How to Pay Somebody Else's Delinquent Property Tax in Texas

Racking up delinquent property taxes in Texas is bad news. Fall too far behind, and your childhood home in Harris County might just become a Harris county foreclosure.

Fortunately, the state of Texas will give you a heads up before that happens. They'll put the overdue amount plus interest and penalties into a lien on your property and give you ample chance to pay your debt before your home gets sold to a new owner or, failing that, ends up in the Texas tax sales property listings. If the financial burden is too heavy for you, remember this: You don't have to be the person paying the delinquent tax in order to retain ownership of your property, so don't hesitate to reach out for help.

Paying Delinquent Property Taxes in Texas

As long as you pay off the delinquent amount before your home is foreclosed or your foreclosed home is sold, you'll retain ownership of the property. To make matters easier, any individual can pay taxes on someone else's property with no effect on the ownership of the home.

Typically, you'll have the option to pay by mailing a check or calling the local tax office and paying by credit card, debit card or e-check by following the instructions on your tax due notice. You can also go down to your county's tax office with paperwork in hand to make the payment. In either case, the payment method does not have to be in your name if you have a party willing to make the payment for you. Most tax offices will even accept cash.

Likewise, counties like Fannin, Harris and others offer online payment options that accept all major credit cards. The paying person can simply enter his credit card information to cover your taxes. That way, you'll prevent your home from showing up at the Harris County auction house.

Exceptions to the Rule

Disabled or elderly property owners may not need to have their delinquent taxes paid by a friend or family member. In Texas, disabled persons and people over the age of 65 not only have the option to defer taxes for up to 180 days as long as they live in the respective property, they also have the option to pay the amount due in four separate installments. In many counties, like Fannin and others, all taxpayers are eligible for installment agreements.

In the case that the taxing agent is responsible for your taxes falling into delinquency, the state will waive the penalty and interest fees, but you'll still be required to pay the taxes.

2018 Tax Laws

Though the process for accruing and paying delinquent property taxes in Texas didn't change between tax years 2017 and 2018, your penalty and interest percentage amounts will change depending on what year your taxes became delinquent and when you or your payer make the payment.

You can get a full, up to date breakdown of penalty and interest on delinquent property tax via the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts official website.

2017 Tax Laws

The percentage owed for penalty and interest on delinquent property taxes in Texas varies depending on how long your tax has been delinquent.

For instance, if the taxes owed became delinquent in 2017, you'll owe a penalty and interest percentage amount of 0.19 if you pay in August of 2018, 0.20 if you pay in September of 2018 and so on.

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About the Author

Dan's decade-long experience as a freelance writer and small business owner has seen him contribute to financial publications including Chron.com, Zacks.com, MSN Money, Fortune, Motley Fool and others.