Property Tax CollectionsLegislative Bills Change Procedures
Just around the corner, tax collectors will be mailing 2003 property tax bills and beginning a new collection cycle. Recent legislative changes affect some collection areas. Tax collectors should review these new provisions effective immediately, on September 1, and on January 1, 2004.
S.B. 173 provides for deferred payment of property taxes by certain persons in the United States armed forces during a war or national emergency, effective May 28. This STATEMENT includes an article and model form.
Some tax collectors may still be collecting delinquent taxes of the defunct county education districts (CEDs). H.B. 195 addresses the transfer of delinquent CED taxes. The successor-in-interest to a CED transfers any money collected after August 31, 1993, less collection costs, to the component school districts in the CED by September 15, 2003.
The successor-in-interest also transfers any uncollected delinquent taxes to each component school district. Each component school district is responsible for collecting those taxes and submitting any reports to the education commissioner and Comptroller.
Tax collectors who have delinquent properties going to foreclosure sales will have requests based on H.B. 335. It requires a person purchasing property at a tax foreclosure sale to show the officer conducting the sale that the person owes no delinquent property taxes to that county or the school districts or cities in that county.
The person requests in writing a statement of no taxes owed for those taxing units from the county tax assessor-collector. The sworn request identifies property the person owns or formerly owned in the county. The county tax assessor-collector issues a statement showing either no delinquent taxes for the taxing units or shows the amounts owed each unit. The collector may charge a fee not to exceed $10 for each statement requested.
The September STATEMENT will include more about this new provision.
Collectors that receive delinquent tax payments with comments restricting the payment can look to H.B. 2148. It provides that placing a restriction or conditional payment for delinquent taxes to an amount less than the taxes, penalties, and interest is void.
When collectors seize and sell properties for delinquent taxes, they need to review the Tax Code changes in H.B. 3419. This bill clarifies procedures for seizing and selling property for delinquent taxes and for distributing the proceeds. It sets out how to use an auctioneer and on-line bidding and sale for personal property seizures in counties with a population of three million or more. It clarifies what is abandoned property. It details the notice requirements for seizure of real property by a city or county.
H.B. 3504 changes provisions for the deferral or abatement of taxes on a residence homestead by an elderly or disabled person, including the deferral of taxes not delinquent on the homestead. It adds that the residence homestead may not be sold at a sale to foreclose the tax lien until the 181st day after the date the individual no longer owns and occupies the property as a residence homestead.
It also outlines how a person who has a pending sale to foreclose on the homestead’s tax lien may abate that sale. It also extends the tax deferral to a surviving spouse.
Tax collectors with requests for large refunds will find H.B. 3540 changes the refund of an overpayment or erroneous payment for a consolidated collection office. For a consolidated office, the governing body of the taxing unit that employs the collector determines that the payment was erroneous or excessive and approves the refund if the amount of the refund exceeds $2,500.
S.B. 725 provides for the payment of taxes when a property was erroneously omitted from the tax rolls in preceding tax years. The delinquency date for such omitted property is postponed to February 1 of the first year that will provide at least 180 days after mailing the bill to pay the taxes.
It also changes the provisions for waiving penalty and interest on a delinquent tax bill. A taxing unit’s governing body shall waive penalties and may waive interest on a delinquent tax bill if an act or omission of the taxing unit or its agent caused or resulted in the delinquency if the taxpayer paid no later than the 21st day after the date the taxpayer knows or should know of the delinquency (return to former law). It repeals the third anniversary date for paying the delinquent tax.
January 1 next year
If Texas voters approve Proposition 2 (see the article in this issue about constitutional amendments), H.B. 1125 extends the redemption period for a mineral interest sold for unpaid taxes at a tax sale. The owner of a mineral interest may redeem from the purchaser (other than a taxing unit) the mineral interest on or before the second anniversary of the date that the purchaser’s deed was recorded. Currently, an owner has six months to redeem the mineral interest. H. B. 1125 treats a mineral interest the same as a residence homestead or qualified agricultural land.
Finally, S.B. 521 addresses various areas dealing with manufactured homes. While S.B. 521 is effective June 18, 2003, it applies to tax year 2004 and forward. It addresses tax liens and when liens attach to both the home and the land.
The owner of a manufactured home may receive a statement of ownership and location issued by the manufactured housing division of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). The owner provides a copy of this statement to the appraisal district when the owner applies for homestead exemptions. The appraisal district lists the home and land together if the statement reflects that the owner has elected to treat the home as real property and has filed the TDHCA statement with the real property records at the county. Otherwise, the appraisal district lists the manufactured home separately from the land. The tax lien attaches to both the home and land if the statement is filed.
S.B. 521 also addresses the moving permit for manufactured homes. For the statement of taxes required to receive the permit, the unpaid taxes reported by the chief appraiser includes the taxes due for the current year. If the current year taxes are not levied, an estimated amount of taxes is due.