Archive for January, 2013

3 secrets the property tax lending industry doesn’t want you to know

Published by Research Editor on January 29th, 2013 - in Loans


Credit checks

Property tax lenders usually don’t submit you to credit checks. This isn’t a sales gimmick. It’s because your loan is 100% equity secured. So if you stop paying off the loan, you can lose your house. Credit is irrelevant when your home is on the line.


“We never foreclose!” If you hear that from a property tax lender, run fast.

Generally, when lenders claim they never foreclose, it’s because they sell your loan instead. And then someone else will foreclose on your home.

This also means that, if you become delinquent, that lender is more likely to sell your loan than try to help you through your difficult times.

Instead, look for a lender who is willing to work with you if times get tough.


Most loans you get will never be touched again by the company who gave you the loan. If they don’t immediately sell the loan, they, at least, hire another company to service the loans. And whoever services the loan is the company you’ll spend the most time dealing with.

So if the lender’s bedside manner or courtesy is important to you, make sure they’re not going to outsource their servicing.

Are you looking for a property tax loan? Texas Property Tax Loans services their own loans and works with their customers–especially during hard times.


Everything you need to know about appraisal districts

Published by Research Editor on January 26th, 2013 - in Protest, Taxes, The Basics


What is an appraisal district?

The appraisal district sets the value of your property each year. Namely, they appraise your property and decide how valuable it is.

The chief appraiser is the head honcho and operates the appraisal office.

What is the appraisal review board (ARB)?

This is a board of citizens that listens to disagreements between property owners and the appraisal district regarding the property’s value.

Is a taxing district the same thing as an appraisal district?

Not at all. The taxing district–like your city or school district–will set the rates of your taxes. The appraisal district decides how much your home is worth.

For example, let’s say your home and property are worth $150,000 and you pay 2% taxes to the school district and 0.5% taxes to your city. The appraisal district was the one to determine that your house was worth $150,000. The taxing district determined (and will use) the 2% or 0.5% taxes.

Can I protest the appraisal district’s decisions?

Yes, of course! If your house has been appraised incorrectly, you should definitely protest. Visit our Protesting Property Taxes Series for an outline on how to proceed.

First Installment due on January 31 for Disabled or Senior Citizens

Published by Research Editor on January 24th, 2013 - in Taxes

Are you paying your property taxes in installments? Your first payment is due next week! Hurry and send in 1/4 of your 2012 property tax bill, along with a note that you will pay the rest of the taxes in installments.

Remember, you can always pay extra. If you get behind, though, you will earn interest and a 6% penalty on the unpaid amount.

If you are having difficulty paying your installments, consider a property tax loan among your options.

Property Tax Ceiling

Published by Research Editor on January 22nd, 2013 - in Tax loopholes and exceptions, Taxes

Great news! If you are 65 or older, your taxes are limited. Even if the market explodes and your $100,000 house is suddenly worth a million dollars, some of your property taxes will be based on that $100,000 value.

How does this work?

When you apply for a property tax ceiling, the school taxes on your home can’t increase–even if your home value does–for as long as you live in that home.

Your property taxes are based on several districts or jurisdictions, like school, city, county, hospital, and water. Each district collects property taxes from you. The tax ceiling limits how much property taxes the school district can collect. However, some counties allow the tax ceiling to limit how much city, county, and college districts can collect, as well.

So the tax ceiling applies to school taxes within my property taxes. What about the county taxes? Water tax district? Hospital? Junior college?

The tax ceiling in NOT applicable to water, hospital, and other special districts.

City, county, and Junior college district property taxes are sometimes subject to the tax ceiling limitation. The County commissioners court, city council, or board of the junior college district can authorize a atax limitation of homesteads for those disabled or 65 or older. Check with your county to see if this applies to you.

Who qualifies for the property tax ceiling?

Anyone who has received an over 65 or disabled person homestead exemption.

What if I improve my home?

Home improvements will raise the tax ceiling.

What if I move?

You can transfer a percentage of the tax ceiling to your new home. The Comptroller of Public Accounts offers this example:

If you currently have a tax ceiling of $100, but would pay $400 without the ceiling, the percentage of tax paid is 25 percent. If you move to another home and the taxes on the new homestead would normally be $1,000 in the first year, the new tax ceiling would be $250, or 25 percent of $1,000.

How do I transfer a tax ceiling?

You can get a certificate from the chief appraiser in the district where you received the tax ceiling. When you apply for homestead exemptions on your new home, bring the tax ceiling certificate to the chief appraiser in the district where your new home is.

If I am the surviving spouse of someone who was entitled to the tax ceiling, can I get it, too?


If you are the surviving spouse, 55 years of age or older, and your spouse was 65 years of age or older, you may benefit from the tax ceiling.

However, if you are the suriving spouse of a disabled person who qualified for the tax ceiling, you cannot benefit.

Where can I find out more?

The information in this article was researched at the website of the Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Travis County Property Taxes

Published by Research Editor on January 15th, 2013 - in Local taxes, Travis

Travis County folks have a variety of ways to gather information about property taxes in Travis County.

Social Connections

The Tax Office is active on Facebook and Twitter. When I checked these pages out today, I found an update that mentioned one of the Tax Offices is unable to process motor vehicle registrations because of a system outage. Great information: it would have saved me a trip, had I planned to go register my car today.

The Tax Office also has a Youtube channel with over a dozen helpful videos, including How to Save on Property Tax and 2012 Property Tax Deadline and Payment Options.

Paying Your Property Taxes

Pay property taxes online here, along with information on convenience fees and other payment options.

Get a letter of intent for installment payments. To learn if you’re eligible for installments, see our article, How to Pay Property Taxes in Installments and contact the tax office today if you need to pay in installments.


Forms, like Homestead Exemptions, Tax Ceiling Certificates, and Protest Forms are available

Protesting Taxes

Details on how to protest your taxes in Travis County and on the formal hearing procedures are easily accessible.

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