Property Tax FAQ

The Pounders Law Firm (214) 628-4357

By when must my taxes be paid?

The Collin County Tax Office and the Lamar County Appraisal District mail out tax statements (bills) in October each year – payment is due upon receipt.  For a payment to be made in a timely manner, payment must be postmarked before the delinquency date, usually by January 31st.  All payments mailed or made after February 1st, unless the Tax Office specifies a different delinquency date, shall be considered to be delinquent and subject to penalties, interest, and possible lawsuit.

 

What if I didn’t receive a tax statement?
Texas Property Tax Code Sec. 31.01(g) provides that failing to receive a tax statement does not affect the validity of the tax, or any penalty, interest, delinquency date, tax lien, or law suit instituted to collect the tax.

 

Your letter says that a tax lien has been placed on my property.  When did that happen?
A tax lien is placed on all property subject to an ad valorem tax on January 1st of each year to secure the payment of the taxes on that property. The lien is placed on the property automatically by law.  In addition to the tax lien, the person who owns the property on January 1st of the tax year is personally liable for the full amount of the tax payment even if the property is sold during the tax year.

 

What if I sold the property before the tax became due?
Whoever owns the property on January 1st of each tax year is personally liable for the entire tax payment, even if the property is subsequently sold.  BUYER BEWARE: a buyer of property sold after January 1st might not be personally responsible for paying the tax, but the payment of that tax is still secured by a tax lien on the property.  If the tax remains unpaid, that tax lien can be foreclosed on, and the property sold to satisfy the tax liability.

 

The Pounders Law Firm (214) 628-4357To whom do I make my payments?  What payment options are available?LamarCAD
Both the Collin County Tax Office and the Lamar County Appraisal District accept cash in person and check in person or by mail.  In Collin County checks and money orders should be made out to “Kenneth L. Maun, Tax Assessor-Collector”; you may also pay your taxes by contacting Official Payments {http://www.officialpayments.com/} via the internet or by phone.  In Lamar County you should make your check out to “Tax Assessor Collector”; you may pay your taxes via the internet by contacting Certified Payments {https://www.certifiedpayments.net}.

 

I am Over-65 or Disabled.   May I pay my taxes in installments?

If you are over 65 or disabled, you may apply with the Appraisal District for a special exemption that permits you to pay the taxes on your homestead in installments without penalties or interest.  These installment payments are must be paid quarterly.  If an installment is missed, the full amount of the tax may be considered delinquent and all penalties and interest could accrue as if no exemption had been granted.

What is a tax certificate?  How may I obtain one?
A tax certificate shows the current status of the taxes on an account, as well as the penalties and interest, if any, that are due on a tax account, according to the official tax record.  You may request a tax certificate from the Collin County Tax Office; it charges $10.00 for each certificate provided to you.

What is the penalty for delinquent tax payments?
On the delinquency date, usually February 1st, through June 30th penalties and interest will be added in the following manner:

On the first of each month: Penalty Interest Collection Penalty Total Added for Month
February 6% 1%   7%
March 7% 2%   9%
April 8% 3%   11%
May 9% 4%   13%
June 10% 5%   15%
July 12% 6% 20% 41.6%
August 12% 7% 20% 42.8%
September 12% 8% 20% 44%
October 12% 9% 20% 45.2%
November 12% 10% 20% 46.4%
December 12% 11% 20% 47.6

Real property tax accounts not paid in full by June 30th of the year in which they become delinquent will be referred to the delinquent tax attorney for enforced collection, and will incur an additional collection penalty up to 20% of the total taxes, penalties, and interest due.  In some Collin County and Lamar County communities the 20% additional collection penalty is imposed on personal property tax accounts in April instead of July.

Link: Tax Foreclosure Sales and "Struck-Off" PropertiesWhen and where are Tax Foreclosure Sales held?  Where can I find information about them?

Tax foreclosure sales are held at 10:00 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.  In Collin County the Sales are held at the east entrance of the courthouse at 210 South McDonald Street, McKinney, Texas – you can find information on the properties being sold  by going to the courthouse and looking at the postings located in the east foyer.  In Lamar County the Sales are held at the courthouse at 119 North Main Street in Paris, Texas – you can find information on the properties being sold in the first floor lobby.  You can also find information about the tax sales requested by this law firm, and about other tax properties “struck off” to its clients, by looking on the “Tax Sales” page.

Properties sold at tax sales are subject to a “redemption period” during which the taxpayer may buy back the property sold.   Properties without homestead or agricultural exemptions are subject to a six month redemption period, while homesteads and agricultural properties may be redeemed within two years.  The redemption period starts on the date that the tax sale deed is filed in the County’s deed records.

A lawsuit has been filed against me to collect delinquent property taxes.  Why am I being required to pay the court costs?

Filing a law suit to collect a delinquent tax is an expensive and time consuming act.  This law firm will generally not file a law suit to collect a tax unless prior efforts to collect the unpaid tax have been unsuccessful.  If a law suit is filed, however, the costs of that lawsuit are not paid by the local government but by the delinquent taxpayer.  Texas Property Tax Code Section 33.49 provides, in part, that: “… a taxing unit is not liable in a suit to collect taxes for court costs, including any fees for service of process, an attorney ad litem, arbitration, or mediation, and may not be required to post security for costs. ***”  So even though the taxing unit files the lawsuit, these costs are instead collected from the delinquent taxpayer.

My experience is that court costs associated with a lawsuit to collect delinquent taxes on real property are usually in the $625.00 to $2,300.00 range, but could be even more depending on what kinds of property are being taxed, the number of accounts and defendants involved, and whether notices of the lawsuit can be delivered to each defendant easily or not.  The only way to avoid being required to pay these costs is to pay your property taxes prior to a lawsuit being filed.

I would like to buy one of your “Trustee” properties.  How do I do that?

“Trustee” properties are properties that have previously been put up for Sheriff Sale or other tax sale, but did not sell and were then sold (“bid-off” or “struck off”) to the taxing units.  These properties are held in trust by one or more of the taxing units (the “Trustee”) for the benefit of all taxing units owed money in the judgment.

The Trustee, on its own, can sell trustee properties to anyone who will pay the lesser of the judgment amount or the appraised value of the property.  A property may be sold for less than that amount if all of the taxing units agree.

If you see a trustee property that you would like to buy, please send a written offer for the property to us.  We will consider any reasonable offer.  If your offer is appropriate we will let you know, and you will need to send us a check or money order for the amount of your offer – this amount will be held in our IOLTA trust account through the approval process, and will be refunded in whole if the offer is not approved for any reason.  We will then contact the appropriate taxing unit(s) for approval.  If the sale is fully approved, your deposit will be forwarded to the appropriate jurisdictions, and a tax deed will be filed with the County Clerk within a few days.  All tax deeds are issued on an “as-is” without warranty basis, and subject to the previous owners’ right of redemption and post judgment taxes, if any.