Step One: Accept That Your Property Tax Payment is Late
Property taxes are due at the same time every year – January 31. The only exception to the rule is if you didn’t receive the mandatory 21-day window for paying your tax bill. If you’re not familiar with the rule, your local taxing unit must allow at least 21 days between the time that you get your tax notice and the late property tax deadline. This means if your bill arrives on January 15, you don’t have the full amount of time allotted to send your payment in before January 31. In this case, you’ll get a little more time to pay.
If you got the 21-day window and didn’t make an attempt to pay your property tax bill, you are late. Doesn’t matter if the post office ran out of stamps, the dog chewed up the bill or the money you intended to use was spent on a repair instead. After January 31, you have late property taxes. At that point, it’s best to face them head-on and determine the best course of action for getting them all squared away.
Important Property Tax Collection Dates
In “What Happens If You Don’t Pay Property Taxes in Texas This Year,” we provided a property tax assessment and penalty timeline. It gives an overview of key property tax laws and deadlines for paying property taxes late from the Texas Comptroller’s Office. Here are a few dates to remembergoing forward.
January 1 to April 30 of the Current Year
Appraisals are completed during this time.
October 1 of the Current Year
Tax bills will start being mailed to property owners.
January 31 of the Following Year
Property taxes are due.
February 1 of the Following Year
Property tax bills are considered late, and Taxing Authorities start charging penalties and interest, which begins at 7%
July 1 of the Following Year
Taxing units tack on more tax penalty fees for legal costs that stem from the collection of your delinquent tax bill.
Step Two: See If You Can Make Payment Arrangements
You’re behind, but you’re not out of options. When you know you’re going to be paying your property taxes late, it’s best to let your local taxing authority know, as well. In many areas, you can contact the county treasurer and ask to break up your tax bill payment.
For example, in Harris County, it’s possible to make partial payments until your property taxes are paid in full. Just remember that you’ll most likely receive a property tax late fee for being delinquent. To give you a better idea, let’s say your first installment is due in February. You’re allowed to make partial payments on your tax bill total, penalty and interest without formal notice until June. After June, or the time when your next installment payment is due, you must pay in full or set up a payment plan to avoid collection fees.
When you’re behind, don’t just wonder “what happens if I pay my property taxes late?” Accepting your obligation, being proactive and asking for help are all solid strategies for making your Texas property tax debt more manageable.
Step Three: Determine if You Have A Strong Case for Appealing Your Late Property Tax Bill
There is something that you can do before you even get to the point of constant fees, penalties and threats of foreclosure. You can appeal your property tax delinquency for a number of reasons. Here are a few circumstances that may be grounds for appeal according to the Texas Comptroller’s office:
- Concerns regarding the appraised (market) value of your property
- An unequal value of your property compared with other properties
- Eligibility for a property tax exemption
- Failure of the chief appraiser or appraisal review board (ARB) to send a required notice
- Actions taken by the chief appraiser, County Appraisal District or Appraisal Review Board that adversely affects you
If you feel that the appraisal of your property is inaccurate or notice that information on your tax bill is wrong, you can file a protest with the ARB by May 15 or within 30 days after the notice of appraised value was mailed to you. The deadline will be shifted to the next business day if it falls on a weekend or a legal, state or national holiday.
Many Appraisal Districts are willing to resolve late property tax appeals informally. But if you can’t resolve things through an informal review, you can request to have your case heard by the ARB. Regardless of where you plead your case, you’ll want to have solid evidence to prove inaccuracies. The better the proof, the greater the chance that you’ll be able to win your case.
The Comptroller’s Office has a number of resources about protests and appeals. You can learn more about these processes and even find ARB forms here if you believe you have a legitimate complaint on your hands.
Step Four: Get a Loan For Your Late Property Tax Amount
Ultimately, if you don’t have a strong case for the ARB, and a payment plan won’t make much of a difference, you still have one more option that can be a tremendous help with late property taxes. Tax Ease is the leading provider of property tax financing in the state of Texas. Our portfolio of solutions includes residential and commercial property tax loans for owners and investors in Texas. We can help you with your property taxes, no matter where you are in the state.