Dallas at a Glance
To be eligible to register to vote in Texas, any U.S. citizen residing in Texas must meet these requirements:
  • Be at least 18 years old on election day
  • Not be a convicted felon (unless sentence, probation and/or parole are completed)
  • Not be declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law

In most Texas counties, the Tax Assessor-Collector is also the Voter Registrar. In some counties, the County Clerk or Elections Administrator registers voters. You may obtain an application from the county Voter Registrar’s office, the Secretary of State’s Office, libraries, many post offices or high schools. You can also visit www.sos.state.tx.us/elections where you can request an official, postage-paid application. Or, you can download an informal application that will need a stamp before mailing. You can also register to vote when you apply for or renew your driver’s license.

While there is no personal income tax in Texas, there are property taxes, also called ad valorem taxes, which are locally assessed. Your county appraisal district appraises property located in the county, while local taxing units set tax rates and collect property taxes based on those values. Property taxes provide more tax dollars for local services in Texas than any other source – they help pay for public schools, city streets, county roads, police, fire protection and many other services.

In Dallas, the Dallas County Tax Office collects, records, and disburses property taxes. The Tax Office maintains approximately 797,621 commercial, business, and residential tax accounts. For the 2009 tax year, the Tax Office collected taxes on $165 billion worth of property.

State sales and use tax is imposed on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Texas cities, counties, transit authorities and special purpose districts have the option of imposing an additional local sales tax for a combined total of state and local taxes of 8.25 percent. In Dallas and Tarrant County, the sales rate is 8.25 percent, but the rate can vary in different areas. To find out the tax rate for a specific area, visit www.window.state.tx.us and click on Texas Taxes.

In Texas, the law requires drivers and passengers in all vehicles to be secured by a safety belt. The seat belt law in Texas was amended in 2010 to no longer exempt adult passengers riding in the back seat from wearing a seat belt. All persons in the vehicle must be secured with a safety belt or in a child safety seat, whether they are sitting in the front or back seat. A child less than 8 years old and less than 57 inches tall must ride in a child safety or booster seat. A safety belt violation can result in fines ranging from $25 to $250, plus court costs.

Safety Seat Guidelines
Safety belts are designed for adults, not children. Use a booster seat to lift your child up and prevent severe injuries in a crash. If necessary, view an informational video about the proper use of child safety seats at www.dshs.state.tx.us/saferiders or call Safe Riders at 800-252-8255.

Follow these guidelines when buying the proper seat for your child:

Birth-1 Year, Up to 35 Pounds
  • Use a rear-facing seat until your baby reaches the weight limit or height limit of the seat.
  • Secure the chest clip even with your baby’s armpits.
  • Fasten harness straps snugly against your baby’s body.
1-4 Years, 20 to 40 Pounds
  • Use a forward-facing seat for as long as the safety seat manufacturer recommends it.
  • Fasten harness straps snugly against your child’s body.
  • Secure the chest clip even with your child’s armpits.
  • Latch the tether strap to the corresponding anchor if your vehicle has one.
4-8 Years, Over 40 Pounds
  • Use a booster seat.
  • Fasten the lap belt across your child’s thighs and hips, not stomach.
  • Strap the diagonal belt across the chest to rest on the shoulder, not the neck.

Drivers under the age of 17 with restricted licenses are prohibited from using wireless communications devices, including cell phones and text messaging devices. Learners permit holders are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving. All other drivers are allowed to use a cell phone if they have a driver’s license with full privileges and are not driving in an active school zone (in which case only a hands-free device is permitted). Also, school bus drivers must avoid cell phone use while passengers are aboard.

In Texas, 21 years old is the minimum age to buy or consume liquor. You can buy alcoholic beverages in a liquor store Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; liquor stores are closed on Sunday. There are no sales of liquor on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day or Thanksgiving Day. In the event that Christmas Day or New Year’s Day is on a Sunday, stores are closed the following Monday. Beer and wine can be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores from 7 a.m. to midnight on Monday through Friday, on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. and on Sunday from noon until midnight.

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