If you own property in Texas, you will have to pay property taxes. But what happens if you get behind on your taxes or if your property taxes are not paid? If your taxes are not paid on time, then you can incur extra penalties and eventually, you can lose your property to a tax sale or auction. Here are some of the most common questions asked about taxes in Texas.
Tax notifications are sent out around the first of October for most areas of the state. The state law does allow you to pay half of your taxes by the end of November and the remaining balance by the end of June without having to pay any interest or penalties. However, not all areas offer this option so be sure to check with your localities and the applicable tax laws in your area. If you do not pay and your taxes become delinquent, you will be charged a 6% penalty and 1% interest which will continue to accrue each month taxes are considered delinquent. For example, if your taxes are not paid before July 1, your unpaid balance will have an additional 18% added on. This is a total of the 12 percent penalty and 6 percent interest.
If the taxing agent is responsible for your taxes being in a delinquent state, then the state law requires the penalty and interest to be waived. But, in these cases, the owner of the property must still pay their taxes within 3 weeks of knowing about them being due, or from when they should have known they were due. The owner has six months after a delinquency to request a refund of any penalties or interest that have been paid before the waiver.
If your delinquent property taxes are not paid by July 1 they will not only incur additional penalties, but there will also be a 15% attorney fee added on. This is because the taxing unit has to form a contract with an attorney in order to be able to collect the delinquent taxes from the property owner. The tax official will notify the owner of this additional attorney fee prior to July1. The property owner should know in plenty of time of the additional fees being added on should the taxes not be paid. If the taxes are not paid by July 1, the attorney can choose to attempt collections using legal proceedings.
It is possible for the city to auction your house or put it into foreclosure if you do not pay your taxes. If your property taxes are not paid the overdue amount which includes any penalties and interest will become a lien. Once the property tax is considered delinquent then the taxing authority can go to court to start the foreclosure process. The courts can enter a judgment against you and your property can be sold. There are many different tax sales in counties throughout Texas every year. You will always be given a written notice before the sale is to take place. The notice, which may be delivered by mail or in person, will inform you of the date, location and time the sale is to take place.
If you want to stop the foreclosure process, it can be “cured” by paying off all the taxes at any time before the sale takes place. Paying all of the taxes that are due will release the lien and stop the foreclosure process. However, if you are not able to cure the delinquency, then the property will be sold at public auction and the highest bidder will be able to purchase it. Their bid has to be enough to cover all the judgment or be equal to the market value of the home. Whoever wins the bid will get the title to your home. In the state of Texas, you can still redeem your property for two years after the deed has been filed in county records. But in order to redeem your property, you have to reimburse the winner of the bid, or the highest bidder, for all they paid including the purchase price, taxes and anything else they were responsible for paying.
There are some exceptions for disabled or elderly individuals who have difficulty paying their taxes. They will still owe property taxes but have the option of paying them in four separate payments, or installments. They have to pay a fourth before the first of February and the other payments must be made by April 1, June 1, and August 1. There are no penalties incurred for making installments. However, if they miss a payment, a 6% penalty and 1% interest for each month they are delinquent will be added.
For disabled individuals or persons over 65, taxes can be deferred as long as they live in the house. Payments can be postponed by filing a tax deferral affidavit with your particular taxing district. You can also suspend a foreclosure if there has been a tax lien put in place on the property. But this must be filed up to 5 days before the property is to be sold. The deferral will cover any delinquent taxes or other taxing units. But a deferral will only postpone property taxes, it does not cancel them out. Interest will still be added each year at 8% each year. After the owner no longer lives in the home, or no longer owns it, all the past taxes, interest and penalties will become due. If all these taxes and fees are not paid for 180 days, everything becomes due. If these are not paid within 91 days, attorney fees can be added and legal action can be taken in order to collect the taxes.
If you cannot afford to pay your property taxes on a house in San Antonio, TX or surrounding areas, we can help. We buy houses in San Antonio and have been doing so for well over a decade. We’ve bought hundreds of houses and help every one of the homeowners through the process. We eliminate the stress of selling your house by paying cash. This means you won’t have to deal with appraisals, inspections, surveys, or tons of paperwork. Give us a call. We’d love to help you understand your options.