First Installment due on January 31 for Disabled or Senior Citizens

Published by Research Editor on January 24th, 2013 - in Taxes

Are you paying your property taxes in installments? Your first payment is due next week! Hurry and send in 1/4 of your 2012 property tax bill, along with a note that you will pay the rest of the taxes in installments.

Remember, you can always pay extra. If you get behind, though, you will earn interest and a 6% penalty on the unpaid amount.

If you are having difficulty paying your installments, consider a property tax loan among your options.

Property Tax Ceiling

Published by Research Editor on January 22nd, 2013 - in Tax loopholes and exceptions, Taxes

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Great news! If you are 65 or older, your taxes are limited. Even if the market explodes and your $100,000 house is suddenly worth a million dollars, some of your property taxes will be based on that $100,000 value.

How does this work?

When you apply for a property tax ceiling, the school taxes on your home can’t increase–even if your home value does–for as long as you live in that home.

Your property taxes are based on several districts or jurisdictions, like school, city, county, hospital, and water. Each district collects property taxes from you. The tax ceiling limits how much property taxes the school district can collect. However, some counties allow the tax ceiling to limit how much city, county, and college districts can collect, as well.

So the tax ceiling applies to school taxes within my property taxes. What about the county taxes? Water tax district? Hospital? Junior college?

The tax ceiling in NOT applicable to water, hospital, and other special districts.

City, county, and Junior college district property taxes are sometimes subject to the tax ceiling limitation. The County commissioners court, city council, or board of the junior college district can authorize a atax limitation of homesteads for those disabled or 65 or older. Check with your county to see if this applies to you.

Who qualifies for the property tax ceiling?

Anyone who has received an over 65 or disabled person homestead exemption.

What if I improve my home?

Home improvements will raise the tax ceiling.

What if I move?

You can transfer a percentage of the tax ceiling to your new home. The Comptroller of Public Accounts offers this example:

If you currently have a tax ceiling of $100, but would pay $400 without the ceiling, the percentage of tax paid is 25 percent. If you move to another home and the taxes on the new homestead would normally be $1,000 in the first year, the new tax ceiling would be $250, or 25 percent of $1,000.

How do I transfer a tax ceiling?

You can get a certificate from the chief appraiser in the district where you received the tax ceiling. When you apply for homestead exemptions on your new home, bring the tax ceiling certificate to the chief appraiser in the district where your new home is.

If I am the surviving spouse of someone who was entitled to the tax ceiling, can I get it, too?

Depends.

If you are the surviving spouse, 55 years of age or older, and your spouse was 65 years of age or older, you may benefit from the tax ceiling.

However, if you are the suriving spouse of a disabled person who qualified for the tax ceiling, you cannot benefit.

Where can I find out more?

The information in this article was researched at the website of the Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Travis County Property Taxes

Published by Research Editor on January 15th, 2013 - in Local taxes, Travis

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Travis County folks have a variety of ways to gather information about property taxes in Travis County.

Social Connections

The Tax Office is active on Facebook and Twitter. When I checked these pages out today, I found an update that mentioned one of the Tax Offices is unable to process motor vehicle registrations because of a system outage. Great information: it would have saved me a trip, had I planned to go register my car today.

The Tax Office also has a Youtube channel with over a dozen helpful videos, including How to Save on Property Tax and 2012 Property Tax Deadline and Payment Options.

Paying Your Property Taxes

Pay property taxes online here, along with information on convenience fees and other payment options.

Get a letter of intent for installment payments. To learn if you’re eligible for installments, see our article, How to Pay Property Taxes in Installments and contact the tax office today if you need to pay in installments.

Forms

Forms, like Homestead Exemptions, Tax Ceiling Certificates, and Protest Forms are available

Protesting Taxes

Details on how to protest your taxes in Travis County and on the formal hearing procedures are easily accessible.

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Verify Homestead Exemption Eligibility

Published by Research Editor on December 1st, 2012 - in Taxes

Because you do NOT have to re-claim your residential homestead exemption annually, your appraisal office occasionally mails surveys to verify your residency.

During the month of December, the appraisal office can choose to mail a card to anyone who has a residential homestead exemption.

These cards are meant to verify that you live in the home you are claiming for the exemption. If the card cannot be delivered to you at that address, the appraisal office will investigate your homestead exemption

For more information on the mail survey, see the Texas Property Tax Code.

