Fort Worth

Thousands of Tarrant County tax bills have not been sent out because of errors

Some Tarrant County homeowners are still waiting on their tax bills.
Some Tarrant County homeowners are still waiting on their tax bills. Star-Telegram archives

Several thousand local tax bills have yet to be sent out — despite looming due dates — as Tarrant Appraisal District employees work to correct errors.

With just days until half-payments are due for some taxpayers, the county received a request from TAD to pull a number of statements that had errors and send them back for corrections. Once corrected, those tax bills should be sent to homeowners in the coming weeks.

But thousands of other tax statements that were put on hold this week as county workers searched for the errors should be arriving in mailboxes in the next few days, Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Ron Wright said.

“We have identified the errors and those accounts have gone back to TAD for corrections and will appear on supplemental rolls,” Wright said. “Thousands are still being held.”

Estimates range from hundreds to several thousand on the number of property tax bills that have not been sent out.

TAD Chief Appraiser Jeff Law insisted there is not a problem, explaining that some tax bills are being held as reviews continue about protests, 65-and-older exemptions, tax ceiling calculations and recent paperwork changes.

“I’m not aware of any errors that would hold up the sending of these tax bills,” said Law, noting that the employees he needs to talk to about the problems were out of the office Wednesday. “If there are, obviously we will investigate that.”

While most of Tarrant County’s tax bills were sent out as scheduled in October, anything sent out over the next few days is not considered late.

But Wright said some property owners may be in a quandary, particularly those who want to pay half of their property taxes at the end of November, with the other half due by the end of June, because they don’t know how much to pay.

An Arlington woman who declined to reveal her name because of privacy concerns said that’s her situation. She wants to pay half her taxes on one of her homes but has no clue how much is due.

“It’s a great help for us, to pay the taxes in two statements, rather than all at once in January,” she said. “It’s a wonderful program. But I don’t have my bill.”

Most bills sent in October

Wright said the county has about 1.6 million accounts and, initially, he thought around 7,000 tax bills would be sent out in the coming days.

“It’s absolutely normal that we would be sending out statements at this time,” Law said.

Then Wright received an urgent call this week, where he learned that errors affected this batch of statements.

But Law said: “The information I’ve sent to Ron, I believe, is ready to go.”

Law said there were “no problems” right now and he noted that 2017 “has been a great year from a software standpoint.”

But he also said he’s going to look into the situation.

‘They won’t be penalized’

Tarrant County allows taxpayers who want to pay half their property taxes at a time to submit their first payment by Nov. 30 and the balance by the end of June.

In general, property tax payments are not due until Jan. 31. But many pay their bill before the end of the year to qualify for a tax deduction.

ron wright
Tarrant County Tax Assessor Ron Wright Star-Telegram archives

Wright said anyone making half-payments or who hasn’t received their bill, should call the county at 817-884-1100 “right now” and ask for the tax assessor-collector’s office.

County workers can look up any taxpayer’s file in the system and estimate the tax payment due. If the amount ends up being a little off because of the estimate, that taxpayer won’t face fines.

“If they go by the number we are giving, they won’t be penalized,” Wright said.

This year, the Tarrant Appraisal District saw around 127,000 protests, a big increase from last year’s record 103,000, he said.

And that could cause a delay in some tax bills being sent out.

TAD protests file
Homeowners wanting to protest their tax bills in 2016 could do so curbside outside the Tarrant Appraisal District. Star-Telegram archives

Plus, for anyone with a life change such as moving or getting divorced, those tax bills could still be in the system.

Property owners not receiving a tax bill by mid- to late December should call the tax assessor-collector’s office.

“They are responsible for it even if they don’t get a bill,” Wright said. “But call before Christmas, by Dec. 20 or so.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

In the spring of 2016, the Tarrant Appraisal District pulled an exemption on an elderly couple that triggered a foreclosure on their home. The couple was told to move out after the house was put up for auction on the courthouse steps.

Property tax information

For information on Tarrant County property tax bills, contact the Tarrant County tax assessor-collector’s office, which is in charge of collecting payments, at 817-884-1100.

To find them online, go to access.tarrantcounty/com/en/tax/property-tax.html.

For information from the Tarrant Appraisal District, which sets the value of local homes, call 817-284-0024 or go online to www.tad.org.

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