Annually property tax bills are determined by market values normally assigned by local government appraisal offices. From these values sent by the appraisal office to the tax department, the property tax invoices are prepared and mailed out assuming addresses and names are correct. Sometimes they are not. Unless you already corrected all the previous tax bills for moves or changes in ownership or property sales or corrections in spelling or addresses, there may be lingering tax bills that do not get forwarded and are accruing interest and penalties. Most property tax bills are available online for your local county taxes which are normally billed annually and payable within a few months afterward until they begin accruing fees and penalties. Go online in all of the counties where your company has had property either now or in the past and look for incorrect tax bills. Try these suggestions listed below.
Suggestions for searching for property taxes (real estate and tangible property):
- Go online and find your county’s tax department website and search for the company name. Google “ABC County Texas property tax search” as an example.
- Search under your companies’ names. Vary the spelling for misspellings of the company name or owner’s name (where his first name is first and last name is second causing the lookup not to find him.
- Search counties where you previously had property, facilities and assigned vehicles but now have moved them all. File the necessary paperwork to file notice of your company’s move to stop these billings from continuing.
- Try searching if allowed using only the addresses of your facilities to see if the company name was screwed up in the first company name search.
- Call or search to see when the county’s new invoices are posted each year.
- File your renditions (declarations of your property’s value) on the correct date with your respective states for all of your locations involved.
- Compare the market value that the local county appraisal department assigned to your property (real estate, equipment, vehicles) versus what value you carry it on your financial records. For example, real estate values are estimated based upon recent sales values in the area but they may not be applicable or appropriate for your older facility.
- Where values are significantly different (appraisals higher than the your value estimates), consider hiring a local property tax protest firm which generally does this every day and knows the people who assigned the values.
- Remember that when you find a tax statement for the year 2018 and it tells you what is due, those particular statements may NOT include outstanding amounts from previous years. You must ask if that current year’s bill is the total of all taxes outstanding for all years. If it is not, you must search for outstanding amounts which may have been handed over to a collection law firm.