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Travis County Wants Its Property Tax Money

Updated: Tuesday, April 1 2014, 06:25 PM CDT

Thousands of Travis County residents are neglecting the taxman. According to the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector's office more than 22,000 people have not paid their property taxes.

That adds up to about $52 million.

"We send out the tax bills for the county, for the city, for the school districts," said Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant.

Travis County property taxes were due by Jan. 31.

If you're reading this for the first time and haven't paid up or made other arrangements, you've probably been put on a delinquent status and penalized heavily.

According to the county all unpaid taxes follow a schedule of penalty and interest that increase each month starting at seven percent in February. By the sixth month of delinquency, the penalty reaches 18 percent. In a years time, the total is 24 percent.

"Every month it gets a little bit higher and it gets expensive," said Elfant. "It can get up as much as 24 percent and that's why we encourage people to pay as much as they can as quick as they so they can minimize the impact."

With the population boom Central Texas has experienced property taxes followed suit.

"We rely on the property tax very heavily, because we don't have an income tax like most states do," said Texas Taxpayers and Research Association expert George Christian.

The Travis County adopted tax rate and City of Austin approved rate has seen steady growth almost every year since 2010.

Only in 2013 did the Travis County rate drop to from .5001 to .4946.

In Austin the property tax rate also dropped in 2014 from .5029 to .5027.

That has a lot to do with more people and properties added to the tax base.

"The increase in value holds the tax rate steady, because there's more property to tax and new revenue comes in from new property, said Christian.

Texas does have one of the highest property tax rates in the county.

At the moment most areas are holding steady, but if you don't pay up you can expect the tax man to come calling, and the penalties to stack up.

Officials tell KEYE TV once people were notified they're delinquent the payments started arriving.

The Travis County Tax Office is responsible for collecting over $2.7 billion in local property taxes for 111 jurisdictions.

Delinquent taxpayers may contact the tax office at (512) 854-9473 to arrange a payment plan. They may also apply in person at the main tax office or apply for a payment plan online

For more information you can head to www.traviscountytax.org or http://www.traviscountytax.org/goQuestions.do.

By Adam Racusin

Travis County Wants Its Property Tax Money


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