The Basics About Texas Property Taxes
Texas has no income taxes. Why? The Texas Constitution does not allow for them. While this leads many people to think Texas is a tax-friendly state (and, in many ways, it is!), it also means that sales and property tax rates are higher-than-average. However, property taxes are not set or collected by the state — instead, property taxes are calculated and handled by local taxing authorities, usually a city or county assessor’s office. The assessor determines the property values throughout an appraisal district, which influences the final rate that shows up on your tax bill.
Your Texas property taxes are due on January 31st every year. If you haven’t settled your tax debt by February 1st, you’re looking at property tax delinquency. As such, it’s crucial to be ready for that date. However, if you won’t be able to make a payment, or you’ve already missed it, you may need some help. Below, we’re going to answer some of the most common questions people have about property tax assistance and related topics.
How Can I Get Help Paying My Property Taxes?
- Tax Exemption — The Texas Comptroller allows local taxing units to set parameters for total and partial property tax exemptions, but you’ll usually need to fill out an application before May 1st.
- Appraisal Protest or Appeal — If you think your appraisal review board or county assessor’s office made an error in valuing the property in your appraisal district, you can file for an official appraisal protest or appeal, though this will involve a formal arbitration process and court hearings.
- Local Property Tax Assistance Program — The taxing unit in your area may offer a variety of assistance programs, such as payment plans, but you’ll need to check with the authorities.
- Property Tax Loans — Texas property tax loans from lenders like Tax Ease can help you avoid delinquency.
While there are other options for property tax assistance in Texas, these are some of the most common.
Who Qualifies for Property Tax Exemption?
While an exemption might seem like a good option for Texas property tax assistance, very specific requirements must be met to obtain one. All of them require an official application and documentation that will be filed with your local taxing unit. The most common of these is called a homestead exemption.
Who Qualifies for Homestead Exemption in Texas?
Homeowners who live in their principal residence may qualify for a homestead exemption. However, it is always important to check the official qualifications before you count on receiving this form of property tax assistance. The Texas Comptroller outlines some of the specific parameters for a residence homestead exemption.
How Long Can Property Taxes Go Unpaid?
In Texas, you are considered delinquent if you don’t pay by January 31st. After that, penalties and fees will begin to accrue. As such, you can’t go long without paying property taxes in Texas if you don’t want to rack up debt. However, even if you don’t make the due date, you can still seek delinquent property tax help.
Can I Still Get Property Tax Assistance If I’m Delinquent?
Do Homeowners Pay Property Taxes in Texas?
Yes, since homes are a form of property, homeowners are required to pay Texas property taxes. The funds are used at the county treasurer’s discretion to support local services, such as schools and law enforcement. The only exception is if someone qualifies for a tax exemption, like those referenced above. Homeowners can also seek out other forms of tax relief.
Is There Property Tax Assistance for Low-Income Homeowners?
Low-income homeowners can seek out various forms of property tax help in Texas. This includes residential homestead tax exemptions. Each local appraisal district may also offer additional tax relief assistance programs, but it varies by county.
Who Can Help Me with Property Taxes?
Finding a property tax assistance program in Texas requires contacting local authorities in your appraisal district, such as the county assessor’s office, to determine if there are any official options. If you’ve already looked into those possibilities, and you aren’t able to file a legal appeal or protest, loan lenders can still help with property taxes. And whenever you need us, Tax Ease is here.