Property Deed Error Caused by Miscommunication
WESLACO - A Rio Grande Valley woman will not be paying a hefty fee after her tax records were corrected.
Cristina Leal said she didn't know what to do when the wrong name appeared on her tax records.
After paying her property taxes for 10 years, a document mailed to her from the Hidalgo County Tax Office listed her father, who previously owned the two-acre lot of land, as the owner.
The solution was projected to cost her thousands of dollars in fees to change it back to her name.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS found out it was a problem caused by miscommunication between the Hidalgo County Tax Office and the Appraisal District.
Hidalgo County Tax Assessor-Collector Pablo Villarreal said the problem is rare.
Each time a tax adjustment is made, the paperwork goes from the appraisal district office to the tax office.
"As near as we can tell, something got lost in the translation," Hidalgo County Assistant Chief Appraiser Jorge Gonzalez said.
Villarreal added the ownership of Leal didn't change despite the mistake.
But the small inconsistency with the name expanded. Leal said she was told by the tax office it could be fixed. But in doing so, her property's agricultural status would be re-evaluated and she would lose the status.
The change would also trigger a rollback tax that could cost her more than $3,000.
We learned the appraisal district is the one who makes the call in these situations.
"We have no need to make any changes to that," Gonzalez said.
As for the tax office, they will be limiting the kind of information they give and let the appraisal district handle it first.
Property owners with agricultural status pay a lot less in property taxes than other designations. It costs money to change the status so many prefer to keep it.
A good way to know about keeping an agricultural property in good standing is to stay in touch with the appraisal district. The office is in charge of verifying if someone qualifies for the continued status.