Texas homeowners may postpone paying the currently delinquent property taxes due on the appreciating value of their homes by taking advantage of a payment option called “residence homestead tax deferral” and filing a tax deferral affidavit with the Harris County Appraisal District.

This tax relief allows homeowners to pay the property taxes on 105% of the preceding year’s appraised value of their homestead, plus the taxes on any new improvements to the homestead. The remaining taxes are postponed – but not canceled – with interest accruing at 8% per year.

Once the homeowner files the tax deferral affidavit with the appraisal district, no taxing unit can start or continue a lawsuit for the deferred taxes as long as that person owns and lives in the home. When the homeowner no longer owns and lives in the home, the deferred taxes and interest become due. If the taxes are not paid, taxing units can then sue to collect the deferred taxes and interest. Additional penalties are possible.

If you have a mortgage, most mortgage companies require tax payments to be current so it is important to check with the mortgage company to make sure deferring taxes does not violate the terms of the deed of trust.

“Homeowners should be sure they have applied for and received their homestead exemption. This can be done without cost at the Harris County Appraisal District,” said Chief Appraiser Roland Altinger.

Exemption forms and applications can be found on the appraisal district’s website, hcad.org, under the Forms tab on the top tool bar.  A homestead exemption can provide a tax savings for the property owner and will reduce future tax burdens.

For complete details about deferring taxes on the appreciating value of your home, contact the Harris County Appraisal District’s information center at 713-957-7800 or visit the district’s offices at 13013 Northwest Freeway in Houston. Information is also available on the comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division’s website at window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax.

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