Texas Property Tax—Help With Lowering Your Tax Bill
Fortunately, you have options for getting property tax help in Texas. First, get familiar with important Texas tax dates throughout the year. Then explore two options for lowering your tax bill and discover different ways to pay your property taxes.
For Help With Property Taxes, Know These Dates
Throughout the calendar are important dates for getting help with property taxes in Texas.
- January 1. The county’s appraisal district sets property values.
- April. The appraisal district mails appraised value notices to property owners.
- May. Deadline for property owners to file a protest of appraised value.
- July 1. If the previous year’s property taxes are unpaid by this date (April 1 for business personal property), they are turned over to collections, and an additional 20% penalty is applied.
- August/September. Local taxing jurisdictions set their tax rates.
- October. The tax assessor-collector’s office mails property tax bills.
- January 31. The due date for Texas property tax bills.
- February 1. The first day taxes become delinquent after missing the January 31 payment deadline.
Property Tax Help—2 Ways to Lower Your Property Taxes
If you are faced with a tax bill that you can’t pay, make sure you are getting the tax breaks you are eligible for and agree with your property’s fair market value.
- Exemptions. The Texas Tax Code offers property tax help in the form of exemptions, the most common way to reduce your Texas property tax bill. Typical exemptions are:
- Homestead. School districts are required by Texas law to offer a $25,000 exemption on properties that are primary residences. Counties may also have a residence homestead exemption up to 20% of the property’s value or $5,000, whichever is greater.
- Over 65 and/or Disabled. You can get another $10,000 exemption from school taxes if you are disabled or 65 or over.
- Surviving Spouse (age 55 and over). The surviving spouse of a veteran or active military person is entitled to the same exemption if they have not remarried.
- Disabled Veterans. Disabled veterans qualify for an exemption up to $12,000.
- Appraisal Review Board. Every year, each county’s appraisal district determines the fair market value of all property in the county. An appraisal review board hears protests from property owners who disagree with their property’s appraised current market value. The appraisal review board is made up of independent and impartial private local citizens authorized by state law to settle disputes between the two parties.
Help Paying Property Taxes in Texas
If you are getting the exemptions you qualify for, agree with your property’s current appraised value and you’re still faced with a tax bill you can’t pay, there are other forms of help for paying property taxes on time.
- Tax Deferral. If you are over 65 and your property is your homestead, you can qualify for a tax deferral, which will stop fees from accruing and reduce interest to 8%. You still owe the tax, so it is best to make whatever payments you can afford, no matter how small.
- Payment Plan. Texas law requires taxing jurisdictions to offer payment plans, but they are not for everyone. A down payment of up to 25% is almost always needed, with high monthly payments and an interest rate of 12%. You can’t get a payment plan every year, so only arrange one if you feel confident you can make the payments without defaulting and pay next year’s taxes without a plan. If you default, retroactive penalties and interest will be applied.
- Credit Card. It can be an expensive option and will tie up valuable credit, but you can protect your property from a tax lien if it is your homestead by paying your property taxes with your credit card.
- Property Tax Loan. If you need help paying property taxes in Texas and deferrals, payment plans and high-interest credit cards are not an option for you, apply now for a property tax loan from Tax Ease.
Delinquent Property Tax—Help With Tax Liens
If you are already behind on paying and have a delinquent property tax, help is still within reach. Get rid of your tax lien and protect your property from tax auction by paying off the tax lien. You must pay all interest, penalties and taxes in full before the lien will be released. With a property tax loan from Tax Ease, you can do that with no money down and affordable monthly payments.