Delinquent Tax Frequently Asked Questions

The following is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or services. It is not intended to create any attorney–client relationships. We cannot represent you and our taxing unit clients at the same time. Do not act on any of the following information without seeking the advice and counsel of an attorney of your choice.

Q: The tax bill is for property that was sold last year. Is the seller liable for last year’s taxes due on the property?

Yes. If the seller owned the property on January 1 of last year‚ the seller is personally liable for the taxes for all of last year. The taxing unit can proceed against the seller personally for the tax and also against the buyer to foreclose the tax lien. However‚ the buyer should be informed of the taxes since the buyer has a vested interest in not having the tax lien foreclosed on the property. Additionally‚ most contracts for the sale of real property provide that the taxes for the year of the sale will be prorated between the buyer and the seller‚ with the seller getting a credit for the buyer’s prorated share of the tax. The tax bill for the year will‚ most likely‚ be mailed to the buyer‚ who should pay them. A reading of the sales contract and any closing statement received when the property was sold will probably indicate how the tax liability was handled. Remember that the taxing unit was not a party to the contract and is not bound by any of the contract’s provision as to tax liability.

Q: The taxes are on my homestead. Can my homestead be sold to pay the taxes?

Yes. A person's homestead can be sold to pay the taxes‚ penalties and interest assessed against the homestead unless the person is over 65 years of age or disabled (as defined by Social Security Administration) and has filed a tax deferral affidavit with the appraisal district before a lawsuit was filed or files a motion to abate the lawsuit if a lawsuit has already been filed.

Q: What happens if the tax is not paid?

Additional penalties and interest will accrue on the account. Delinquent tax notices will continue to be sent. There may be problems selling the property because of the delinquent tax lien on the property. A delinquent tax suit can be filed seeking a judgment foreclosing the tax lien and authorizing the sheriff to sell it at public auction.

Q: Can the tax collector take the property to pay the taxes?

If the tax is assessed on real property‚ the tax collector cannot take the property to pay the taxes. The taxing unit must file a lawsuit to have the tax lien foreclosed‚ which authorizes the sheriff to sell it at public auction. There are circumstances where the tax collector can ask a judge to issue a tax warrant‚ which allows the tax collector to seize and sell a taxpayer’s personal property to pay taxes owed by the taxpayer.

Q: I never went to court. Why do I have to pay court costs?

Court costs are assessed by the court clerk's office any time a lawsuit is filed. A lawsuit cannot be dismissed unless all taxes and court costs are paid in full.

Q: How is my property value determined?

The appraisal district in the county where your property is located determines your property value as of January 1 of the tax year. The appraisal district uses generally accepted appraisal methods and also determines ownership and the taxing entities that may tax the property.

Q: Does my property qualify for an exemption?

The chief appraiser of the appraisal district for the county in which your property is located administers the exemptions granted by the Texas Tax Code and local taxing entities. You can obtain information and an application form at the appropriate appraisal district office.

Q: When are my taxes due?

Your taxes are due upon receipt of the tax bill. The tax office generally mails tax bills in October. Taxes become delinquent on February 1 of the following year. Delinquent taxes incur penalty and interest on the first day of each month they remain delinquent.

Court Fine and Fee Frequently Asked Questions

The following is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or services. It is not intended to create any attorney–client relationships. We cannot represent you and our clients at the same time. Do not act on any of the following information without seeking the advice and counsel of an attorney of your choice.

Q: How do I get to the proper court to pay my ticket?

The letter you received will have all necessary contact information.

Q: Is this the total amount due for my ticket?

Additional penalties may have attached since the letter was issued. We suggest you refer to your letter for contact information and confirm the amount due. You also may have additional cases pending with the court which have not been referred to our firm for collection.

Q: Can I make a partial payment on the total amount due?

Court policies vary. Please refer to the contact information on your letter to see if payment agreements are allowed on your delinquent account.

Q: Will I be issued a receipt when payment is made in full?

The law firm does not issue receipts; however‚ the court‚ upon request‚ will issue you a receipt once final payment is verified.

Q: How does payment of the ticket affect my plea?

When responding to the letter‚ you have the opportunity to enter a plea. If you have any specific questions‚ please contact an attorney as to the plea you should enter.

Q: Does this ticket affect the renewal of my driver’s license?

It is possible. Many courts enter the information into a database which puts a hold on your license renewal. To see if your license is ineligible for renewal‚ visit www.texasfailuretoappear.com or call 800–686–0570.

Q: Is there a warrant for my arrest?

It is possible that an arrest warrant has been issued‚ depending on the circumstances of your ticket. Many courts issue an arrest warrant prior to turning over the account to the law firm.