SAN ANTONIO – As if paying the mortgage and grocery bills is not challenging enough for people who’ve lost jobs and income, many now face a June 30 deadline to pay their property taxes.
“That’s a common concern we hear -- ‘My business has been closed for three months. How am I going to pay my property taxes?’” said Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti.
Property taxes can be a chunk of change. For those who split their tax bill into two payments, the deadline is fast approaching. So what’s a cash-strapped taxpayer to do?
“The most important thing for them to do is pay as much as they can for the second half that’s due,” Uresti said.
That’s because on July 1, by law, a delinquent taxpayer will be socked with a 13% penalty on the unpaid amount.
Next, Uresti encourages taxpayers to contact his office to set up a payment plan. That can help avoid another whammy, a 20% attorney collection fee come Sept. 1.
“I am instructing staff to loosen up down payment requirements on people who have made a half payment,” he said.
Payment plans are how George Arroyo manages his taxes.
“I still got to pay a thousand something, so I make arrangements,” he said.
Seniors, the disabled, and disabled veterans struggling to get by also can get a 180-day property tax deferment. The taxes will not be waived, only delayed.
To lower property taxes, property owners should make sure they are receiving all of the exemptions they are due, such as homeowner’s exemption, disabled veteran and over 65.
For 2020 taxes, property owners can appeal their appraisals, potentially easing future tax burdens. The deadline for most to file a notice of protest is June 29.
But for the immediate 2019 tax bill, Uresti encourages taxpayers to take action sooner rather than later. Failure to pay taxes can eventually result in a tax lien or foreclosure.
“We don’t want people’s homes. We don’t want people’s businesses,” Uresti said. “If you come see us, we will work with you.”