In recent weeks there has been considerable online chatter resulting from the new federal tax plan. In particular, some neighbors have inquired about the idea of "prepaying" for property taxes for 2018. The following research summary was submitted by Rosie Walker, who is a former writer and communications manager at the Harris County Tax Office.
Property taxes in Texas are paid in arrears, not in advance. January 31, 2018, is the due date for 2017 property taxes.
Below is a summary of the process taken from websites of the State Comptroller and the Harris County Tax Office.
- A large part of the job of the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) is to estimate what your property is worth on January 1 each year. January first each year is referred to as the “snapshot date.” What a property is used for on January 1, market conditions on that date and who owns the property on that date determine whether the property is taxed, its value and who is responsible for paying the taxes.
- Around May 15 every year, HCAD is supposed to begin hearing protests from property owners who believe their property values are incorrect. (Notifications are mailed to owner addresses on file with HCAD. Verify or update your address at hcad.org.)
- Upon completion of this work (protest hearings), HCAD is charged with providing each taxing jurisdiction (City of Houston, HISD, HCC, Port of Houston, Flood Control District, etc.) a list of taxable property within its boundaries. The Harris County Tax Office collects for most of the jurisdictions that tax property in Woodland Heights. You may verify your tax bill online at hctax.net/Property/TaxStatement.
- In August or September, the elected officials of each taxing unit should adopt tax rates for their operations and debt payments (i.e., budgetary items). Only then will we be able to know the exact dollar amount of property taxes we owe.
- Tax collection for 2018 property taxes will begin in the fourth quarter of 2018, with due date for 2018 property tax being January 31, 2019.