The Harris County Appraisal District says it had more than 300,000 property owners protesting their appraisals, which is more than they had in 2010. They say it's a great thing for the economy, but the increased workload also responsible for the delays.
If you're a Harris County property owner who received a tax bill a little bit late this time around, or you don't even have yours yet, you're not alone. And with January 31 approaching, you may be worried.
Former tax assessor-collector Paul Bettencourt has some good news.
"If somebody's got a late tax bill, they should look at one thing: when it was mailed?" Bettencourt said..
If it was mailed by January 10, you need to pay by January 31. But if it was mailed after January 10, you have until February 28 to pay with no penalty.
"It's not anything to do with the tax office holding anything, it's just when the accounts get certified and going through the process," Bettencourt said.
About 23,000 Harris County property tax bills have just been mailed in January. And there are 14,000-plus waiting to be sent out. The county says that's due to a high volume of business at the Harris County Appraisal District, where taxpayers have been protesting property valuations in huge numbers.
"We've been in a very vibrant economy so valuations are higher than they've ever been before," Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan said. "The big businesses and the buildings, they're protesting their property valuations just as much as the individual property owner. And that has clogged the system up at HCAD."
If you got a late bill, you are not able to claim it on your taxes for 2013; but to avoid that in the future, just call the tax office.
"We can give them a preliminary number and they then mail in an estimate based on their ability to pay," Sullivan said.
Anyone with information about their tax bill should call HCAD at 713-368-2000.
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