Mike Sullivan
Tax Assessor-Collector

Property Tax Frequently Asked Questions
Tax Payments Appraised Value Tax Sales Homestead Exemption
Tax Statements Rendition Penalty Tax Certificates Miscellaneous

  • Q. What is the last day that I can pay my property tax bill without penalty and interest?

    • Property Tax payments are due by January 31st in order to be considered timely.
    • The only exception to this rule is when the last day of the month is a Harris County holiday or falls on a weekend.
      In that case, then the next business day (or first business day in February) is honored as timely for receipt of payment.
    • The extended due date also applies to:
      1. the date of USPS postmark
      2. receipt mark from a contract carrier (such as UPS or FedEx)
      3. transaction date of online payment (whether directly through our website or through your bank, via Bill Pay.)
      4. transaction date of telephone payment
  • Q. Where can I pay my property taxes?

    • You can pay by cash or check at any of our branch office locations throughout Harris County.

      Payments by check only should be mailed to:
      Mike Sullivan, Tax Assessor-Collector
      P.O. Box 3547
      Houston, Texas 77253-3547

      Please make your check payable to Mike Sullivan, and if possible, enclose the coupon from your tax statement with your payment.
    • Online and telephone property tax payments by credit card or e-check are also accepted (see below for more information).
  • Q. Why do I make checks payable to Mike Sullivan?

    • The County Tax Assessor-Collector is an office created by the Texas Constitution. Under the Constitution’s provisions, the Assessor-Collector is personally liable for the funds collected and deposited in separate bank accounts under his control. The Assessor-Collector is relieved of this responsibility and liability when he deposits the funds with the County Treasurer.
  • Q. Can I pay my property taxes online?

    • Yes. The Tax Office accepts full or partial payment of property taxes online. Property taxpayers may also use any combination of credit cards and/or e-Checks for payment. We accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit/debit card.
    • A non-refundable surcharge of 2.15% will be added to each credit card transaction. A flat fee of $3.95 is charged for Visa debit card. E-checks are free.
  • Q. Can I pay my property taxes by telephone?

    • Yes. The Tax Office accepts full or partial payment of property taxes by touch-tone telephone by calling 713-368-CARD (2273) from any place in the world, seven days a week. Property taxpayers may also use any combination of credit cards and/or e-Checks for payment. We accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit/debit card.
    • A non-refundable surcharge of 2.15% will be added to each credit card transaction. A flat fee of $3.95 is charged for Visa debit card. E-checks are free.
  • Q. Our company no longer prints checks; can the Tax Office accept electronic payments?

    • The Tax Office accepts ACH payments from large taxpayers who participate in our mortgage company/large payer program. A single payment can be used to pay up to 50 accounts. However, the Tax Office does not process electronic payments for fewer than five accounts from one taxpayer. Please send inquiries about this program to:

      Mike Sullivan, Tax Assessor-Collector
      Attn: Mortgage Company Processor
      1001 Preston, Suite 310
      Houston, TX 77002

    • We strongly encourage taxpayers paying individual accounts to use our on-line payment functions. All on-line payments can be made with E-checks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. Visa debit cards incur a $3.95 fee per transaction. All other credit and debit cards incur a fee of 2.15% of the amount paid. E-checks are free.
  • Q. Can I pay my current taxes before paying my delinquent taxes?

    • Payments made by mail, credit card, or over the phone are applied to the current taxes first.
  • Q. Can I make monthly payments on my current taxes?

    • Yes. For real property you can make monthly payments through June but you will have to pay penalty and interest starting February 1. If you still have a balance at the end of June, you can enter into an installment agreement with our office at that time to pay any remaining balance plus penalty and interest over the next six months. While you won't avoid paying penalty and interest under this plan, you will avoid the additional collection fee of 15% to 20% on the outstanding balance by signing the installment agreement in June and making the payments on time.
    • Installment agreements are only available through April 1 for business personal property accounts that have been noticed in February. After April 1 the additional 15% to 20% collection fee will apply to these accounts.
  • Q. Can I make monthly payments on my delinquent taxes?

    • Yes, but payment arrangements will have to be made through the delinquent tax law firm.
  • Q. Why do I have to pay penalty and interest when I never received a bill?

