While our physical offices are closed until at least April 13 due Austin's COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Laurie E. Jasinski

COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS. The office of comptroller of public accounts was established by Article IV, Sections 1 and 23 of the Constitution of 1876. As a state office it was first established by the Constitution of 1845 and superseded a similar office originally established in 1835 and made part of the Treasury Department during the Republic of Texas in 1836.

The comptroller is elected and serves for four years. The major duties of the office are keeping accounts of state funds, acting as tax administrator and collector for the state, and furnishing research and statistics for estimating revenue. The comptroller submits financial reports to the governor and the legislature with statements on the previous fiscal year, outstanding appropriations, and estimates of anticipated revenue.

The comptroller's office is composed of a number of divisions designed to carry out various tasks. The Administration Area includes budget, support services, training, and personnel divisions to monitor agency expenditures and funds, maintain agency inventories, and train and keep records on personnel. The Audit Area conducts audits on twenty-eight state taxes, including the sales tax, which is the state's largest single revenue source. An Internal Audit Area provides an independent review of the office's accounting activities. The Communications Area provides taxpayer information to the public, while the Enforcement Area has several operations that collect delinquent taxes, file criminal complaints, issue licenses, and execute various other tax-related procedures. A Data Processing division disseminates information through the agency's computer network. Other areas of operation in the comptroller's office include Fiscal Management, Revenue Management, Legal/Policy, Local Government, and State Accounting Operations. These divisions prepare economic forecasts, process tax returns and license applications, assist counties and cities in collecting revenue, handle claims against the state, and issue annual expenditure reports. The comptroller's office had a budget totaling over $115 million in 1991, when about 2,800 employees worked in the agency.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "COMPTROLLER OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS," accessed April 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mbc04.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...