Coming up: deadline to pay first half of split payments

Published by Research Editor on November 14th, 2012 - in Taxes

If you don’t want to pay your property taxes in one lump sum in January, you can split your property tax bill into two payments.

If you choose to split your taxes, the first half of property taxes for 2013 is due on November 30.

For more information on splitting your property tax payments, see our post: Split Payments: Is it for You?
For more on property tax loans, see Texas Property Tax Loans.

Who is Susan Combs?

Published by Tech Team on October 17th, 2012 - in Taxes

Susan Combs is the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Basically, Combs oversees the financials of the state of Texas. According to the Comptroller website, “Comptroller Susan Combs serves as the state’s treasurer, check writer, tax collector and revenue estimator, and also oversees state purchasing.”

What does Susan Combs have to do with me?

The Comptroller’s office oversees taxes, including your property taxes. They have a useful website–http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/–that we’ve referenced several times here on FYP, LLC.

The Comptroller’s office will have complete and accurate information regarding your property taxes. Before spending money on agencies–whether it’s for a property tax loan or a service that will help you protest your property taxes–look at the Comptroller’s website for information. Be educated to avoid scams and disreputable companies.

5 protections for you & your property in the Texas constitution

Published by Research Editor on October 15th, 2012 - in Taxes

Our Texas constitution is a grand thing. Unlike other constitutions, including the United States Constitution, the Texas constitution restricts the power of the State government.

There are five main restrictions on the government for property taxes:

  • Taxation must be equal and uniform.
  • Generally, all tangible property must be taxed on its current market value. The Constitution provides certain exceptions.
  • All property is taxable unless a federal or state law exempts it from the tax.
  • Property owners have a right to reasonable notice of increases in appraised property value.
  • Each property in a county must have a single appraised value.

These government restrictions are your rights. They cannot be violated. If they are, protest your taxes immediately.

What is Delinquency?

Published by Research Editor on October 12th, 2012 - in Tax Penalties

Your 2012 property tax bill was sent on or around October 1. You have until February 1, 2013 to pay your bill. If you do not pay by then, your bill is called delinquent.

Delinquency means you are penalized 6% for the first month–with increasing penalties afterwards.

Delinquency also means you are open to further penalties, like late fees, warnings, and, ultimately, foreclosure.

How can I avoid delinquency?

Make sure your taxes are paid before February 1, whether you pay it yourself, use a property tax loan, or split your payments.

Bexar County Property Taxes

Published by Research Editor on September 24th, 2012 - in Bexar, Local taxes

Information for Bexar County property taxes is available in two places: the county site and the appraisal district site.

The Bexar County site features include:

The Bexar Appraisal District site has:

To test the two different searches, I put Sea World’s address in the County search and the Appraisal District search. Nothing shows up in either if you spell the address “10500 Sea World Drive” but both have information if you shorten it to “10500 Sea World Dr”. Both give you information for “10500 Sea World”.

As a side note, did you know that Sea World pays almost $100,000 in property taxes?

Property Taxes in Disaster Areas

Published by Research Editor on September 17th, 2012 - in Tax loopholes and exceptions, Taxes

If your home is damaged in a designated disaster area, you may pay your taxes in four installments.

What is a designated disaster area?

During an emergency, the governor of Texas will declare a state of disaster in the affected counties. For example, in 2010 and 2011, Governor Rick Perry declared every Texas county a state of disaster due to extreme fire threats. If your home was damaged by the fires, you can opt to pay your property taxes in four installments.

How do I apply for installments?

There is no application. However, when you send in your first installment, you must also send written notice that you will be paying your taxes in installments.

When do I need to pay my taxes?

Pay the first 1/4 of your property taxes before Feb 1, along with a notice that you will pay the rest in installments.
Pay the second 1/4 before April 1.
Pay the third 1/4 before June 1.
Pay your final payment before August 1.

What if I miss a deadline?

If you miss a deadline, you will pay 1% interest for each month of delinquency, PLUS a 6% penalty on the unpaid portion.

For more information, see “Property Tax Issues in Disaster Areas” on the Comptroller’s website.
If you are having difficulty paying your installments, consider a property tax loan among your options.

© 2013 FYP, LLC.