    • As a property owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that you receive a bill and that it is paid on time. The statements are mailed and the taxes are due at the same time each year. If you have not received a bill by the middle of December, you should call and request that another one be mailed to you. You are also able to call and get an amount due over the phone as early as October or look up your account on the website www.hctax.net. It is not necessary to have a statement to make payment as long as you have your account number and know the correct amount. You can either mail or take your payment to any Harris County Tax office location.
  • Q. Can a refund be mailed directly to me?

    • If the refund is due to the granting of an exemption (i.e. homestead or disabled veteran), the refund check will be mailed directly to the name and address on the tax roll, if there is no name change on the account. Otherwise, the refund is sent to the payer of the taxes.
  • Q. The mortgage company paid my current taxes. I failed to claim the homestead. How do I get a refund?

    • First, apply to HCAD for the exemption. We will send an application for the homestead exemption, or you may obtain the form directly from HCAD by calling 713-957-7800. If there is no name change on the account, the refund will be issued automatically to the name and address on the tax roll. If there is a name change, the refund will be issued to the actual payer of the taxes.
  • Q. I received a bill for personal property taxes, but I do not own any real estate; I just lease it for my business. Why am I receiving a bill on property I do not own? Should the property owner be paying this?

    • All businesses are taxed on their personal property, such as furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment, inventory and vehicles. Most likely, the bill that you received is for your business personal property and not for the real estate itself. The real estate is taxed separately and the tax statement sent to the property owner.
  • Q. How did you arrive at the appraised value of my property?

    • Placing a taxable value on real property and personal property is a function of the Harris County Appraisal District, not the Tax Office. Please call the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) at 713-957-7800, or go to their website at www.hcad.org.
  • Q. How can I protest my appraised value?

    • All protests must be directed to the Harris County Appraisal District. This office can send a protest form to you, or you may obtain the form directly from HCAD by calling 713-957-7800. The deadline for filing written protests for homestead properties is April 30th or 30 days after the date the appraisal district sends a notice of appraised value, whichever is later.
  • Q. The Harris County Appraisal District reduced my value. When will I receive another statement?

    • You will receive a new tax bill after this office receives the adjusted taxable value from HCAD, if taxes are still owed on the account.
  • Q. I sold part of my acreage. How can I pay my taxes on what I actually own?

    • This will require what is referred to as a "split-out," which is performed by the Harris County Appraisal District.
  • Q. I own several adjoining lots and the homestead was assigned to the wrong lot. How do I get it corrected?

    • The Harris County Appraisal District will have to make the correction. You will receive a corrected statement after HCAD certifies the correction to the Harris County Tax Office, if the taxes are unpaid. However, this does not extend the original due date, so do not wait to pay your tax bill!
  • What do I do if one of my jurisdictions on my bill is wrong??

    • Contact the Harris County Appraisal District at 713-957-7800.
  • Q. Can the delinquent tax attorneys sell my property for unpaid taxes?

    • It is possible that property can be sold for delinquent taxes. A lawsuit for tax lien foreclosure can be filed and a judgment subsequently granted by the court. The attorneys, with the approval of the Harris County Tax Office, can then proceed with tax sale procedures.
  • Q. What is the procedure for purchasing property with delinquent taxes?

    • Property can be bought for delinquent taxes only after a lawsuit for tax lien foreclosure has been filed, and later a judgment has been granted by the court to sell the property. You will need to contact the law firm that administers delinquent tax sales on behalf of Harris County. The law firm for Harris County, Houston Independent School District, Houston Commmunity College and the City of Houston is Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, L.L.P. Their telephone number is 713-844-3400.
  • Q. When and where are General Tax Sales held?

    • When: 1st Tuesday of each month
      Where: Family Law Center
      1115 Congress
      Houston, TX 77002
      Hours: Registration begins 8:30 am. Sales are conducted from 10 am - 4 pm.
      Held by: The eight Harris County Constables who are responsible for holding tax sales of property with delinquent taxes within their respective precincts.
  • Q. Who selects the properties to be included in Delinquent Property Tax Sales?

    • Properties are jointly selected for sale by representatives of the taxing units and their delinquent tax attorneys.
  • Q. Where can I find a list of the properties to be included in a Tax Sale?

    • There are various sources available. Properties being sold by the constables, as a tax foreclosure or writ of execution, are:
      • posted on a bulletin board at the Family Law Center
      • published in the Daily Court Review
      • published in the Foreclosure Listing Service
    • The following law firms also post properties being sold for taxes for the taxing jurisdictions they represent on their websites:
  • Q. Where can I find a description of the properties to be sold?

