Hays County residents who are in the process of protesting their property appraisal with the Hays County Appraisal Review Board but have not yet had a hearing may have questions about being late on their property tax payment. Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector Jenifer O’Kane has some guidance.
“My office has to have a value from the Hays Central Appraisal District (CAD) to create a property tax bill,” O’Kane said. “If there is no bill, there is no delinquency.”
She said she confirmed with the CAD that about 1,800 protests within the county are still pending, adding, “I understand Hays County residents may have concerns about missing a tax payment deadline if they are in this situation.”
O’Kane said she received this important clarification from the CAD’s Chief Appraiser, Laura Raven: “If you have not received a tax bill for 2020, you will receive one from the Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office once your 2020 appeal has been closed. The deadline to pay those taxes will be listed on your bill.”
Based on this information, O’Kane said she hopes to clear up any confusion.
“I want to assure you that until your protest is heard, decided on and sent to the tax office, you will not have a delinquent bill,” she said.
O’Kane added that once her office generates a bill, a property owner will have until the first of the following month that allows for 21 days to pay the taxes without incurring penalty and interest. However, her office will accept pre-payments.
“Residents who choose to pay something up front, without a bill, are always welcome to make a prepayment to the Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office,” she said.
The tax office holds pre-payments in escrow and applies that amount to the bill once it is generated.
“We send a receipt to the customer with either a balance or asking them if they want the overpayment refunded or held in escrow for following tax year,” she said.
O’Kane reminded property owners that if a value was certified by the CAD and the tax office generated a bill, but the taxpayer filed a late protest, they are still required to pay the taxes that are due by the deadline*.
“Taxpayers can take the risk that they will win their protest and pay only the undisputed amount, but should they lose the protest, penalty and interest may have already accrued if not paid by February 1,” she said.
*This year’s deadline to pay property tax bills without incurring penalties and interest is February 1. Normally the deadline is January 31, but since that falls on a weekend, bills are still on time if paid by February 1.
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