You Just Got Your Property Tax Appraisal. Now What?

May 5, 2017 | by Katie Claflin

Categories: Homeownership, Housing Counseling
Tags: property taxes, texas financial toolbox

Now is the time of year that Texas homeowners receive their 2017 property tax appraisal from their county. The appraisal lists what you’ll owe in property taxes at the end of the year, based on the value of your home. 

If you have an escrow account, your lender will pay your tax bill for you with money you’ve paid into the account each month. If the tax bill is more than you expected, your lender will have to increase your monthly payment to make up the shortage.

If you don’t have an escrow account, you are required to pay your 2017 tax bill in full by January 31, 2018.  After that, you’ll have to pay penalties and interest on any unpaid taxes.

Rising home values have many homeowners worried about their taxes, but don’t panic just yet. There are a few steps you can take to lower your property taxes.

  1. Apply for any property tax exemptions. You may be eligible for a property tax exemption, which reduces your property tax bill. Click here to read our previous blog post on the types of exemptions available for Texas homeowners. The most common exemption is the residence homestead exemption for homeowners who occupy their home as their primary residence.

    The 2017 general deadline to submit an exemption application was April 30th, but you can still file for a late exemption. Click here to learn more. Homeowners who have an existing homestead exemption do not need to reapply every year.
     
  2. Protest your property appraisal. If you are unhappy with your appraisal, you have the right to submit a protest to your county’s appraisal review board. The deadline to file your protest is May 31st (or 30 days from the date you received your appraisal notice, whichever is later.)  Click here to read more about the process and forms required to protest your property appraisal.
     
  3. Negotiate a payment plan. Several counties will allow you to work out a payment plan, such as paying in installments. If you are worried you can’t pay your tax bill, make sure to contact your county tax office before the tax deadline to see if they offer payment plans.
What Happens If You Can’t Pay Your Property Taxes?

Counties have the right to foreclose on your home if you fail to pay your property taxes. Click here to learn more about the tax foreclosure process in Texas. If you have tried all of the options above and you are still worried about your property taxes, we recommend contacting a nonprofit housing counselor to explore additional options.

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