    • Detailed property descriptions are not posted on this website. That information can be obtained from the Harris County Appraisal District , using the HCAD account number, at: www.hcad.org.
  • Q. How Do I Register to Bid on a Tax Sale?

    • All bidders must register with the Tax Office prior to placing a bid. Registration is free.
    • Temporary bidder cards valid only for the day of sale can be obtained the morning of the sale, beginning at 8:30 am.
    • Permanent bidder registration cards with bidder numbers may be obtained at “Will Call” on the day of the sale. Pre-registration is available online at www.hctax.net until midnight on the Sunday before the sale date.
    • Bidder lists are distributed to the constables at 10:00 am on the date of the sale and updated periodically during the day.
    • For subsequent sales, temporary bidders must update their bidder contact information on our website with a driver’s license or identification number. All bidder cards are cancelled if there has been no purchase in the past 12th months.
  • Q. Can I send someone to bid for me?

    • Agents are allowed to represent a bidder at the sale provided they have identification and a notarized power of attorney.
  • Q. Can I bid online?

    • Currently, no online bidding is available. Bidders or their agents must be present to bid.
  • Q. How is the Minimum Bid Determined?

    • In order to purchase tax sale property at a first sale, the bidder must pay at least the statutory minimum bid, which is set at the lower of:
      • market value or
      • the total of all amounts due within the judgment (tax, penalty, interest and attorney fees) plus court cost, title search costs, constable fees, and posting and publication fees.
    • The minimum bid is determined prior to the sale by the Constable and is announced at the sale. If taxes have accrued on the property for years after the tine of the foreclosure judgment (“post judgment taxes”), the tax sale purchaser is also responsible for those taxes.
  • Q. What if no minimum bid is received at the Tax Sale?

    • If no bidder offers the minimum bid, the property will be struck-off to the posting jurisdiction and re-sold at a later date. Harris County generally does not sell struck-off properties by private re-sale. However, some taxing units located within Harris County do. Harris County properties are re-offered at a subsequent Constable sale for a lesser minimum bid.
  • Q. How and when do you pay for property that is purchased at a Tax Sale?

    • Payment by cash or certified check must be made to the Constables at the time of the sale.
  • Q. What is required to obtain the deed transferring ownership of the property purchased?

    • All purchasers (successful bidders) at tax sales are required to obtain a Statement from the county tax assessor-collector that the purchaser does not owe any delinquent taxes. This is required before the constable can execute the deed transferring ownership. You can find the Request for Written Statement form on our website at www.hctax.net.
    • The name of the registered bidder/purchaser and the applicant for the statement must be the same. Purchasers must list all properties they currently own in Harris County, or any property sold with delinquent taxes. You are not required to obtain the Statement of Taxes until after you have actually made a purchase at a tax sale.
    • To obtain the statement, you may:
      • Complete the request online. Print and sign the form and have it notarized. Then, mail it to our office with the $10 fee.
      • Bring the completed, signed and notarized form along with the $10 fee to our downtown office at: 1001 Preston, 1st Floor, Customer Service Department.
    • When processing the request:
      • The Tax Office verifies that all properties have been listed and tax liabilities have been paid to the County, cities, school districts within Harris County.
      • The Tax Office then issues a statement valid for 90 days.
      • You will receive a statement from the Tax Office by mail. The Constable will receive the same document electronically and will then release the deed.
  • Q. What does it mean to purchase the property “as is”?

    • In Harris County, and in the State of Texas, the taxing units have no liability or responsibility for the condition of the properties or the title of the properties that are posted for public sale. The successful bidder purchases the property “as is”; meaning that each purchaser is responsible to do their own investigation of the properties being offered for sale, both as to the physical condition of the property, as well as any title issues, etc. The property is subject to any other liens or encumbrances that are not cleared from the sale of the property. This may include other tax liens and judgments not included in the sale.
  • Q. I received my tax statement and it does not show my exemption?

    • Perhaps you have not filed the proper affidavit with the appraisal district. You are entitled to a homestead exemption if you own your home on January 1 and it is your primary residence. You can claim only one homestead exemption as of January 1. In order to receive a homestead exemption, an affidavit must be filed with the Harris County Appraisal District. All exemptions, such as homestead, over 65, disabled persons, and disabled veterans require execution of an affidavit with the Harris County Appraisal District. You can request the Tax Office to send the necessary form to you, or you can obtain them directly from HCAD by calling 713-957-7800.
  • Q. We are over 65 and pay no taxes. We received a statement showing a emergency service district tax. Why?

