SAN ANTONIO, Texas, Jan. 19, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It's that time of year again: Most Texans who own any kind of real estate must pay their property taxes by Jan. 31, or face hefty penalties.
If you don't pay the county tax bill before Feb. 1, it will be deemed delinquent, and that's expensive. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, as of Feb. 1 the local tax office adds a 6 percent penalty and one percent interest. The penalty and interest continues to accrue at 1 percent per month until July 1.
"The county's penalties and interest add up fast," says Jack Nelson, President and CEO of Propel Financial Services, which helps Texas property owners resolve overdue tax bills. "If you let it go all the way to July, your bill will have grown as much as 42 percent, which most likely includes a collection agency fee. That can mean thousands of dollars in added costs. And they have the right to foreclose. So, it's absolutely critical to do everything possible to pay the county tax office by Jan. 31."
Many delinquent taxpayers don't have the means to pay the entire bill in one chunk. They may be dealing with an expensive medical issue, a job layoff, a child's college tuition bill or the unexpected inheritance of a piece of real estate and the property taxes that come with it, Nelson notes. Countless financial shocks can make it very difficult to pay property taxes on time.
The growing divide between property tax bills and Texans' income is also a factor, Nelson says. He noted that property tax levies over the past 20 years have increased by 205 percent, almost triple the increase in Texans' household income, according to a November 2014 report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
But solutions are available, Nelson says, including working out a payment plan with the tax assessor-collector or using a property tax financing company to get the bill paid.
Many counties offer payment plans, which may work for certain property owners. While paying down the current tax bill, it's important for taxpayers also to save for next year's tax bill, and to stay current on their payment plans in order to avoid default. Default can lead to the local tax office turning the account over to an outside collection firm, incurring steep additional costs.
A credible property tax financing company is another alternative, and in many cases can provide a better and more flexible deal than the county. Such companies will pay the amount you owe to the local tax office and then set a payment plan of up to 10 years to repay the bill.
Nelson encourages property owners to look for a well-known and financially stable property tax financing company that has been around for at least several years and will provide you with a reasonable interest rate (often below credit card rates or the county's interest rate). They will coach you through the process until you are back on your feet financially and help you avoid additional expenses due to unpaid property taxes.
ABOUT PROPEL FINANCIAL SERVICES
Propel Financial Services offers property tax payment plans in Texas and Nevada, creating affordable and flexible payment plans for people who are delinquent on their property taxes. With a property owner's consent, Propel pays the property owner's delinquent property taxes directly to the local taxing authority, which then transfers the tax lien to Propel. Additionally, Propel provides tax lien solutions nationwide by working closely with municipalities and government officials to find solutions to unpaid property taxes.
Headquartered in San Antonio, with offices in Dallas, McAllen, and Roseland, New Jersey, Propel is the largest tax lien transfer company in Texas and is home to 100 employees. The company has repeatedly been recognized as a "Top Workplace" by the San Antonio Express-News. For more information, please visit the company's website at PropelFinancialServices.com. Propel Financial Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Encore Capital Group.
CONTACT: Eric Whittington 210.240.9041 (mobile) Ericw@ThisWGroup.com
Source:Propel Financial Services