Options for Texas Tax Payments

Published: 17th June 2008
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Did you know that the Texas Legislature has passed laws that provide property tax payment options for many Texas property owners? Many of these laws have been in existence for several years but many property owners may be unaware they have these choices. Of course some of these options are for elderly or disabled homeowners or members of the military and some are only at the discretion of the tax office. I hope the following laws from the Texas Property Tax Code will be helpful for you and your clients. Property Tax Code Section 31.031. Age 65 or older and disabled homeowners may pay the taxes on their home in four installments. Person must pay at least one-fourth of the taxes before the February 1 delinquency date. The remaining payments are due before April 1, June 1, and August 1 without any penalty or interest. If you miss an installment payment, a penalty of 6 percent and interest of 1 percent per month is added to the installment amount. Section 31.032 provides the same installments to homeowners in a disaster area. Section 31.03. Allows a taxing unit's governing body (school board, county commissioners, etc.) to offer split payment of property taxes. If the taxing unit offers this option, a taxpayer may pay half of his or her taxes by November 30 and the remainder by the following June 30 without any penalty or interest. Section 31.072. Allows a collector to enter into a contract with a taxpayer to establish an escrow account for the payment of the following year's taxes. However, the tax collector must provide escrow accounts upon request from disabled veterans and recipients of certain military service medals. Section 31.035. Allows any taxing unit to allow a homeowner 65 years of age or older to perform services for the taxing unit in lieu of paying homestead property taxes owed by the homeowner. The taxing unit's governing body must determine the number of homeowners permitted to perform services and the maximum number of hours of service that a homeowner may perform. Section 31.036. Allows a school district's board of trustees to allow qualified homeowners to perform teaching services for the school district at a junior or senior high school in lieu of paying their school homestead taxes. The school board determines the number of qualified homeowners who will be permitted to perform teaching services, the courses that they may teach, and the amount of tax credit that may be earned. Section 31.037. Allows a school district's board of trustees to allow a corporation or other business entity to permit the corporation or entity's qualified employees to perform teaching services in a junior high or senior high school in lieu of paying taxes imposed by the district against property owned by the business entity. The school board must determine the number of businesses that will be eligible for such a tax credit, the courses that may be taught, and the amount of tax credit. The business's employee must execute a contract with the school district before the delinquency date to specify the course to teach, the school, the semester, and the amount of tax credit. Section 31.02. Allows individuals serving in the United States armed forces and transferred out of Texas during a war or national emergency to defer payment of property taxes. The person has 60 days to pay taxes without penalty and interest from the earliest date of the following events: (1) discharge from active military service, (2) return to the state for more than 10 days, (3) return to non-active duty status in the reserves or (4) the war or national emergency ends. Section 33.06. Age 65 or older and disabled homeowners may defer or postpone paying taxes on their home for as long as they own and live in that home. The deferral is for all property taxes of the taxing units that tax the person's home. The taxing units will add interest, but not penalty, at a rate of 8 percent a year. The deferred taxes and interest becomes due when the home is sold or no longer the person's or surviving spouse's residence. Section 33.02 The tax collector may enter into a written contract with a delinquent taxpayer to pay the delinquent taxes, penalties, and interest in installments. The agreement may not extend for more than 36 months, and penalty and interest continue to accrue on the unpaid balance during the period of the agreement. The taxing unit cannot seize the property or a file a foreclosure suit as long as the taxpayer does not break the agreement. I hope this information is helpful to you and gives your clients a few more options to think about when paying property taxes. Always get legal help to determine whether or not the laws have changed or apply to you.

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