Local News

Oct 30, 2013 6:31 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

6 Investigates: Software Glitch Gives Taxpayers a Scare

SAN PATRICIO COUNTY - Thousands of taxpayers in San Patricio County are holding tax statements tonight that are incorrect. Turns out, a software glitch between the Appraisal District and the County Tax Office is to blame, and taxpayers are suffering the consequences.

When you get your appraisal value, you can contest it, and for many homeowners, that means negotiating a lesser value so they don't have to pay as much property tax.

Problem in San Patricio County is the tax statements homeowners are receiving don't reflect those changed values, and for many, that means they're being asked to pay more taxes than they should be.

That's what's happening to Anna Maria and Paul DeLuca.

The couple live in Portland and negotiated with the Appraisal District back in August, lowering their home value from $184,000 to $138,000.

The difference meant they'd pay $1,200 less on their property taxes, but the statement they got from the Tax Assessor's Office doesn't reflect the change.

They are worried the issue won't be resolved before the December 31st deadline.

"Well if you don't pay the amount the assessor says, then you can be assessed and they will slap penalties on you and interest, and so it's kind of scary," Anna Maria DeLuca says.

The county says the problem is a software glitch. The Assessor's Office takes information electronically from the Appraisal District and uses it to send out the tax statements.

But the information was transferred incorrectly, resulting in thousands of inaccurate statements being sent out.

The Appraisal District says they sent PDF's to the county to try and get the ball rolling while they work on the software. In other words, they say the county does have what it needs.

County Judge Terry Simpson says hold on.

"Well, technically no, we don't have the information because we're waiting for them to balance that before we receive it. Yes, it's in the middle somewhere and it will get to us once the information is balanced," he says.

And then there's the issue of using hard copies.

"The issue of using hard copies is that you'd have to have an army of people to go through each one of those statements before it gets sent out to make sure its correct," Judge Simpson says.

The Appraisal District says they may have a solution tomorrow. They are going to try changing the file format for transfer, and hopefully that will fix it.


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