Understanding the Texas State Property Tax Process
There are many great benefits of living in Texas, including no state income tax. However, Texas is known for having some of the highest property taxes in the country. Property taxes are collected on residential and commercial properties to help fund cities, counties, school districts, and special districts.
There are several steps along the way in the property tax process, starting with property appraisals and ending with property owners paying their property taxes or facing delinquent payments. Let’s learn more about the process and how Johnson & Starr can help property owners who may face the burden of overdue taxes and the resulting penalties and fees.
Step 1: Appraisal and Tax Rates
Before paying any property taxes, each year, your residential or commercial property will be assessed its value by the appraisal district. All properties, including the land, are assigned a fair market value as determined by the Texas Property Tax Code.
Tax rates for your property are determined not only by the county in which it is located but are also impacted by the city, school district, and special taxing districts. Property taxes collected help to pay for public schools, city streets, county roads, police departments, and other emergency services.
The property tax bill that you receive every October is calculated most simply as follows:
Assessed Property Value x Tax Rate = Property Taxes Owed
Step 2: Determine if you Qualify for a Property Tax Exemption
The most common tax exemptions are for seniors or disabled citizens, disabled veterans and homestead owners. Learn more about homestead exemption at https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/exemptions/residence-faq.php. You must apply for an exemption and be approved to receive the tax break.
Step 3: Consider Whether Your Property Tax Bill is Too High
Property tax is not an exact science, and there is certainly room for error. Luckily, property owners have the right to appeal their appraisal value. An official protest of your property tax bill must be received annually by May 15th or within 30 days of the tax bill being mailed to you, whichever is later. Appeals must be filed with the appraisal review board (ARB) by submitting a protest form or completing an appeal online. Your appeal will be reviewed, and you may have to appear in court to complete the appeal process. Otherwise, you will receive notice of whether or not your appeal has been approved or rejected.
Step 4: Pay Your Property Taxes or Apply for an Installment Plan
Your property taxes are due each year by January 31st. If you can’t pay your property taxes in full, you can request the option to pay split payments; however, that request must be made before June 30th each year.
If you do not pay your property taxes by January 31st, you will be considered delinquent and start facing late fees and penalties.
Step 5: Get Help if You Can’t Pay Your Delinquent Property Taxes
When you don’t pay your property taxes, the government takes quick action to try to collect that payment. Delinquent property taxes result in big penalties and interest, which can quickly add up. Unpaid property taxes could even result in being sued by the county and losing your property to foreclosure. Johnson & Starr can help reduce the stress of delinquent property taxes by paying the tax bill in full and creating a repayment plan based on your priorities. We help save homes – let us help if you’re facing the burden of delinquent property taxes. Learn more about our process.