With some of the highest property taxes in the US, few homeowners in Texas enjoy seeing their property tax bill arrive in the mail. While many people do their best to save for this annual bill, it’s also important to stay aware of the ways in which you can reduce your property taxes so that you’re not paying more than you should. Here is some advice from American Finance & Investment Company, Inc. (AFIC), one of the leading property tax loan companies in Texas.
The amount you pay in property taxes is determined by multiplying your home’s value by the property tax rate. But, how can you be sure that your home’s value is correct? Each county has assessors whose job it is to value properties each year, however, the methods they use aren’t standard and will vary from county to county. Often, these assessors have little or no real estate expertise, so inaccuracies in valuations can and do occur.
Fortunately, there is a system in place to challenge these valuations and ensure that your home is not being over-valued. You should receive your property valuation for the following year’s property taxes around April to May. If you do not, you can contact your local county tax office to get the information. You can appeal this valuation by contacting your Texas county tax assessor for a hearing in May or June.
To get an idea of your home’s taxable value, you can call in a range of local real estate agents to perform an evaluation. You can also look at the values at which properties in your area that are similar to your home have sold for in the last year. There are also companies that will represent you to protest your taxes on a contingency basis.
In addition to challenging your property valuation, you should also check and see if you qualify for any property tax breaks. These differ from county to county and can be found in Chapter 11 of the Texas Tax Code. They may include the following:
Seniors and Persons with Disabilities: Homeowners who are 65 years and older or who are disabled (including disabled veterans) can receive several property tax exemptions determined by chief appraisers depending on county regulations, including an exemption from school taxes of no less than $3,000. For the exemption to apply to a disabled person, you must meet the qualifying criteria included in the Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Act.
Residence Homestead Exemption: A basic $25,000 exemption on residence homesteads is included in Texas law, with an option for counties to offer an additional exemption of up to 20% of the property’s valuation. The property has to be the owner’s primary residence, and you cannot claim an exemption on another residence homestead inside or outside Texas borders.
Veterans Exemptions: Veterans can access partial exemptions on properties they own, and this extends to surviving spouses and children of deceased or disabled veterans (providing they have not remarried). This amount is determined in relation to the percentage of a service-related disability.
In addition, you may also qualify for a tax deferral or a tax payment plan from the county tax office. There are also several discounts that you may qualify for, for example, you may get a reduced property tax bill if you pay your taxes early in some counties.
If you want more information on these exemptions and discounts, it’s important to contact your local tax office for a full list so that you can complete the necessary forms before the deadline.
American Finance & Investment Company, Inc. (AFIC) is one of the leading property tax loan companies in Texas. Since 1946, we’ve been helping people and businesses with property tax relief throughout Texas to improve their financial situation, and reduce the risk of foreclosure or bankruptcy. We can help you pay your property tax bill or pay delinquent property taxes through a structured, affordable property tax loan. Get an estimate today by completing the form below.
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YOUR TAX OFFICE MAY OFFER DELINQUENT TAX INSTALLMENT PLANS THAT MAY BE LESS COSTLY TO YOU. YOU CAN REQUEST INFORMATION ABOUT THE AVAILABILITY OF THESE PLANS FROM THE TAX OFFICE.
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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