Tax Laws

Understanding Texas Property Tax Laws

Tax laws are always a tough subject matter for the layman. On occasion, it seems you need a team of lawyers just to understand how they work. The Texas Property Tax Code spans almost 400 pages. The taxes you pay keep our school districts and local governments in business. The process is streamlined for the citizen, as you’re only required to write one check for all of your owed taxes, and is distributed to the proper parties for you. In case you are curious how the process works, the basics are covered for you here.

The amount you pay all stems from the worth of your property as of January 1st. Each county is considered an appraisal district. Then appraisers are hired to determine the values of properties to level the appropriate taxes. In order to obtain a more precise appraisal, you may decide to use a rendition form. This form will allow you to state your opinion of the worth of your property. Should you be a business, the reporting of inventory, furniture, supplies, etc is required.

If your appraisal is higher than it was in the previous year, Texas law states that a notice of this increase should be sent to you. If you disagree with your appraisal, you can file a protest. This must be done in writing (or electronically if available in your county) no later than 30 days after you received your appraisal. The commonest protest is the excessive appraisal. Another frequent protest is errors in the evaluation process, but there are other acceptable protests.

You might decide to represent your case by yourself or have someone represent you. Most people do choose to represent themselves because it is an informal process. You are expected to put together a simple yet effective presentation to prove your property’s value. It helps to practice your presentation to better deliver it. Keep in mind that all of your evidence is required to be given to the staff in hard copy for their later review. After the board reviews your protest, you’ll be mailed a letter of their decision. You do have the choice to appeal their decision.

After you receive your original bill, you have 21 days to pay the amount. The delinquency date is required to be printed on your bill for your reference. You have the choice today in four monthly installments, which must be indicated on your first payment. There isn’t a charge or interest for paying in installments. If you choose not to pay the property tax, fines and interest is going to be charged. In the extreme, this can lead to your property being seized.

An abbreviated summary of the Texas property tax laws is by no means thorough. There are various stipulations and clauses. If you feel that your appraisal should be protested, consider hiring someone to represent you that is proficient in the property tax laws.

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