Archive for February, 2013

The Senior Citizen’s Guide to Property Taxes

Published by Research Editor on February 23rd, 2013 - in Tax loopholes and exceptions, Taxes, The Basics

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Senior citizen by allspice1, on Flickr
While American culture at large does not seem to respect or revere its mature citizens the way other cultures do, laws are written to benefit senior citizens more than just about anyone else.

As a senior aged 65 or older, you are entitled to extra exemptions, a tax ceiling, payment in installments, and tax deferral.

Exemptions

As a homeowner, you get a $15,000 homestead exemption. As someone 65 or older, you also get a $10,000 exemption on top of that. Be sure to apply for both!

Tax Ceiling

When you apply for the $10,000 Senior exemption, the school taxes on your property 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. See our article on tax ceilings for more details.

Installments

As a mature citizen, you have the option to pay your property taxes in installments. Instead of paying your entire property tax bill by January 31, you have the option to make four payments, ending in July. Click here to see our guide for more details.

Deferral

Your final option is to defer your taxes. This means you can postpone paying your taxes as long as you live in your home. You won’t be foreclosed on.

Deferral doesn’t mean that the taxes are gone–you must pay them eventually. They also accrue 8% interest each year while they are deferred. But deferral is an option for those times you just aren’t able to pay.

Your Options

Senior Citizens have more options than most when it comes to property taxes. The law is written to be more lenient toward seniors than anyone else. It is your right to use as many exemptions and benefits that you qualify for.

4 ways to lower your property tax bill

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1. Claim your exemptions!

Exemptions exist to lower your tax bill. Take as many as you qualify for.

  • Homestead exemption. This significantly lowers your bill.
  • 100% disabled veteran’s exemption
  • Partially disabled veteran’s exemption

2. Set a tax ceiling on your taxes.

Property tax ceilings are for residents 65 or older and limit your taxes.

3. Look for errors.

We’re all human, and mistakes do happen. Look over your tax bill carefully to ensure it is correct.

4. Protest if your assessment is incorrect.

The Texas constitution guarantees your right to equal and uniform property taxes. Your property taxes can’t be significantly higher than a similar property with similar characteristics. However, appraisers don’t appraise your specific house every single year, so their assessment might be off.

If your house has been appraised incorrectly, follow our outline to protest the appraisal. The lower your appraisal, the lower your property taxes will be.

© 2013 FYP, LLC.