Owners of Hurricane-Flattened Homes in Houston Will Still Pay Property Taxes

Houston home flooding

Our Houston-based friend Ralph Bivins published this report this morning. Looks like victims of Hurricane Harvey will face a second wave of financial ruin.

Reporting by Ralph Bivins, Realty News Report

Elected officials are responding with deaf ears, blind eyes and cold hearts to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Owners of properties demolished by Hurricane Harvey will have to pay as much in taxes as the owners of properties in perfect condition, unless government officials take action soon.
Houstonians who own structures that are uninhabitable will get no tax break at all, even though there is a provision in state law to make the tax burden a little lighter on disaster victims.
Rules are rules, they say. And the 2017 property tax bills are based on the value of the property on Jan. 1, 2017. The deadline to pay 2017’s tax is two weeks away. Annual property taxes, which are huge in the Lone Star State, are due Jan. 31, 2018.
But what’s being ignored is a provision in the Texas Property Tax Code that allows for a mid-year reappraisal of property damaged by natural disasters. Section 23.02 of the property tax code allows for a disaster reappraisal. Property taxes would then be prorated based on the date the storm made landfall – August 25. So that would mean homes that were heavily damaged – or completely destroyed – would have a lighter tax burden for the last four months of the year.
The disaster reappraisal can be enacted if  – and only if – the elected officials at the taxing entities request it. That means the city council, county commissioners and school boards instruct the Harris County Appraisal District to perform the reappraisal.
Spokesmen for Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Ed Emmett said there are no plans to request the disaster reappraisal.
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