Texans who are aged 65 or older or those who are disabled as per the Texas tax law can now postpone paying their current and their delinquent residential property taxes!

This can be done by signing a property tax deferral affidavit at the HCAD office (Harris county appraisal district).

During a news release, HCAD said that after an affidavit is filed, the taxes will be deferred and not canceled until, and unless, the property owner continues to qualify for the exemption. It is to be noted that the taxes accumulate with an interest of 5% every year. As per the law, tax deferral is extended to the surviving spouse of the person who deferred taxes on the homestead. However, the surviving spouse should be at least 55 years or older when the spouse died.

The Chief Appraiser said homeowners who are 65 years or older or disabled should be sure that they have applied and received the homestead exemptions appropriate to them as it will help them reduce the tax burden in the future. The CAD in December had mailed postcards to property owners which had information about the homestead exemptions encouraging them to contact the CAD if property owners are eligible for additional exemptions such as a 65th birthday or a disabled exemption.

Tax authorities have also stated that the property tax deferral affidavit keeps the homeowners from losing their homestead exemptions because of the delinquent property taxes. It is also to be noted that once an affidavit is filed, no taxing unit can start a lawsuit or continue it with regard to collecting the delinquent taxes. During the deferral period, no penalties are imposed on delinquent taxes, however, the penalties that were already due cannot be canceled and the property owner will be responsible for them. The Chief Appraiser also said mortgaged homeowners should check with their mortgage company to make sure the deferral does not violate the deed of trust terms that secures the mortgage on the property.

When a homeowner or a surviving spouse does not qualify for an exemption, all the deferred taxes and the interest become due and during this time if a tax debt remains unpaid then penalities are likely to be imposed, and taxing units are likely to take legal actions to collect the older due amounts.

To know more on Texas property taxes visit the Property Tax Reduction Blog.