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New Tax Code Section Addresses Attorney Fees
Taxing units that contract with an attorney to collect their delinquent taxes have a new notice requirement. In 1999, the Texas Legislature added Tax Code Section 33.08, effective Sept. 1, 1999.Taxes delinquent June 1 or after
Added by House Bill (H. B.) 3549, this new section addresses taxes that become delinquent on or after June 1 of a tax year. The first time for this new section, therefore, will be June 1, 2000.
Section 33.08 addresses the additional penalty for collection costs for taxes that become delinquent on or after June 1. The taxing unit or appraisal district (that collects for taxing units) must have a contract with an attorney under Tax Code Section 6.30. If taxes become delinquent on or after June 1, the collector adds a penalty not to exceed 15 percent of the amount of taxes, penalty and interest due.Taxes delinquent February 1 to May 1
Taxes that may go delinquent on or after June 1 include those under (1) the split payment option in Section 31.03, (2) installment payments under Sections 31.031 and 31.032 or (3) for late mailed bills that have a later delinquency date under Section 31.04.
The collector must deliver a notice about the delinquency and the penalty to the property owner. The penalty attaches on the first day of the first month that begins at least 21 days after the date the notice is sent to the property owner, if the taxes remain delinquent.
H. B. 3549 also amended Tax Code Section 33.07 on the penalty for collection costs. It now addresses taxes that become delinquent on or after February 1 but not later than May 1 and that remain delinquent on July 1 of the tax year. These taxes incur the additional penalty -- not to exceed 15 percent -- on July 1.
Section 33.07 requires the taxing unit's collector to deliver a notice of delinquency and the penalty to the property owner at least 30 and not more than 60 days before July 1. Basically, a collector would deliver this notice during the month of May. The penalty attaches if the taxes remain delinquent on July 1.