By: Roland Atlinger
Since we are coming up on the beginning of a new year, I thought this would be a good time to discuss the property tax calendar.
The tax calendar is a schedule of property tax actions for you, the property owner, and for the appraisal district. Some actions are tied to dates: other actions are tied to events. All of the actions are fixed by state law.
The actions listed in the calendar happen every year at approximately the same time of year. If you know what these actions are and when they occur, then it is easier to remember what your responsibilities are so you don’t miss an opportunity to benefit from an exemption or file a protest on your property value.
We are coming up on a good example of an action tied to a date – – January 1. This is an action for appraisal districts, but it is also good information for you to know. Appraisal districts are required by Texas law to appraise property according to its value on January 1. So when you get your property value notice in April, it will have been based on your home’s value on January 1.
An example of a an action tied to an event is the chief appraiser’s responsibility to notify property owners in writing of an increase in the property value so the owner has a chance to file a protest if they do not think the new value is correct.
Here in Harris County, the appraisal district notifies every property owner of the value of their property each year, whether the value has increased, decreased or stayed the same. The property value notices are usually mailed at the end of March.
Another example of an action tied to a date is the protest deadline. May 31 is the protest deadline and this is a very important date for you to remember. If you do not file your property value protest by May 31, you have missed your opportunity to contest the value of your property for that year.
If you file a protest, you will have several ways to resolve the value with the appraisal district. I will discuss these ways as we get closer to that time of year so they will be fresh in your mind.
However once the value is set, the taxing units, such as the city, county and school district, set the tax rate, and the tax assessor-collector’s office mails tax bills at the end of October or early November. Again, this is an important time to watch your mailbox. While these bills are due immediately upon receipt, the payment is not considered late until February 1 of the next year. Paying your bill on time helps you avoid costly penalties.
The property tax calendar is posted on our web site at www.hcad.org under “Resources > General Information.” If you have any questions about the property tax calendar or the tax process, I encourage you to please call us at 713.957.7800 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roland Altinger is the Chief Appraiser of the Harris County Appraisal District