From staff reports
Palo Pinto County property owners will soon receive their 2013 property tax statements and, for the second year, the Palo Pinto County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office will use a single-page statement format that allows the listing of two or more property accounts.
According to Tax Assessor-Collector Linda Tuggle, this type of statement has reduced the bulk, as well as postage expense, of the mass mailing.
“It conveniently provides the taxpayer with a ‘grand total due’ and [includes] a perforated section to return with payment,” Tuggle explained.
The county’s tax base of 2.7 billion dollars is divided into 52,000 parcels. With the new system, the county is able to condensed these parcels into 31,480 tax statements. Tuggle said the cost of this required annual mailing will be near $18,000.
“Inter-local agreements with the 17 other taxing entities within the county allow for the consolidation of billing and collections into a single tax office, further reducing the cost of providing tax statements,” she said. “Otherwise, Palo Pinto County property owners would receive two or more bills for each property owned and payment of taxes would be remitted to multiple tax offices.”
She added that the inter-local agreements are authorized by Texas Property Tax Code and Government Code to promote the efficiency of local governments.
“Clearly, it is good common sense to consolidate tax collections when possible,” Tuggle noted.
In the role of assessor, Tuggle’s office creates the tax role “by merging the newly created appraisal roll, provided by the appraisal district office, with the newly adopted tax rates, provided by the local governments.”
This is followed by creating and mailing tax bills. Once this is done, her office collects taxes for the entities, ranging from school districts to cities and Palo Pinto County to the hospital district.
Tuggle passed along the following information regarding property taxes:
• Taxes for 2013 are now due and must be paid no later than January 31 to avoid the addition of penalty and interest.
• A payment received by mail after a delinquency date will be considered timely if the post mark indicates it was mailed prior to the delinquency date.
• Make checks payable to ‘Linda Tuggle, Palo Pinto TAC.’
• A property owner or business owner is responsible for the payment of their property taxes, even if they never get a statement. Penalty and interest will not be dismissed because a statement was not delivered.
“If you have not received a tax statement for all taxable property you own by the end of October, please contact the tax office,” Tuggle advised. “We’ll be happy to mail, fax or email a copy to you.”
• For those who purchased property in 2013, the tax statement may have been mailed to the previous owner. Please contact the tax office and a copy will be provided. Additionally, Tuggle asks that new property owners advise the appraisal district office of the purchase.
• “If you receive a tax statement for taxes you don’t intend to pay because you sold the property, please return it to the tax office with the new owner’s name and contact information,” Tuggle asks former property owners. She added that they should also advise the appraisal district office of the change in ownership.
• A copy of a tax statement is provided to mortgage companies, if they request it. Property owners will receive a tax statement, even if the mortgage company has requested a copy. Tuggle said to deduct it this from the ‘grand total due,’ if the mortgage company is to pay the tax.
• For those who own the home they live in and are not receiving the benefit of a homestead exemption, Tuggle said to contact the Palo Pinto Appraisal Office at 940-659-1281. All exemption applications are processed by the appraisal office.
• If you are receiving the benefit of the ‘Over 65 Homestead Exemption,’ the ‘Disabled Homestead Exemption’ or a ‘Disabled Veteran’s Exemption’ on a property, you may extend the payment of those taxes by paying in four equal payments due by the last day of January, March, May and July, without any added penalty and interest. New legislation this year allowed the inclusion of Disabled Vets to this payment option.
• Paid receipts are not automatic and will be mailed only if requested. This is another cost savings adjustment, Tuggle explained, adding, “We use fax and email as much as possible, so if these are an option for delivering information to you, please let us know.”
• The Palo Pinto County tax office is located in the courthouse in Palo Pinto. Office hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“We are here to help you and to make the payment of your tax obligation as painless as possible. Please come by or call us at 940-659-1271 if you have a question or need assistance. The county web page at www.co.palo-pinto.tx.us has additional contact information, plus some helpful links to find answers to many of your tax questions.