    • Emergency service districts were created by the state legislature and approved by the voters of the various districts. They have the legal authority to set a tax rate and may not allow exemptions. These exemptions are not mandatory, and they do not have to grant them. If no exemption is allowed, you are liable for the tax. There is a maximum allowable exemption, and if the value is higher than the exemption, the value above the exemption is taxable.
  • Q. I received a homestead exemption for the current year, but I sold the property. How can I correct this matter?

    • The exemption goes by its status as of January 1st of each year. If you purchased a new home you need to file for a homestead exemption on your new homestead property with the Harris County Appraisal District for the next January 1. You can download an application for a homestead exemption from our site, or you may obtain it directly from HCAD by calling 713-957-7800.
  • Q. What are the types of Homestead Exemptions?

    • General Residence Homestead Exemptions: You may only apply for residence homestead exemptions on one property in a tax year. A homestead may include up to 20 acres of land that you actually use in the residential use (occupancy) of your home. Arbitrary factors that are unrelated to that use, such as acreage limits, matching legal descriptions, and contiguous parcels, may not be considered in determining if the land qualifies. To qualify for a homestead exemption, you must own and reside in your home on January 1 of the tax year. If you temporarily move away from your home, you still can qualify for an exemption if you don’t establish another principal residence and you intend to return in a period of less than two (2) years. Homeowners in military service outside the U.S. or in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity, or aging may exceed the two-year period.
    • Over-65 or Disability Exemptions: You may receive an over-65 or disability homestead exemption immediately upon qualification for the exemption. If you have not provided your birth date on this application, you must apply before the first anniversary of your qualification date to receive the exemption in that tax year. For example, if you turn 65 or are disabled on June 1 of the current year, you have until May 31 of the next year to apply for the current tax year’s over-65 or disability exemption. This special provision only applies to an over-65 or disability exemption and not to other exemptions for which you may apply.
    • Disability Exemptions. You are entitled to the exemption if you meet the Social Security Administration's tests for disability. Insimplest terms: 1) You must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment; 2) The impairment must prevent you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity; and 3) The impairment must be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or to result in death. Alternatively, you will qualify if you are 55 or older and blind and cannot engage in your previous work because of your blindness. To verify your eligibility, attach a copy of your disability determination letter from Social Security (or other recognized retirement system), or have your physician complete and mail us the HCAD form titled Physician's Statement Verifying Eligibility for Disability Homestead Exemption.
    • Tax Limitations: The over-65 or disability exemption for school taxes includes a school tax limitation, or ceiling. Other types of taxing units – county, city, or junior college – have the option to grant a tax limitation on homesteads of homeowners who are disabled or 65 years of age or older.
    • 100% Disabled Veterans: Certain disabled veterans are eligible for 100% exemptions for their residence homesteads. Current documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must be submitted to prove that the veteran receives full VA compensation and is either rated at 100% disabled or has a determination of unemployability from the VA.
    • Surviving Spouse Age 55 or Older: Age 65 or older – You qualify for an extension of this exemption if (1) you are 55 years of age or older on the date your spouse died and (2) your deceased spouse was receiving the over-65 exemption on this residence homestead or would have applied and qualified for the exemption in the year of the spouse’s death. You will not receive the school tax limitation for the over-65 exemption unless your spouse died on or after December 1, 1987
    • Disabled: You will not qualify for a disability exemption claimed by your deceased spouse. You are not entitled to continue the school tax limitation; however, you will be entitled to continue the local option county, city or junior college limitation.
      • Surviving Spouse Age 55 or Older: If your deceased spouse was receiving or qualified for the over-65 exemption at death, you may be entitled to receive the exemption, as well as the school tax ceiling if you were 55 years of age or older on the date of your spouse's death. If your deceased spouse received the disability exemption and not the over-65 exemption, you may be eligible for continuation of a tax ceiling granted by a city, county, or junior college, but you are not eligible for the disability exemption or the school tax ceiling.
      • For more details, please refer to the Exemptions website of Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
  • Q. If I pay my property taxes to the Harris County Tax Office, why do I have to file my Homestead Exemption with the Harris County Appraisal District??

