Property Tax Payment
In most Texas counties, 2010 property tax bills have now been issued. If you’ve not already received your tax bill, you’ll likely see it sometime in October. The first date of delinquency is February 1st, so if you do not have your tax bill by January 1st, you should contact your tax assessor to determine the amount owed.
For property owners that escrow taxes with their mortgage payment, the mortgage company will manage the disbursement. Once payment is accepted, you should receive a receipt from the tax assessor. The receipt is important to retain, as many homeowners deduct property taxes for federal income tax purposes.
For property owners that do not escrow property taxes, you are responsible for making the property tax payment. Below we cover the deadline for payment, costs of delinquency, and options available for a property tax loan.
When Is the Deadline for Property Tax Payment?
In most cases, the deadline for paying your property taxes is January 31st. Taxes that remain unpaid on February 1st are considered delinquent with penalty and interest charges added to the original amount.
Taxes are due in one lump sum. Some tax collection offices provide payment options, such as:
- Payment by credit card, typically with additional fees of 3% to 5%.
- Deferment or installment plans for taxes on homestead properties for disabled property owners or property owners over 65 years of age.
- Discounts for early payment.
- Partial payment of your taxes, though penalty and interest will still apply to the outstanding balance.
What If my Property Taxes are Past Due?
The longer you allow your delinquent property taxes to go unpaid, the more expensive and risky it becomes for you.
- Penalty and interest charges will be added to your taxes.
Penalty charges and interest charges will be added to your tax balance. Private attorneys hired by taxing units to collect delinquent accounts can charge an additional penalty to cover their fees. The following table details the potential penalties, interest, and attorney charges imposed on a delinquent property tax account.
Accounts not paid in full by June 30th of the year in which they become delinquent are normally referred to the delinquent tax attorneys for collection and incur an additional penalty equal to 15% to 20% of the total taxes, penalties and interest due.
- You will receive delinquent tax notices.
The tax collector will send you at least one notice that your taxes are delinquent. They often send multiple notices and warnings.
- You may have the option to set up an installment plan.
Some tax collectors will allow you to pay delinquent taxes in installments for up to 36 months. They are not required to offer this option. Penalty and interest will still apply to the outstanding balance.
- You may be sued.
The tax collector can take a delinquent taxpayer to court. All court costs will be added to the delinquent tax bill.
- Your property may be foreclosed upon. You could lose your property!
Each taxing unit holds a tax lien on each item of taxable property. A tax lien automatically attaches to property on January 1 each year to secure payment of all taxes. This tax lien gives the courts the power to foreclose on the lien and seize the property. The property then will be auctioned and the proceeds used to pay the taxes.
Are there other options available to pay property taxes?
Yes, specialized lenders exist who focus solely on property tax lending. These lenders provide an alternative to the lump sum payment of your property taxes. A property tax loan will immediately stop the added penalties, interest, attorney fees, and pending lawsuits for the county. Most lenders offer flexible loan terms with extended repayment schedules. Loans are generally available for almost any type of real estate as long as the borrower is not in bankruptcy and the property is reasonably maintained. This includes residential, commercial, investment properties, and vacant land.
Fortunately, qualifications are easy and credit score is not typically a factor in the loan approval process. To learn more about property tax loan options, contact a company specializing in property tax loans.