Life is busy and there are never enough hours in a day, but there are certain tasks a commercial property owner has to tackle — and tackle on time. (Chief among them? Meeting that commercial property tax deadline.) The simple truth is, failure to adhere to timelines set out by state law can result in massive impacts to a business and its bottom line.
What are the repercussions for a missed commercial property tax deadline? We’re glad you asked. Here, our experts lay out a few things every commercial property owner should know, from potential penalties to deadlines to keep on file and tips to keep your commercial property protest on track.
What Penalties Could You Face for a Missed Property Tax Deadline?
The impacts a missed property tax deadline can have on your business will vary based on exactly which deadline we’re talking about. You see, there are several important steps that come into play regarding commercial property tax protests and payments, and each adheres to its own pre-set calendar dates.
- Missed Property Tax Deadline: You Didn’t Pay the Prior Year’s Commercial Property Taxes
You have through the end of the year to make good on your commercial property tax bill. If you haven’t paid by Feb. 3, however, you’re considered delinquent, and fees come into play. In Texas you immediately face a 6% penalty based on the amount of your property tax bill, with an additional 1% penalty added on for each month (or part of a month) that bill goes unpaid. In general, your penalty tops out at 12% in July, but under certain circumstances it can accrue to 20% to factor in attorney fees.
- Missed Property Tax Deadline: You Failed to Submit Your Rendition
Renditions are reports you make to your county appraisal district (CAD) that list taxable property you owned or had in your possession. Applicable property can include everything from a company’s inventory to furniture and fixtures. Failure to render by the April deadline (or the approved extended deadline if an extension request was made in writing) can result in penalties of 10% to 50%.
- Missed Property Tax Deadline: You Never Submitted Documents to Your Property Tax Firm
If you’re planning to protest your commercial property valuations (something we recommend you do annually) it’s important to make sure the firm you’re trusting to help with your protest has the documentation it needs to get started. Without confirmation that you plan to protest — and at least some basic information regarding your commercial property and your valuation amount — your firm’s calendar might fill up, leaving the team unable to serve you. And in that instance, you’re left deciding between setting out to find a firm that has openings, protesting your commercial property taxes on your own or simply skipping the protest altogether. Even if your chosen firm still has the capacity to serve you, submitting your information late provides them with less time to build a case. The earlier you provide the documents and proof they request, the better your chance of a successful protest.
- Missed Property Tax Deadline: You Failed to Submit Your Commercial Property Tax Protest
In the state of Texas, a commercial property owner must file a notice of protest by May 15 or within 30 days of the appraisal district mailing the notice. Missing that deadline often means you forfeit your right to protest. If filing late — but before the appraisal review board (ARB) approves records — however, there is a chance the board will allow a hearing. It’s up to the board’s discretion as to whether you had a legitimate reason for missing the initial deadline.
Lane Tip: For additional information about the Texas Tax Code and associated penalties, visit the Texas Comptroller website.
Never Miss a Deadline: Property Tax Dates You Should Know
If there was ever a time to focus on meeting a deadline, property tax season would be it. As we’ve already mentioned, letting due dates slip by can have costly repercussions for a business — not just in terms of financial penalties, but by highlighting your business as one the appropriate taxing entities feel they should watch more closely.
Here, we’ve pulled together a few important dates commercial property owners should keep in mind. Take a moment to jot them down — or download Lane’s commercial property tax calendar from our Resources page.
- January 31: O-65 and corrections are due for the previous year. Homestead exemptions are effective upon approval when filed. Your prior year’s commercial property tax payment is also due.
- February 3: Your prior year’s taxes become delinquent if not yet paid — if your commercial property tax bill was mailed on or before Jan. 10 of the current year.
- April 1: This is the last day for commercial property owners to file renditions and property tax reports — unless requesting a filing extension in writing.
- April 30: This is the last day to file certain exemption applications. Please note the chief appraiser may extend the deadline for business personal property accounts to May 15 with written request.
- May 15: Commercial property tax protests are due.
- June 30: This is the last day to pay the second half of your prior year’s split payment, if applicable.
How Can You Keep Your Commercial Property Tax Protest on Track?
The best way to ensure you don’t let an important deadline slip by is to trust your commercial property tax protest to a professional firm. When you leave the task to a team that handles such work each and every day, they have a firm grasp of coming deadlines, an understanding of the information and evidence needed to prove your case — and the capacity and time required to carry out a quality protest. It’s all about providing you more time to dedicate to your day’s work, alleviating the stress associated with visits to the appraisal district and setting your business up for success.
We hope this information helped to bring those important tax deadlines into focus, and provided insight into what happens when those dates pass you by. If you have questions about any of the above, or if you’re interested in learning how Lane Property Tax Advocates can guide your protest moving forward, please feel free to contact our team. Our property tax pros are here to help and dedicated to ensuring you’re only paying what’s fair.