  • Q. What if my Texas Driver License or Texas ID doesn't match the address of my Homestead Exemption?

    • To change your address for a Texas Driver License or Texas ID, simply go to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) website. To be eligible for an online change of address, you must have your current Driver License/ID card in your possession; valid credit card for $10.00 processing fee (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express), the last four digits of your Social Security number, and ensure:
      1. Texas Driver License or Texas ID is not currently expired.
      2. At least 18 years of age.
      3. Not currently suspended or have outstanding traffic tickets or warrants.
      4. U.S. Citizen
      Otherwise go in person to your local Texas DPS office.
    • TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY FEES:
      • $25.00 for a driver’s license (expiration 6 years)
      • $16.00 for an ID card (under 60 years of age and expiration of 6 years)
      • $6.00 for an ID card (over 60 years of age and an indefinite expiration date)
    • Note: The address on your Texas Driver’s License will be accepted if different from the homestead address and you are:
      • active duty military or their spouse and can show proof of military ID and a current utility bill
      • are a federal or state judge, their spouse or a peace officer whose address information has been omitted from your driver’s license and you can provide a copy of the application for the driver’s license
    • Texas DPS Statewide Information: (512) 424‐2600
  • Q. How do I obtain a Texas Driver License or Texas ID?

    • To obtain a new Texas Driver License or Texas Identification Card (first time license or moving to Texas from out of state) go in person to a Texas DPS location. You will need to complete an application, provide proof of identity (proof of Social Security, birth certificate, or an out-of-state driver license), proof of vehicle registration, consent to be photographed, fingerprinted, and provide a signature. Passing a vision examination is required. First time applicants need to schedule a time for taking the driving test and pass both the driving and written test. Out of state applicants should apply within 90 days after entry into the state and need to be prepared to surrender their valid out-of-state driver’s license upon application.
    • TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY FEES:
      • $25.00 for a driver’s license (expiration 6 years)
      • $16.00 for an ID card (under 60 years of age and expiration of 6 years)
      • $6.00 for an ID card (over 60 years of age and an indefinite expiration date)
    • TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY – HARRIS COUNTY LOCATIONS
      • 4545 Dacoma, Houston, Texas 77092 - (713) 683‐0541
      • 12220 S. Gessner, Houston, Texas 77071 - (713) 219‐4100
      • 10503 Grant Rd., Houston, Texas 77070 - (281) 890‐5440
      • 1601 Townhurst, Houston, Texas 77043 - (713) 465‐8462
      • 5420 Decker Dr., Baytown, Texas 77520 - (281) 424‐3669
      • 9206 Winkler, Houston, Texas 77017 - (713) 943‐0725
      • 8825 Tidwell Rd., Houston, Texas 77078 - (713) 633‐9872
      • 7710 Will Clayton Pkwy., Humble, Texas 77338 - (713) 633‐9872
      • 2731 Red Bluff Rd., Pasadena, Texas 77503 - (713) 473‐3232
      • 15403 Vantage Pkwy E. Ste. 300, Houston, Texas 77032 - (281) 449‐2685
      • 111 Tristar, Webster, Texas 77598 - (281) 486‐8242
    • Texas DPS Statewide Information: (512) 424‐2600
  • Q. Where are Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety) locations in Harris County?

    • TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY – HARRIS COUNTY LOCATIONS
      • 4545 Dacoma, Houston, Texas 77092 - (713) 683‐0541
      • 12220 S. Gessner, Houston, Texas 77071 - (713) 219‐4100
      • 10503 Grant Rd., Houston, Texas 77070 - (281) 890‐5440
      • 1601 Townhurst, Houston, Texas 77043 - (713) 465‐8462
      • 5420 Decker Dr., Baytown, Texas 77520 - (281) 424‐3669
      • 9206 Winkler, Houston, Texas 77017 - (713) 943‐0725
      • 8825 Tidwell Rd., Houston, Texas 77078 - (713) 633‐9872
      • 7710 Will Clayton Pkwy., Humble, Texas 77338 - (713) 633‐9872
      • 2731 Red Bluff Rd., Pasadena, Texas 77503 - (713) 473‐3232
      • 15403 Vantage Pkwy E. Ste. 300, Houston, Texas 77032 - (281) 449‐2685
      • 111 Tristar, Webster, Texas 77598 - (281) 486‐8242
    • Texas DPS Statewide Information: (512) 424‐2600
  • Q. How can I contact the Harris County Appraisal District if I have more questions?

