It's that time again! Time to pay property taxes and homeowner's association dues!I

J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Oh, The Many “Joys Of Homeownership.” Pay Before End Of January, Or You Will Pay A Stiff Penalty And Risk Foreclosure.

The property tax (or “ad valorem” tax) is the primary source of local government revenue in Texas and provides funding for the services provided by counties, cities, school districts, and other government entities.

Under Texas law, all real property (land, buildings, etc.) and tangible personal property used for the production of income (business inventories, equipment, etc.) is taxable at its January 1 market value unless exempt by law.
The property tax system in Texas has four stages: valuing the taxable property, protesting the values, adopting the tax rates, and collecting the taxes.

January 1 marks the beginning of property appraisal. What a property is used for on January 1, market conditions at that time, and who owns the property on that date determine whether the property is taxed, its value, qualifications for exemptions, and who is responsible for paying the tax.

Between January 1 and April 30, the appraisal district processes applications for tax exemptions, agricultural and timber appraisals, and other tax relief. Around May 15, the appraisal review board begins hearing protests from property owners who believe their property values are incorrect, or who feel they were improperly denied an exemption or agricultural/timber appraisal.

Usually in September or October, the elected officials of each taxing unit adopt tax rates for their operations and debt payments. Typically, each property is taxed by several taxing units. Taxes may also be payable to a city or special district, including such entities as municipal utility districts.

Tax collection starts in October and November as tax bills go out. Taxpayers have until January 31 of the following year to pay their taxes. On February 1, penalty and interest charges begin accumulating on most unpaid tax bills. Regular penalty charges may be as high as 12 percent, depending on how long the tax remains unpaid. Interest is charged at the rate of 1 percent per month. There may also be an additional 15 percent penalty added if the taxing unit hires an attorney to collect the delinquent taxes.


Associate Attorney Alex Higginbotham is be-coming a valuable part of our law practice. In addition to bankruptcy law, Alex is available to handle family law matters including divorces, child custody disputes, CPS cases, child support or visitation modifications, adoptions, actions to remove geographic restrictions from a divorce decree, and other family law matters. Call Alex at the office or email him at [email protected]


Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average… which means, you have met your New Year’s resolution. Jay Leno

New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Mark Twain

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other. Anonymous


The “Late Lecture” Edition

On New Year’s Eve, Daniel was in no shape to drive, so he sensibly left his van in the car park and walked home. As he was wobbling along, he was stopped by a policeman. ‘What are you doing out here at four o’clock in the morning?’ asked the police officer.

‘I’m on my way to a lecture,’ answered Roger.

‘And who on earth, in their right mind, is going to give a lecture at this time on New Year’s Eve?’ enquired the constable sarcastically.

‘My wife,’ slurred Daniel grimly.


Making a New Year’s resolution is like setting any other type of goal. You have to choose wisely if you want to achieve something significant. Remember that a good resolution, like a solid goal, usually has a few definable characteristics:

• Focus. Set a definite target: “Lose 10 pounds by June” is better than “Lose some weight.”

• Challenge. Your resolution should be neither too hard, nor too easy.

• Commitment. Share your resolutions with others who will help you work on them.

• Presence. Write down your resolutions in detail, and post your list where you’ll see it often.

• Vision. Visualize the results you want to achieve every day.


On January 4, President Obama appointed Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new government agency that is tasked with protecting consumers from abuse by financial companies.

Have a complaint about a credit card, mortgage company, or just want to tell your story? Go to and let them hear from you. If you need help with your mortgage, the CFPB can help you hook up with a HUD- certified housing counselor at no charge to you.

The CFPB is also setting up an Office of Financial Education, to help consumers learn how to make sound financial decisions.

In the meantime, the government website is dedicated to the basics of financial education. It has resources to help Americans make common financial decisions like buying a home, balancing a checkbook, or paying for school. gathers some of the best tools and resources available on federal government websites and brings them together on one organized site.


Consumer Bankruptcy.
Debt Collection Defense.
Debt Negotiations and Settlements.
Stop Foreclosure/Repossession.
Student Loan Help.
Fair Debt Collection Practices.
I.R.S. Collection Defense.
Family Law.


Always keep the law office updated with your current address, telephone numbers, and email address. We may need to reach you quickly.
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Lose job or overtime? Expenses increase? Want to give up property to lower payments? Call the office for a Motion to Modify worksheet. Complete it and fax it to the office at 713-772-5058. We’ll review it and contact you if a change to your plan is possible.