Tax Frequently Asked Questions
Please call the Austin County Appraisal District for questions not answered here.
What are taxing units?
Each year, in September, the governing bodies of the local taxing units decide what services they will provide and how much money they will need. They adopt the unit budget and set the tax rate for the year that will provide the needed revenue.
Taxing units also have the authority to allow partial exemptions. These exemptions reduce the taxable value of qualifying properties. Homestead, Over Sixty-Five, and Disability exemptions are partial exemptions which can be granted on your principal place of residence. They can only be claimed on one piece of property in the state of Texas.
Taxes are calculated by subtracting the value of any exemptions, and the cap value if applicable, from the homestead value of the property and then adding any productivity or non-qualifying value. This result, the taxable value, is then multiplied by the tax rate per $100. The answer is then divided by 100 to arrive at the tax amount for the taxing unit. This process is repeated for each taxing unit.
How is my property value determined?
The Appraisal District identifies property to be taxed, determines its appraised value, whether to grant exemptions, the taxable owner and address, and which taxing jurisdictions may tax the property. For information on Values, Exemptions, Ownership or Address, please contact the Appraisal District during business hours.
What are some exemptions? How do I apply?
Exemptions reduce the taxable value of your property. This lowers your tax amount. Some of these exemptions are:
- Residence Homestead Exemption – available for all homeowners on their residence as long as they lived there on January 1st of the tax year.
- Disabled Person Exemption – available in addition to the homestead exemption to those who qualify according to specific guidelines.
- Disabled Veteran Exemption – available to the Veteran or their surviving spouse. This can be taken in addition to the homestead exemption and is set according to a disability rating. This exemption can be taken on any one property in Texas; it is not limited to the homestead property.
- Age 65 or Older Exemption – available to those homeowners age 65 or older. This can be taken in addition to homestead exemption.
- Homeowners over the age of 65 or who received the disabled person’s exemption may also arrange for a Tax Deferral on their homestead property. You may choose to defer the collection of taxes if you own and occupy your residence and taxes are delinquent; however, a tax lien remains on the property and interest of 5% a year continues to accrue.
The chief appraiser is responsible for administering exemption applications. A property owner or the owner’s authorized agent must file any necessary exemption form before May 1 of the tax year.
When are taxes due?
Tax statements are mailed each October of the Tax year and are due on receipt. In order to be timely, payment of taxes must be postmarked before the specified date. Taxes are delinquent on February 1 of each year and subject to penalty and interest, and subject to possible lawsuit.
What if I don’t receive a tax statement?
Failure to receive a tax statement does not affect the validity of the tax, penalty, interest, due date, the existence of a tax lien, or any procedure instituted to collect a tax.
Will a lien be placed on my property if the taxes are paid?
State law automatically places a tax lien on property January 1 of each year to ensure that the taxes are paid. However, the lien is not enforced so long as the taxes are paid before the due date. Any applicable penalties and interest are applied if unpaid after the due date.
What if I sold my property last year?
The person who owned the property on January 1 of the tax year is personally liable for the tax, even if he/she sold the property during the year. However, the tax lien follows the property.
What if my mortgage company is supposed to pay my taxes?
If your property taxes are paid by a mortgage company and you receive a tax statement, contact your mortgage company to verify payment.
Can I get a discount on my taxes if I pay early?
We currently do not offer early payment discounts.
Do I have to pay all of my taxes at the same time?
No. Your current taxes may paid separately by entity. We will also accept current tax payments of any amount after statements are mailed and prior to the delinquency date. There are several options for payment of delinquent taxes. Please contact our office for details.
What kind of payment options are available?
4-Payment Option: (This option applies only to property the person occupies as a residence homestead and only to those persons who are considered disabled under SSI) If, before January 1st of the current tax year, you are disabled or 65 years of age and are qualified for the OVER 65 or DISABLED HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS, you may make your payments in four equal installments without incurring penalty and interest, if paid in the following manner:
- 1st payment due by January 31
- 2nd payment due by March 31
- 3rd payment due by May 31
- 4th payment due by July 31
What is a tax certificate and how can I obtain one?
A tax certificate is a certified document showing all delinquent taxes and may include current taxes. If delinquent, the certificate shows penalties and interest that are due according to tax records. The fee to obtain a certificate is $10.00 per certificate; prepayment is required.