The property tax deadline is a date that looms large in the lives of property owners in Texas. Missing the deadline is obviously something that you don’t want to do. The state of Texas can levy penalties and interest on the day after the deadline. Thus, it’s important to get your taxes paid in full on time every year.

When Can You START Paying Property Taxes?

For those who like to be ahead of the game, it may be important to know how soon property taxes can be paid. For most of the year, county appraisal districts are appraising property values and appraisal review boards are holding protest hearings. When that finishes up, the county and other taxing units (cities, school boards, hospital districts, etc.) set their tax rate and begin producing property tax bills.

The county assessor is supposed to get property tax bills in the mail by October 1 of a given tax year. In some cases, the assessor may run into a few problems, forcing them to deliver the tax bills later. For the most part, you can expect your property tax bill to arrive sometime in October or November. Once you receive the bill, you can pay your taxes. This is obviously the preferable option for most people.

The Deadline

Still, many people like to wait until the property tax deadline is closer. It may give them enough time to compile the money necessary to pay the taxes. It may also simply be difficult to part with all that money. Indeed, the San Antonio Business Journal reported earlier this year that the average property tax amount in certain locations in the state has exceeded $6,000. Even so, it’s a good idea to get your taxes paid before the deadline of January 31. This deadline represents the previous year’s taxes. For instance, your property taxes for 2014 will be due on January 31, 2015.

There are some mitigating circumstances that can extend your personal deadline. If you received your tax bill sometime after January 10, then the taxing units in question will give you an extension. March 1 is generally the new deadline if you receive your tax bill after January 10 and before January 31.

What Will Happen if You’re Late?

If you are past the deadline of January 31, or March 1, as the case may be, then your property taxes will be considered delinquent. This carries with it a number of issues, including:

  1. Interest payments
  2. Penalties
  3. The possibility of being sued
  4. Delinquent tax notices
  5. Difficulty selling your property in the future

Interest payments and penalties on delinquent taxes can really start to add up over time. But, the county tax collector may also decide to sue you in order to recoup the tax losses. You may end up having to pay your property taxes, any penalties incurred, and the court costs.

Silver Lining?

Some tax collectors will give property owners the option to use an installment plan over 36 months. This obviously gives you time to make smaller payments on your property taxes. Just be aware that you will still be liable for property taxes for any subsequent years that you own the property.

In some cases, the tax collector in your county will allow you to opt for deferrals, installment plans, or partial payments before the deadline if you meet certain requirements. If you don’t think you can pay your taxes on time, then you should consider pursuing these methods.

Need help to figure out your property taxes payment deadline? Contact O’Connor & Associates today, one of our tax professionals will answer your questions.