Texas Property Tax Glossary


Property taxes are taxes paid on property that either individuals or corporations own. Property taxes are based on the property’s assessed value and many consider them a regressive tax. These taxes are used to fund services such as schools, law enforcement, fire protection, education, road and utilities, and other community services.

Texas has no state property tax. Local governments such as counties set the tax rates and are responsible for collecting the taxes used to provide services in their locality. Here is a list of terms and definitions that you will come across when learning about the Texas Property Tax. You can learn more in the Texas Property Tax Basics guide.

Property Tax Terms

Property Tax

A tax that is paid to a local government entity or taxing authority by individuals or corporations that own property.

Regressive Tax

A tax that does not correlate with an individual’s earnings or income level. Property taxes and sales taxes on goods and services are generally examples of regressive taxes.


The process of valuing a property and determining its market value.

Market Value

The price that a property would be sold for in the current market if the seller is given a reasonable time frame to find a buyer. Both the seller and buyer know all uses of the property and restrictions on its use—also, both the seller and buyer are trying to maximize their gains.

Notice of Appraised Value

A document sent by the appraisal district to inform you of your property’s appraised and taxable value of both the current and preceding year. The Notice of Appraised Value will explain available exemptions, an estimate of taxes, and instructions on protesting the appraisal.

Appraisal District

The appraisal district in each county is responsible for appraising the value of properties within the county. You can go to the appraisal district to answer questions about the appraisal process, including protesting the appraisal.

Appraisal Review Board (ARB)

The ARB is a board of local citizens appointed by the local administrative district judge in the county. The ARB hears protests between property owners and the appraisal district about taxability and property values.

Local Taxing Units

The local taxing units set your property tax rates. These include counties, school districts, cities, junior colleges, and special purpose districts. You can contact your local taxing unit(s) for answers to questions regarding tax rates and tax bills.

Property Tax Cycle

The four main phases that occur in the Texas property tax system comprise the property tax cycle. These phases are appraisal, equalization, assessment, and collection.

Appraisal Phase

From January 1st through May 15th of the year, Texas properties are appraised, and appraisal notices are sent to property owners. Appraisal records are prepared and submitted to the ARB.

Equalization Phase

Occurring from May 15th through July 25th, this is the time for Texans to have their protests and challenges heard and determined by the ARB. The ARB will generally approve appraisal records by July 20th, and the appraisals are then supposed to be certified by the Chief Appraiser by July 25th and sent to local taxing units.

Assessment Phase

Occurring from July 25th through October 1st, local taxing units receive the approved appraisals, and tax rates are set and imposed. Tax bills start being sent to property owners.

Collection Phase

From October 1st through January 31st, current taxes are collected from property owners. On February 1st, penalties and interest will be charged on unpaid taxes, with additional penalties starting on July 1st. Note - deadlines which fall on non business days are extended to the next business day.

Tax Exemption

A partial tax exemption removes a percentage or fixed dollar amount of a property’s value from taxation. A full tax exemption will exclude the entire property from taxation. Exempted taxes do not need to be repaid.

Tax Deferral

Qualified owners can get a tax deferral that allows them to postpone when taxes are due without being levied any delinquent penalties. Interest is charged on deferred taxes, and both the interest and accrued taxes must be paid within 180 days of the end of the deferral.


Founded in 1946, American Finance & Investment Co., Inc. (AFIC) started by serving the financial needs of El Paso and has since grown to become one of the top property tax lenders in the state of Texas, with a complaint-free track record for over 65 years with the Better Business Bureau.

We offer our clients an affordable, hassle-free way to ensure that your account with the local government tax office is paid in full and will work out a manageable repayment plan for you. AFIC can provide you with an instant quote by completing the form on our homepage.

We pride ourselves on finding solutions to suit the unique needs of our clients. If you would like to discuss our property tax loans, please contact our experienced team at AFIC today.

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If you are over 64 or disabled, don’t get a property tax loan, contact your tax office about a deferral.

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