    • HARRIS COUNTY APPRAISAL DISTRICT CONTACT INFORMATION
      • OFFICE LOCATION:
        13013 Northwest Freeway
        Houston, Texas 77040-6305
      • MAILING ADDRESS:
        P.O. Box 920975
        Houston, Texas 77292-0975
      • OFFICE HOURS
        8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
        Monday - Friday
      • TELEPHONE INFORMATION CENTER
        Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
        Monday - Friday
        (713) 957-7800
      • TDD for the Hearing Impaired:
        (713) 957-5660
      • Switchboard:
        (713) 812-5660
      • E-MAIL FOR ACCOUNT QUESTIONS
        help@hcad.org
      • WEBSITE:www.hcad.org
  • Q. I am a totally (100%) disabled veteran, how do I receive the 100% exemption on my property taxes?

    • Starting in Tax Year 2009 qualifying veterans are eligible for a 100% exemption on their homestead. Please contact HCAD by calling 713 957-7800 for the application and required documentation.
  • Q. I paid off my house and my mortgage company will not be paying my taxes this year. How do I make sure that I receive my tax statement? When are the statements mailed out and when are taxes due?

    • As long as a statement is not requested by a mortgage company, it is automatically mailed to the current certified owner of record per the Harris County Appraisal District. The majority of statements are mailed out during November of each year. If you have not received your statement by mid-December, it is your responsibility to notify us so that we can send out another statement. Taxes are due upon receipt of the statement, and should be paid no later than January 31st of the year following the year the tax was incurred.
  • Q. This is not my property. What shall I do with this statement?

    • If you know the name of the owner, please return the statement to this office with the name of the owner. If you do not know the name of the owner, return the statement with that notation.
  • Q. The name and address on this statement are incorrect. How can I get it changed?

    • The Harris County Appraisal District is responsible for determining each property owner's name and address. We can send you a name and address correction form, and then you forward it to the Harris County Appraisal District, Customer Service Division, P.O. Box 922010, Houston, TX 77292-2010. If it is more convenient, you can get the form directly from HCAD by calling 713-957-7800, or download the real property correction form or personal property correction form directly from our website.
  • Q. What is a tax account number and what do you mean by a "legal description"?

    • The tax account number is assigned by the Harris County Appraisal District and is used to help identify each piece of property. Normally, only one account number is assigned to each parcel. The legal description describes the property as a parcel in a larger tract (e.g., Lot 1, Block 2 in Meadow Subdivision), so it can be located on a map. If the legal description is wrong on your statement, this error should be directed to the Harris County Appraisal District for proper handling. If you so request, we will send the necessary real property correction form or personal property correction form to you, or you may obtain them directly from HCAD by calling 713-957-7800.
  • Q. How do I receive my tax bill electronically?

    • For the 2012 tax year the Tax Office is not delivering tax bills electronically. Starting with the 2013 tax year, the Tax Office will provide taxpayers the opportunity to receive an electronic version of their tax statement as authorized by HB 843, passed in 2011.

      Taxpayers can sign up to use this service for 2013 using the unique e-bill code on their TY 2012 bills. The use of the unique e-bill code is designed to provide Harris County taxpayers with some assurance that another individual cannot re-direct their tax statement. Taxpayers signing up for electronic delivery in 2013 will no longer receive a mailed statement.
  • Q. Can you send me a statement on my taxes for part of the year?

    • The Harris County Tax Office does not prorate taxes; the tax bill must reflect the full amount owed.
  • Q. Why am I getting a delinquent tax bill on a parcel I just purchased?

    • The tax laws require this office to mail delinquent tax bills to the current owner of real estate, rather than to the previous owner. Because a tax lien exists against that parcel, it is in the current owner's best interest to have knowledge of that lien. If a lawsuit were filed to foreclose the lien, the current owner (not the previous owner) risks losing the property to foreclosure.
  • Q. What is the rendition penalty?

    • Chapter 22, Texas Tax Code, requires owners of business personal property to file a rendition describing the property with the chief appraiser by April 15 of each year and also prescribes the penalty for failure to comply.
    • The rendition penalty is a penalty created by the Texas Legislature on those businesses failing to file their business personal property rendition, or filing their rendition late, to the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD).
    • The rendition penalty is generally equal to 10% of the amount of property taxes ultimately imposed on the property.
  • Q. How do I protest my penalty (or get a waiver)?

