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Tax Bill Time in Texas

by David Poer, Dallas, October 2018

 

Tax jurisdictions throughout Texas mail property tax bills during the month of October. In most cases, you must pay your property taxes by Jan. 31. Taxes that remain unpaid on Feb. 1 are considered delinquent. Failure to receive a tax bill does not affect the validity of the tax, penalty, or interest due.

 

If you appeal your property's assessed valuation to district court, binding arbitration, or to the State Office of Administrative Hearings, you must pay your taxes before the delinquency date.

 

Penalties and Interest

 

If property taxes are not paid by the due date, the tax collector adds a six percent penalty and one percent interest on Feb. 1. Penalties continue to accrue at one percent per month until July 1. On July 1, the penalty becomes 12 percent. Interest will be charged at the rate of one percent per month, with no maximum. Private attorneys hired by taxing units to collect delinquent accounts can charge an additional penalty of up to 20 percent to cover their fees.

 

The tax collector will send you at least one notice if your taxes are delinquent. They often send additional notices and warnings. Some tax jurisdictions will allow delinquent taxes to be paid in installments for up to 36 months. Before signing an installment agreement, you should know that the law considers your signature an “irrevocable admission” that you owe all the taxes covered by the agreement.

 

The tax collector’s last resort is to take a delinquent taxpayer to court. Court costs will be added to the delinquent tax bill. A person who owned taxable property on Jan. 1 can be sued for delinquent taxes even if the property has been sold or transferred since then.

 

Waiver of Penalty and Interest

 

Tax Code Section 33.011 allows taxing units to waive penalties and/or interest in specific circumstances. Examples include:

 

  • An act or omission of the taxing unit, its agent, or the appraisal district occurred.

  • A taxpayer unsuccessfully attempted to timely pay by mail.

  • A tax bill is returned as undeliverable.

  • Electronic funds transfer failed.

  • The property was previously omitted or erroneously exempted from the appraisal roll.

In most instances, property owners must pay the tax no later than the 21st day after they become aware of the delinquency and must request a waiver before the 181st day after the delinquency date.