Texas allows residents over 65 to defer payment of property taxes on their homestead. This includes school, county and city taxes. It does not include any federal tax collected by the IRS. The law also allows abatement of a lawsuit to collect a delinquent property tax on your homestead.
Getting the deferral is simple. You must obtain “Form 33.06” from the Bexar Appraisal District. You can also get it, at no charge, from my office (210-826-1122) or from the Senior Citizens’ Information Center (210-222-1845).
The required form must be signed by you in front of a notary. You will need to know the legal description of your home. You need to swear that you are 65 or older and that the described property is occupied by you as your homestead.
Filing for deferral or abatement does not mean you no longer owe the taxes. The collection authority can still place a lien against your home, but cannot act to enforce the lien. Also, penalties and interest will accrue while you owe outstanding taxes.
“Defer”, in this context, means to avoid the filing of a collection lawsuit, until you no longer own and occupy the house. To defer collection, you must file form 33.06 with the Appraisal District any time before collection action is begun.
“Abate” means to stop an already existing collection suit. You must file form 33.06 with the court that would hear the lawsuit. The tax authority may try to disprove your right to an abatement, but the final decision is the Judge’s. If no objection is raised by the tax authority, the lawsuit is suspended until you no longer own and occupy the homestead property.
The deferral and abatement procedure is made available to those over 65 to help if you do not have enough money to pay the taxes. The procedure is another way that Texas law tries to make your senior years easier.
If you feel that a tax deferral or abatement would be helpful to you, you should file the necessary form. Take advantage of the law!
Original Publication: San Antonio Express News, October 13, 1989