    • The Tax Office does not have the legal authority to waive or reduce the penalty. If you can provide evidence that you substantially complied with the rendition requirement or that your failure to comply was due to circumstances beyond your control, you can apply to the chief appraiser for a waiver. Lack of knowledge or forgetting the deadline will not be considered as a basis for a waiver. Your application letter must be received by the appraisal district within 30 days of the date you received your bill. Send a cover letter, a detailed explanation of the reason(s) for your failure to timely file, and a completed rendition form (or supporting statement, if the penalty relates to a supporting statement).
    • If the chief appraiser fails to approve your request for waiver, you may protest the decision to the appraisal review board.
  • Q. If I am a vendor, will I be prevented from getting County contracts until the bill is paid?

    • Yes, unpaid rendition penalty will be treated the same as unpaid property tax for purposes of determining compliance with the Harris County vendors policy.
  • Q. I want to protest the rendition penalty or request a waiver. How do I do this?

    • Contact the Harris County Appraisal District at 713-957-7800.
  • Q. I filed all of my rendition paper work by the deadline. How do I get the penalty removed?

    • Contact the Harris County Appraisal District at 713-957-7800.
  • Q. Who does this money go to?

    • The penalty is divided 5% to the appraisal district and 95% to the various taxing jurisdictions.
  • Q. What is a Tax Certificate?

    • A Tax Certificate is a document which shows the current status of an account on a given day and is affixed with the official seal of the Tax Office.
  • Q. How do I request a Tax Certificate?

    • The Harris County Tax Office provides Tax Certificates for a $10 fee as authorized by the Tax Code. To request a certificate, complete and submit the Tax Certificate Request Form along with the $10 fee.
  • Q. Can I go to any Tax Office location to obtain a tax certificate?

    • No. Only the downtown office ( 1001 Preston) issues tax certificates.
  • Q. How long does it take to receive a tax certificate?

    • The turn-around time for the issuance of a tax certificate is usually 2 to 3 business days.
  • Q. Can the Harris County Tax Office tell me if my school taxes are paid?

    • The Harris County Tax Office collects for the Houston, Katy, Deer Park, and North Forest Independent School Districts. If you live in another school district please contact the tax assessor-collector for your district.
  • Q. Why are my taxes higher this year than in previous years?

    • Check your exemptions. If you were not granted the exemption allowed, contact HCAD. The appraised value may be greater than in the previous year. If so, you will receive an explanation from the Harris County Appraisal District for the increase. Also, the tax rate may have increased and if so, the amount of your tax could be more than the previous year. The breakdown of the tax rates of the various jurisdictions is shown on your tax statement. Lastly, periodically the Harris County Tax Office will start collecting for a jurisdiction that was previously billed separately. A consolidated bill will be more than the previous year's bill.
  • Q. Selling or Refinancing?

    • With interest rates at all time lows many people are refinancing existing loans. Others are selling an existing home and upgrading to a new home. Part of the closing costs associated with the selling or refinancing of a home loan are property taxes. To make sure there are not any tax “surprises” at closing please answer the questions below and take the indicated actions.
      • Are you refinancing with your current mortgage company? Congratulations – no further action is needed.
      • Does your mortgage payment include escrow for taxes and insurance?
      • Is your closing scheduled between November 15th and January 31st?
    • If you answered yes to the last two questions you need to contact your existing mortgage company as soon as the closing date is set. The title company handling the closing will require a tax certificate to show that the taxes are paid at the closing. Otherwise you will be required to pay any unpaid taxes at closing. To insure that the Tax Office has received the tax payment from your mortgage company.
    • The State Comptroller’s Office provides a comprehensive overview of this process, entitled Property Tax Basics. This document details the four phases of the annual property tax levy:
      • Appraisal or property valuation (including responsibilities of the Appraisal District and exemptions available to reduce property taxes);
      • Equalization or value protests;
      • Taxation or adopting budgets and setting tax rates (aka the "assessment" phase); and
      • Collection or payment from taxpayers (including payment deadlines, deferring payments and consequences of failure to pay).
    • It also provides a calendar of due dates for all yearly taxing events and a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.