Before you pay property tax in Texas, you need to know when taxes are due, how much taxes you owe, tax payment deadlines, consequences of non-payment, and more. First things first:
When Should I Expect My Texas Property Tax Bill?
Taxing units in Texas mail tax bills in October. The bills are due on receipt, and delinquency begins on 1st February. If February is approaching fast and you haven’t received your bill, contact the local tax office, ask for your bill and settle as required.
There are reasons for failing to get a property tax bill. There may be a change of ownership of the property in question, and the tax unit isn’t aware. Your tax account could also be under review or hasn’t been certified. Be proactive about tax bills that aren’t forthcoming to avoid issues.
Important: You must pay your property tax in time whether or not you receive a bill. Your tax bill and other charges (penalties or interest) still count even if you don’t receive a bill.
Where to Pay Property Taxes in Texas
Property owners in Texas can pay property taxes in several ways. Contact your tax collection office locally to get accurate, updated details on where to pay property tax in your county. However, you should expect the following methods regardless of where your property is in Texas;
I. Pay Cash (in a tax office)
It is possible to pay for property tax using cash. For this method, go in person to your respective tax office location.
II. Money Order or Check
Tax offices in Texas also accept money orders or checks taken in person or mailed to the respective tax office location.
III. Via Credit Card
As per Texas Tax Code Sec. 31.06, tax collectors are obligated to accept taxes paid via credit card. Collectors can charge a processing fee for this payment method. However, the fee is capped at 5% of all taxes, penalties, and interest due.
As per the Texas Comptroller, Glenn Hegar, of Public Accounts, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover cards are accepted. Credit card transactions can’t be changed or deleted.
Paying is as simple as settling the pre-populated amount due. You can change the amount with a preferred amount. To have a smooth credit card payment process, ensure the name on your card appears as it is on your account. The card should also be valid. Contact the appropriate office in case of any credit card payment issues.
Property owners can also get into escrow arrangements with tax collectors as per Texas Tax Code Sec. 31.072. Taxing units can enter into contracts with property owners whereby owners deposit taxes in escrow accounts maintained by collectors to provide money for paying taxes.
Contracts should be made after 1st October (of the year before a tax year). This mode of payment can apply to property owners with multiple properties. However, the property owner must request escrow payments to pay taxes for multiple properties.
V. Work Contract Arrangements
As per Tax Code Sec. 31.035, governing bodies of taxing units can allow elderly individuals aged 65 or more to perform services for a taxing unit instead of paying property taxes charged on those person’s residence homestead.
Governing bodies of school districts can allow individuals to offer teaching services for a school district instead of paying taxes. This provision is stipulated under Tax Code Sec. 31.036. As per Sec. 31.037, governing bodies of school districts can authorize corporations among other business entities to allow their qualified employees to offer teaching services to a high school in the school district instead of paying property taxes due on the property owned by that business.
FAQs About Paying Property Taxes in Texas
Can I pay property taxes in installments?
Whether you are paying your taxes in person, online, or over the phone via methods discussed above, you are only allowed to pay in installments if you have an installment plan in place or you have qualified for exemptions that allow partial payment.
What’s the deadline for paying property tax in Texas?
You must pay property taxes in Texas before 1st February. Property taxes that aren’t paid by 31st January result in delinquency. Penalties and charges start accumulating in February.
Once the initial tax bill is sent by the taxing unit, property owners have at least 21-days. Bills mailed later than 10th Jan result in delinquency after much later than 1st February. It’s advisable to pay taxes before a year ends to deduct those payments from your federal income taxes.
What happens if I can’t pay property tax in time?
Failing to pay property tax in Texas results in hefty penalties and interest charges added onto due taxes. The penalties and interest also increase constantly. If you don’t pay for a year, you will face additional charges that are almost 50% of your tax bill. A 20% attorney fee is applicable on top of the interest that accumulates monthly. Eventually, unpaid property taxes usually result in lawsuits and foreclosure.
I can’t afford to pay property taxes in Texas. What do I do?
You can seek property tax exemptions to reduce or get rid of your property tax. The Tax Code also has provisions for tax payment plans. For instance, property owners can be allowed to pay overdue taxes in installments. However, payment plans aren’t assured. You can be denied an exemption or a payment plan. What’s more, your taxes will still be accumulating.
It may be better to seek a property tax loan and settle your tax bill before you start getting penalized. Luckily there are many lenders in Texas willing to assist distressed property owners in settling their tax bills.
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