which the permit will be used.
  • If the machine is acquired after the first quarter of the year the permit fee is as follows:
If Purchased ForFee Due
April 1 to December 31$11.25
July 1 to December 31$7.50
October 1 to December 31$3.75

Harris County utilizes a Compliance Officer to inspect establishments in the county for compliance with the permit law. Whenever a machine is found not to be in compliance, it is locked by the Compliance Officer and cannot be used until the owner pays an "unlock fee"of $5.00, and also purchases a permit for the machine at a cost of $15.00, regardless of which quarter of the year the unlock fee is paid.

If a permit is removed or torn from a machine, the owner should obtain a police report of the incident and contact the Harris County Tax Office for a replacement permit. A copy of the police report is mandatory in order to obtain a replacement permit. The fee for a replacement permit is $5.00.

Coin-operated machine permits can be purchased at any Property Tax Services window at the Downtown location: 1001 Preston, First Floor Houston, Texas, 77002.

Permits can also be purchased by mail. However, it is advisable to contact the Harris County Tax Office at (713) 274-8150 first, to ensure that you send the proper documentation with your correspondence.

All mail should be addressed to:

Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector
Attn: Coin-Operated Machines
P.O. Box 4663
Houston, TX 77210-4663

Main Telephone Number:
Military Help Desk:
713-274- HERO (4376)
Downtown and Branch Offices normal hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM through 4:30 PM

Location of Branch Offices:
All branch locations can be found on our homepage
Customer Service E-mail Address: (Property tax questions only)
Automobile Title/License:
Ann Harris Bennett Tax Assessor-Collector
P.O. Box 4089 Houston, Texas 77210-4089

Property Tax Payments:
Ann Harris Bennett Tax Assessor-Collector
P.O. Box 4622 Houston, Texas 77210-4622
Property Tax Correspondence:
Ann Harris Bennett Tax Assessor-Collector
P.O. Box 4663 Houston, Texas 77210-4663

Open Government

In our commitment to open government, we invite open records requests in writing. Click here to access an Open Records Request form.
Once you have completed the form listing the requested information, you may mail it to:
Harris County Tax Office,
P.O. Box 2109.
Houston, Texas 77210-2109.

Please do not include open records requests with any other Tax Office correspondence.