What Is Property Tax Relief?
In the strictest meaning of the term, property tax relief is any official program that reduces taxes for property owners who meet the necessary criteria. Each property tax relief program is offered by state or county officials. These programs include the following:
In a broader sense, the term can refer to any form of property tax help individuals and businesses might utilize to pay their bills and debts.
Residential Property Tax Relief
Residential property tax relief programs include those listed above, meant specifically for individual homeowners. This type of relief is attainable for a home in which the owner lives (and all assessed property contained therein), but not for a non-residential house used for business purposes.
Commercial Property Tax Relief
Commercial property tax relief is available for those who own commercial properties such as self-storage units, retail stores, multifamily dwellings and other forms of real estate. The procedures for obtaining this kind of relief differ between appraisal districts and local assessors.
Property Tax Relief through an Appeal
If the assessed value of your property was unfair or you believe the county assessor made an error, it is possible to appeal the amount listed on your tax bill formally. The Texas Comptroller offers guidelines for appraisal protests and appeals, but here are a couple of other factors to keep in mind when seeking this form of property tax relief:
- Appeals require court hearings and other formal processes.
- In some appraisal districts, commercial property owners can appeal based on the difference between the assessed value and the market value of their property, meaning one or the other was too high or low based on the current market.
Texas Property Tax Relief through an Exemption
Exemptions are another form of property tax relief. Texas residents can secure property tax exemptions based on factors listed by the Comptroller. All of these are determined by legislation and require the local tax assessor to subtract a portion (or the entirety) of the appraised value of your property from the taxable amount. Consider these factors for exemption as well:
- Homestead exemptions are the most common, and they are available to those whose property is their primary residence.
- Homeowners can potentially have the taxable value of their house lowered by up to $25,000 through a homestead exemption if school district taxes make up more than half of their property tax bills.
- Commercial property tax relief is available through Freeport and Goods in Transit Exemptions.
- Other types of exemptions are based on things like age, disability and veteran status.
- Exemptions are so complicated to obtain that most people need to consult attorneys, leading to a plethora of legal fees on top of any delinquent penalties.
Property Tax Relief Program through a Local Taxing Authority
Each local taxing authority in Texas can opt to offer property tax relief programs to residents. Typically, these are in the form of payment plans that set individuals up on a schedule to pay the taxes they owe. However, bear in mind:
- As with most factors related to property taxes, these relief programs differ by county — the Texas Comptroller offers local property appraisal and tax information to help you get in touch with county officials to determine your options.
- It can be challenging to secure and navigate a local property tax relief program.
Loans as a Form of Property Tax Relief
While loans might not be considered “property tax relief” by the most narrow definition, they are absolutely a valid form of property tax assistance that can help people and businesses get the breathing room they need. Depending on how much debt you’ve accumulated, they just might be the best way to get back on track. Texas property tax loans offer the following advantages:
- The loan will pay off your total delinquent amount all at once.
- You’ll avoid accumulating hefty penalties.
- You’ll stay out of court and won’t incur legal fees.
- You won’t have to deal with the headaches that come with government-run property tax relief programs.
- You can repay the loan on a timeline that fits your budget and schedule.