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 For||Fee 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 & Voter Registrar
Attn: Coin-Operated Machines
P.O. Box 4663
Houston, TX 77210-4663