Payment Deferral for MilitaryS.B. 173 Addresses Delinquent Taxes of Armed Forces
On May 28, Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill (S.B.) 173 into law, providing for the deferred payment of property taxes for certain persons serving in the United States armed forces during a war or national emergency, declared in accordance with federal law.
S.B. 173 grants military personnel 60 days to pay their property taxes without penalty and interest from the earliest date of the following four:
- discharge from active military service,
- return to the state for more than 10 days,
- return to non-active duty status in the reserves, or
- the war or national emergency ends.
The new law applies to penalties and interest on delinquent taxes if the taxes are paid on or after May 28, 2003, the effective date of S.B. 173, even if the penalties or interest accrued before May 28.
These new provisions to Section 31.02 also abate a lawsuit for delinquent taxes, without cost to the defendant.
S.B. 173 amended subsections (b), (c), (f), and (g) of Tax Code Section 31.02. It repealed subsection (h) of that section. These changes update Tax Code Section 31.02 to remove the references and provisions for the Persian Gulf War in 1990.
The amended Tax Code Section 31.02 appears in the box below. More about active military duty is in the second box.
To assist the tax collector and appraisal district in providing the forms necessary for those individuals to give notice about this new provision, the Comptroller has provided the sample form.
Sec. 31.02. Delinquency Date.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this section and by Sections 31.03 and 31.04 of this code, taxes are due on receipt of the tax bill and are delinquent if not paid before February 1 of the year following the year in which imposed.
(b) An eligible person serving on active duty in any branch of the United States armed forces during a war or national emergency declared in accordance with federal law may pay delinquent property taxes on property in which the person owns any interest without penalty or interest no later than the 60th day after the date on which the earliest of the following occurs:
(c) "Eligible person" means a person on active military duty in this state who was transferred out of this state as a result of a war or national emergency declared in accordance with federal law or a person in the reserve forces who was placed on active military duty and transferred out of this state as a result of a war or national emergency declared in accordance with federal law.
- the person is discharged from active military service;
- the person returns to the state for more than 10 days;
- the person returns to non-active duty status in the reserves; or
- the war or national emergency ends.
(d) A person eligible under Subsection (b) or any co-owner of property that is owned by an eligible person may notify the county tax assessor or collector or central appraisal district for the county in which the property is located of the person’s eligibility for exemption under Subsection (b). The county tax assessor or collector or central appraisal district shall provide the forms necessary for those individuals giving notice under this subsection. If the notice is timely given, a taxing unit in the county may not bring suit for delinquent taxes for the tax year in which the notice is given. Failure to file a notice does not affect eligibility for the waiver of penalties and interest.
(e) On verification that notice was properly filed under Subsection (d), a suit for delinquent taxes must be abated without cost to the defendant. The exemptions provided for under this section shall immediately stop all actions against eligible persons until the person’s eligibility expires as provided in Subsection (b).
(f) This section applies only to property in which the person eligible for the exemption owned an interest on the date the person was transferred out of this state as described by Subsection (c) or in which the person acquired the interest by gift, devise, or inheritance after that date.
(g) For the purposes of this section, a person is considered to be on active military duty if the person is covered by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 (50 App. U.S.C. Section 501 et seq.) or the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (38 U.S.C. Section 4301 et seq.), as amended.
Active Military Duty:
A person is considered to be on “active military duty” if the person is covered by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act or the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Persons in military service are defined as follows:
“Military service” is defined as federal service on active duty with any branch of service listed above, as well as training or education under the supervision of the United States preliminary to induction into the military service. The terms “active service” and “active duty” include the period during which a person in military service is absent from duty due to sickness, wounds, leave, or other lawful cause. The period of military service begins on the date on which the person enters active service and ends on the date of the person’s release or death while in active service.
- all members of the Army, Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard;
- all officers of the Public Health Service detailed by proper authority for duty either with the Army or the Navy; and
- all members of the National Guard under a call to active service authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense for a period of more than 30 consecutive days for purposes of responding to a national emergency declared by the President and supported by federal funds.
The USERRA provides that “service in uniformed services” means the performance of duty on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a uniformed service under competent authority and includes:
- active duty,
- active duty for training,
- initial active duty for training,
- inactive duty training,
- full-time National Guard duty,
- a period for which a person is absent form a position of employment for the purpose of an examination to determine the fitness of the person to perform any such duty, and
- a period for which a person is absent from employment for the purpose of performing funeral honors duty.