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Understanding San Antonio Property Taxes

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector's Office has an agreement with the City of San Antonio to bill property taxes to homeowners and collect on those billings for the city. These taxes on property provide revenue for community health services, fire and police protection, streets and roads, flood control projects, city debt repayment and more. There are four offices in downtown, southside, northeast and northwest locations that handle payments. Follow these questions to get a better understanding of your San Antonio property taxes.

How are property taxes calculated?

Taxes are based on the current appraised or fair market value of the property (as valued by the Bexar Appraisal District) with higher-valuation properties paying a higher percentage of taxes. There are several individual taxes that form the total property tax and they differ each year depending on city/jurisdiction budgeting needs. Although these tax rates may change from year to year, taxing officials must follow procedures of the Texas Truth and Taxation Laws, which used benchmark tax rates. Depending on where your property is located, a tax could be levied for the school district, city government, and special districts. The tax assessor-collector calculates these rates and sends a property tax bill in October where the rates are listed. A historical property tax rate table showing tax rates since 1992 indicates how the rates have changed.

Are there any exemptions to paying these taxes?

Property owners over 65 along with disabled veterans and non-veterans may qualify for a property tax exemption. Apply for an exemption before May 1st to the Bexar Appraisal District. Forms can be downloaded from their website. Exemptions are:

  • those 65 years of age or older who live in their residence and consider it their "homestead" may claim a $65,000 maximum taxable valuation exemption
  • any disabled veteran of the armed services classified by the Veterans' Administration as disabled is eligible for an exemption based on their disability rating with exemptions ranging from $5,000 to $12,000
  • any disabled person who meets the disability definition as defined by disability insurance for the purpose of obtaining benefits by the Social Security Administration qualifies for a $12,500 exemption

How do I pay property taxes?

Taxes may be paid online, by mail or in person at one of their four offices either in full by January 31st or in two split payments (half by November 30th and the remaining half by June 30th). If you are 65 or older and have a senior exemption on your property taxes, taxes may be paid in four installments with one-fourth due before February 1st and the three installments due before April 1st, June 1st and August 1st (indicate on first payment that payments will be in four installments).

Are there any penalties for late payments?

Property taxes are assessed beginning January 1 of each year and a tax lien is place on each property to assure payment. There are no late penalties if property taxes are paid by the due dates above, depending on the payment option chosen. Delinquent taxes are those not paid by the above due dates and incur interest at 1 percent for the first month and an additional 1 percent for each month the tax remains unpaid. Penalties are also charged for delinquent taxes at 6 percent the first month, an extra 1 percent each of four months after that and an additional 2 percent for the sixth month totaling 12 percent. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal state or national holidays, payment is timely if paid on the next regular business day. If still unpaid, the tax lien may be sold placing hardships on the homeowner.

Due to San Antonio's large military presence, are there different payments for active military?

Yes, those heading to active military status should file Form 50-305 along with military orders to the Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector's office to defer your tax payments. To qualify for this military property tax deferment, active duty must be out of Texas during a war or national emergency according to federal law. No penalty or interest is accrued for up to 60 days after date of discharge, date return to Texas for more than 10 days, date of return to non-active status in the reserves or date war or national emergency ends.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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