Tax Help and Lower Liabilities With a Texas Property Tax Deferral for Seniors
Texas does not make life easy for retired homeowners. With an average property tax rate of 1.69%, it is a long way away from the states with low property tax and sits well above the U.S. average of 1.07%.
This is a potential problem for senior citizens with limited income, and many may require help paying their property tax.
DoNotPay is here to help with information and advice on how you can lower your property tax bill or apply for a Texas property tax deferral for seniors.
How Does Texas Work Out Property Tax?
Texas works out your property tax by multiplying two elements, namely:
- Tax rate
- Assessed property value
Texas is an anomaly in the U.S. as it does not charge state property tax or offer central funding to counties. Each county is responsible for collecting property tax and funding the services and amenities it needs, such as:
- Road maintenance
- Fire and police services
The result is that many counties in Texas set high property tax rates to ensure enough money is available to cover the funding requirements. The ten most expensive counties in Texas all levy 2% or more:
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
On average, homeowners in Texas expect an annual property tax bill of $3,390—a huge sum for anybody but potentially disastrous for a senior citizen living on retirement benefits.
Assessed Property Value
Your real property is assessed every year by county officials to determine its value. The approach they use compares your property with sales data for similar properties in the area.
This can result in inaccuracies in the valuation of your home that will be reflected in your property tax bill. Texas house prices rose 7.9% during 2020, meaning that your home may be given a higher assessment than last year solely due to the fact that the market was buoyant, not to any real or sustainable increase in the value of your property.
These two factors put pressure on homeowners, and the state’s most vulnerable residents are likely to be the hardest hit.
What Property Tax Help Does Texas Offer Senior Citizens?
The state has recognized that some senior citizens will struggle to pay increasing property tax bills. As a response to this, in Texas, you can defer property tax as a senior citizen.
To be eligible for the Texas property tax deferral for seniors, you must fulfill any of the following criteria:
- Senior citizen aged 65 or older
- Certified disabled person
- Disabled veteran or their surviving unremarried spouse
- Unremarried surviving spouse of a U.S. armed service member killed in action
Applicants, regardless of their status, must own and live in their homes as their primary residence.
If you qualify for the Texas property tax deferral for seniors, you can defer the payment of your property taxes until after you die and your estate is wound up.
The deferral does not exempt you from your annual property tax bill, but it does at least mean that it doesn’t have to be paid during your lifetime.
There are a few additional stipulations that are important to note:
|Interest charges||Your annual property tax liability will attract interest at 5% per year until it is paid off|
|Delinquent taxes||If you are in danger of losing your home to foreclosure due to not having paid your property tax in previous years, the deferral can stop the foreclosure process by adding the outstanding tax amount to your subsequent annual bills, all of which is then paid off when your estate is wound up. No county can start or continue a lawsuit for delinquent taxes once your deferral has been lodged|
|Sale of the property||All the outstanding property taxes become due when the deferrer no longer owns or lives in the house. If this is due to the death of the deferrer, their estate must cover the tax bill. If the owner is still alive but sells the property, the outstanding taxes become due as soon as the sale has been finalized|
The Texas property tax deferral for seniors is not an exemption or a property tax discount but more a way of managing your cash flow as a senior citizen in Texas.
Are Any Other Property Tax Exemptions Available in Texas?
Texas offers several other property tax exemptions that can significantly reduce your annual tax bill:
- Residence homestead exemption—offering an automatic $25,000 off the assessed value of your home
- Senior citizens’ or disabled persons’ exemption—homeowners over 65 can receive a further $10,000 exemption on their property’s assessed value
- Veterans exemption—partial exemptions are available depending on the degree of disability
- Solar and wind-power exemption—100% of the installation costs can be subtracted from your home’s assessed value each year for ten years, with the exemption reducing by 10% each year
- Agricultural exemption—you can claim to have your agricultural and open space land assessed at a lower rate than residential property
How Can DoNotPay Help With Deferrals and Exemptions for Seniors in Texas?
DoNotPay is your go-to resource for property tax help in Texas.
Our app can generate a personalized property guide to help you make the most of the property tax exemptions and deferrals in your area.
The guide features two areas of information:
|Property Tax Exemptions||Property Assessments|
|This section has information on:
||This section features advice on:
Where Is DoNotPay’s Personalized Property Guide Available?
Your customized property guide is easy to get by following these steps:
- Navigate to DoNotPay in your web browser, sign up, and find the Property Tax feature
- Fill in some details about yourself, your location, and your property
- Wait a few minutes while your property guide is created
What Else Can DoNotPay Offer To Help With Property Tax?
If you have exhausted all the exemptions and deferrals available and still need to lower your property tax bill, DoNotPay can help you lodge an appeal against your property assessment.
We can advise you on:
- Understanding your local appeal procedure in Texas
- Knowing what documents to have ready
- Finding your local appeal authority
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