Archive for the ‘The Basics’ Category

How a tax lien transfer works

Published by Research Editor on March 22nd, 2013 - in Loans, Taxes, The Basics

Every year, a tax lien is placed on your property by the government. When you get a property tax loan, you transfer your tax lien to your lending company. Here’s how it works:



This graphic comes to you courtesy of Protect My Texas Property, an alliance working hard so you can keep your right to get a property tax loan if you choose.

The Senior Citizen’s Guide to Property Taxes

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

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

New Official Document: Property Tax Basics

Published by Research Editor on March 19th, 2012 - in Taxes, The Basics

Property Tax basics official document

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has released a new document, Property Tax Basics, that covers all the essentials of your property taxes.

Property Tax Basics is divided into five chapters, most of which are short:

  • Introduction
  • Appraisal
  • Equalization (Protesting)
  • Taxation Review
  • Collections

The English version is available here; the Spanish version will come out later this year.

This document is well-organized and gives a complete overview of property taxes–all in one place. It even includes brand-new 2011 legislative changes.

Property Tax Fees and Penalties


This video explains in detail the consequences of not paying property taxes for Texans.

For a property tax loan, visit Texas Property Tax Loans

How the Texas Homestead Tax Cap Works


How the Texas Homestead Tax Cap Works: in simple terms.

For homes that are receiving a homestead exemption, which is any property that the owner considers their primary residence, the appraised value may be lower than the property’s market value because of what the law refers to as the “homestead cap.”

Currently the law states that, while a property’s January 1st market value isn’t capped, the property’s appraised value is capped at a maximum increase of 10% from the previous year.

So, let’s say:

  • The market value of someone’s home on Jan 1st is $200,000
  • But, the year prior it was only valued at $170,000.
  • This year’s appraised value would be $187,000, which is an increase of 10% from the previous year.

But in some situations, the value of the home can go down while the appraisal goes up.
Lets pretend that next year, something happens and:

  • The home’s value drops from $200,000 to $190,000.
  • The cap for that year would be $205,700.
  • The appraised value would increase from $187,000 to $190,000.

and taxes would increase even though property value decreased.

To qualify for the cap, the owner must first receive the homestead exemption, then the value must increase more than 10% within a year.

For more informative tax articles and videos, visit
For a property tax loan, visit

A tax lien is now on your property

Published by Research Editor on January 1st, 2012 - in Taxes, The Basics

Happy New Year!

Today is the date a tax lien attaches to your property until your taxes are paid. This lien means that, if you don’t pay your taxes, the courts can foreclose and seize your property.

A tax lien is serious business. To get rid of the lien, pay your taxes.

Are you having difficulty paying your property taxes this year? Consider a property tax loan to pay off the lien and avoid fees and extra charges from the taxing authorities.

How to lower your property taxes

Published by Research Editor on November 10th, 2011 - in Protest, Taxes, The Basics

lowering property taxes


Property taxes: we all have to pay them. But there is never a need to pay excessive taxes. These two options will ensure you do not pay beyond your share in property taxes: homestead exemptions and protesting your home’s value.

Homestead Exemption

Be sure you’ve claimed your homestead exemption. Claim it once, and it’s yours for the rest of the time you live in that house or your status does not change. Also look at the other available exemptions to see if you qualify.

What if I’m not sure if I’ve claimed the exemption?

Look your property up. Run an internet search on “[Your county] property tax search.” The result will likely be a .gov site or have the intials “CAD” in the name, like, for Harris County. The site you find should have an option to search through properties in your county, and the results will tell you if you’ve claimed the homestead exemption.

Is it too late to claim the exemption for last year’s taxes?

You have until one year after the delinquency date for taxes on your home. File the application for homestead exemption now.

Protest your home’s value

Every citizen has a right to equal and uniform taxation. The craziness in the economy combined with the fact that properties are not appraised every single year makes it likely that your property might be overvalued.

If you think your property is taxed above its value, look at our series on protesting property taxes.

If you’re interested in a property tax loan, apply now.

Homestead Exemption Changes

Published by Research Editor on September 3rd, 2011 - in Taxes, The Basics
Starting September 1, 2011, the Texas Legislature has added identification requirements to your new homestead application.

When you apply for a homestead exemption, you now must submit documented evidence that you live in your home, namely: a copy of your driver’s license and vehicle registration receipt.

There are alternatives to each. If you don’t have a driver’s license, a state-issued personal identification certificate will do. If you don’t own a vehicle, you can submit a copy of a utility bill in your name for the property.

This new legislation is an effort to prevent illegal exemptions, which increase the tax burden on everyone else.

You will not get a homestead exemption if you do not submit the correct documentation.

If you already have a homestead application, nothing changes for you.

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3 reasons to get a property tax loan

Published by Research Editor on September 3rd, 2011 - in Loans, The Basics
1. Avoid hefty fines, foreclosure, and lawsuits.
See our previous article for more on these dire consequenses that begin the instant you are unable to pay your property taxes on time.

2. Save yourself from the stress of delinquency.
Stress, of course, can cause all sorts of health problems, which will only increase your stress. Eliminate the vicious cycle by getting a tax loan, taking a deep breath, then addressing the underlying causes.

3. Buy yourself some time.
Get your property taxes paid, then take a breath so you can rationally and calmly reassess your financial situation, without worrying about the penalties, fines, and fees that would otherwise be stacking up.

If delinquency is looming over you this year consider a property tax loan through a good lender.

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