December 3, 2021
Travis County property owners owe $5.3 billion in 2021 taxes to 141 local government entities, including almost $851 million to fund county services.
The Travis County Tax Office sent out more than 400,000 property tax bills.
Texans have until Dec. 31 to pay their taxes if they need a receipt for the Internal Revenue Service. The last day to pay property taxes is Jan. 31, 2022.
Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant wants property owners to know the safest way to pay their property tax bill is by eCheck online at TravisCountyTax.org. “The $1 you pay to use an eCheck is only 45 cents more than a postage stamp and for that you automatically get an emailed receipt showing you paid,” he said.
That proof of payment receipt helps taxpayers should there ever be a question about the property owner’s account, Elfant added. “Every year, it breaks my heart the number of calls I have to make to people whose checks were either lost or postmarked late and explain to them how state law requires us to charge them penalty and interest for late payment,” Elfant said.
Paying by eCheck also gives taxpayers the opportunity to schedule the day they want their taxes paid. “When you are in the online payment system to pay with eCheck, be sure to sign up for eBill so next year you can receive your property tax bill by email,” Elfant said.
Beginning in October, property owners jam the tax office phone lines wanting to know when they will receive their tax bill. Those signed up for eBill are the first to receive their tax bills. Mailed tax bills are staggered, sent out in batches each week as the postal service cannot process all the tax bills at once. “Receiving your tax bill by email is not only faster, but more reliable than waiting for the bill to come in snail mail,” Elfant said.
Property owners who escrow through a mortgage company or lending institution will have their taxes paid by the mortgage company.
However, if the mortgage company misses the property tax deadline, the property owner is required to pay any penalty and interest. Elfant said those who rely on their mortgage company to pay their property taxes should sign up for eBill. Receiving an eBill reminds property owners to keep checking their online account for the mortgage company’s payment, he added.
Property owners also should understand how their taxes are calculated and what they owe is determined, Elfant said.
Travis Central Appraisal District determines the market value of property and individual taxing authorities, such as school districts, cities and counties, set their tax rates. Voters also may have passed a bond election to tax themselves for a particular project or to fund a program. The state’s 254 tax assessor-collector offices take the tax rates provided by the government entities and any bond election and applies those rates against the appraisal district’s market valuation to calculate what property owners must pay.
When the property tax bill is paid, the tax office then sends the money due to each government agency or designated fund.