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Consumer Alert - Misleading Homestead Exemption Offers
Texas law provides for certain exemptions, deferrals to help reduce the property tax obligations of qualifying property owners. These tax breaks are administered by the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD).
You must apply to HCAD for any exemptions for which you qualify. HCAD will subsequently notify the Harris County Tax Office of any resulting changes to your tax statement.
Please refer to the website www.hcad.org for all applicable forms and any additional information.
To apply for a Homestead Exemption, you must submit the following to the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD):
In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that provides qualified active duty military personnel serving during a war or national emergency outside the State of Texas, a deferral of the taxes and a waiver of penalties and interest. The deferral applies only to property owned or co-owned by the servicemember on the date transferred out of Texas or acquired later by inheritance or gift.
Active military personnel not qualifying for the State’s deferral and waiver of penalties and interest may qualify for property tax relief under the Federal War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Under the Act, servicemembers that qualify pay only 6% interest on delinquent taxes. No penalty applies.
To request relief under the Federal law, please send a letter identifying the property owned with your active military orders along with the completed waiver of penalty and interest form indicating the period of current service. Mail to: Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector Attn: Customer Service Dept. Room 100-02 1001 Preston Houston, Texas 77002 or You may fax your orders to 713-274-2219.
If you are a homeowner age 65 or over or disabled, you can stop a judgment or tax sale, or defer (postpone) paying delinquent property taxes on your homestead for as long as you own it and live in it. To postpone your tax payments, file a tax deferral affidavit with your appraisal district. The deferral applies to delinquent property taxes for all of the taxing units that tax your home.
You should be aware that a tax deferral only postpones payments, it does not cancel them. Interest will be added at the rate of 5% annually. Once you no longer own your home or live in it, all the taxes, pre-deferral penalties and interest, together with the 5% deferral interest become due after 180 days. If the taxes remain unpaid, regular penalties and interest accrue and the taxing units may proceed with a lawsuit to collect delinquent taxes through a tax sale.
If you have an over 65 or disabled exemption or are the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, you may request to pay your property taxes in 4 equal payments without penalty and interest.
In order to avoid penalty and interest, the request and initial payment must be submitted by January 31st.
Requests will be accepted after January 31st and before March 1st. However 6% penalty and 1% interest will be assessed for the month of February and the next payment will be due by March 31st.
Requests should be sent to: Special Tax Services Dept. - P.O. Box 3746 Houston, TX 77253-3746.
The remaining taxes, after the first installment, may be paid without penalty or interest if submitted in a timely manner, as follows:
For help regarding this payment plan, call Special Tax Services at: 713-274-8120.
In accordance with Section 31.032 of the Property Tax Code, taxpayers who sustained property damage as a result of a declared natural disaster may be eligible to split their property tax payments into 4 equal interest free installments, to be paid in full by July 31st.
You will be notified ONLY if the request is not approved.
If you pay more than the amount due for an installment, then the excess will be credited to the next installment payment.
If payment is not made before the deadline (delinquency date), the unpaid amount of the specific installment payment due is delinquent and incurs a penalty of 6% and 1% interest as provided by Section 33.01(c) of the Property Tax Code.
For inquiries regarding Installment Payment Plans for Disaster Victims, call 713-274-8120.