Free E-filing services at DSISD administration

Staff Report

Free assistance with income tax preparation is available through DSISD Community Services, which is sponsoring the local Tax-Aide program, located at the Dripping Springs Independent School District Administration building at 510 West Mercer Street. Volunteers are available at this site at a new time – Thursdays Feb. 6 through April 9 (except during spring break) from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tax returns will be filed electronically. To make an appointment, call 512-858-0954 after Jan. 20.

The tax assistance group is part of the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program. Each year, the volunteers are trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Although AARP Foundation focuses on the needs of older taxpayers, the Tax-Aide program has no age limits. The local site will continue to provide assistance to taxpayers of all ages. Tax-Aide assistance is limited to returns within the scope of the Tax-Aide training.

Taxpayers who have their returns prepared by Tax-Aide must bring photo identification for the taxpayer(s) and social security cards for all family members, all W-2 and 1099 forms for 2019, and any other relevant information about 2019 income and expenses. They also should bring their 2018 tax return and, if using direct deposit for the refund, they should bring their checkbook.

Updated property tax information now available for Texas taxpayers

New and updated property tax information has been compiled by Hays Central Appraisal District and is available now to assist taxpayers. This property tax information is current and covers a wide range of topics, such as taxpayer remedies, exemptions and appraisals, and has information for select groups, such as disabled veterans and persons age 65 or older.

“Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, disabled veteran or other taxpayer, it’s important you know your rights concerning property tax laws,” said Laura Raven, chief appraiser of the Hays Central Appraisal District. “You can contact us about any property tax issue you may have.”

Exemptions for disabled veterans

The law provides partial exemptions for any property owned by disabled veterans or surviving spouses and surviving children of deceased disabled veterans. Another partial exemption is for homesteads donated to disabled veterans by charitable organizations at no cost or not more than 50 percent of the good faith estimate of the homestead’s market value to the disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. The exemption amount is determined according to percentage of service-connected disability. The law also provides a 100 percent homestead exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses and surviving spouses of U.S. armed service members killed in action.

Other exemptions

Non-profit organizations that meet statutory requirements may seek property tax exemptions and must apply at the appraisal district by a specific date. Businesses that receive tax abatements granted by taxing units; ship inventory out of Texas that may be eligible for the Freeport exemption; store certain goods in transit in warehouses that are moved within 175 days; construct, install or acquire pollution control property; own and operate energy storage systems; convert landfill-generated gas; or store offshore drilling equipment while not in use may also be eligible for statutory exemptions.

Rendering taxable property

If a business owns tangible personal property that is used to produce income, the business must file a rendition with its local county appraisal district by a specified date. Personal property includes inventory and equipment used by a business. Owners do not have to render exempt property such as church property or an agriculture producer’s equipment used for farming.

Appraisal notices

Normally, taxpayers receive a notice of appraised value from the appropriate local appraisal district. The city, county, school districts and other local taxing units will use the appraisal district’s value to set property taxes for the coming year.

Property taxpayer remedies

This Comptroller publication explains in detail how to protest a property appraisal, what issues the county appraisal review board (ARB) can consider and what to expect during a protest hearing. The publication also discusses the options of taking a taxpayer’s case to district court, the State Office of Administrative Hearings or binding arbitration if the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the outcome of the ARB hearing.

Homestead exemptions

A homestead is generally defined as the home and land used as the owner’s principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year. A homestead exemption reduces the appraised value of the homestead and, as a result, lowers property taxes. Applications are submitted to the appropriate local county appraisal district office or can be filed online at www.hayscad.com.

Productivity appraisal

Property owners who use land for agricultural purposes or wildlife management can be granted property tax relief on their land. Visit the appraisal district’s website for more information or to file an application online for agricultural appraisal which may result in a lower appraisal of the land based on production, versus market value.

Residence homestead tax deferral

Texas homeowners may postpone paying the currently delinquent property taxes due on the appreciating value of their homes by filing a tax deferral affidavit at their local county appraisal district. This tax relief allows homeowners to pay the property taxes on 105 percent of the preceding year’s appraised value of their homestead, plus the taxes on any new improvements to the homestead. The remaining taxes are postponed, but not cancelled, with interest accruing at 8 percent per year.

Deferral for persons 65 or older or disabled or disabled veteran homeowners

Texans who are age 65 or older or disabled, as defined by law, or who qualify for a disabled veteran exemption may postpone paying current and delinquent property taxes on their homes by signing a tax deferral affidavit. Once the affidavit is on file, taxes are deferred, but not cancelled, as long as the owner continues to own and live in the home. Interest continues to accrue at 5 percent per year on the unpaid taxes. You may obtain a deferral affidavit at the appraisal district.

Availability of electronic communication

In appraisal districts located in counties with a population of more than 200,000 or that have authorized electronic communications, and that have implemented a system that allows such communications, chief appraisers and ARBs may communicate electronically through email or other media with property owners or their designated representatives. Written agreements are required for notices and other documents to be delivered electronically instead of mailing.

Protesting property appraisal values

Property owners who disagree with the appraisal district’s appraisal of their property for local taxes or for any other action that adversely affects them may protest their property value to the appraisal district’s ARB.

To learn more visit www.hayscad.com, contact the Hays Central Appraisal District at info@hayscad.com , call 512-268-2522 or  go to the appraisal district office at 21001 N. Inerstate 35, Kyle. Information is also available on the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division’s website at comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/.

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