Frequently Asked Questions

PROPERTY
Tax Payment
Appraised Value
Tax Sale
Exemption
Tax Statement
Hays Central Appraisal District Rendition Penalty
Miscellaneous

VEHICLE
General
Vehicle Title
License/Registration

BEER AND WINE

 


Tax Payment Questions

Q. When I receive my Hays County tax bill, when is the last day that I can pay without penalty and interest?
January 31 of the following year.

For example, if bills go out in October of 2012, the last day to pay without penalty and interest is January 31, 2013.

   
Q. Where can I pay my property taxes?
You can pay by cash, check, debit or credit card at any of our office locations throughout Hays County. Payments by check only should be mailed to:

Luanne Caraway
712 S. Stagecoach Trail, Ste. 1120
San Marcos, TX  78666

 

Please make your check payable to Luanne Caraway, and if possible, enclose the copy of your tax statement with your payment.

You may make full or partial payments using credit, debit or e-check here on the website.  Simply return to the homepage and click on the ‘Search and Pay Taxes’ button displayed in red.  If paying by credit or debit card you may use Master Card, Visa, American Express, Discover or a PayPal account.  A fee of 2.2% + $0.30 will be applied to the total bill.  The fee to pay by e-check is a flat rate of $2.00.

You may also make a payment in full by phone, using Master Card or Visa by calling 1-888-546-4337 for our automated system.  A fee of 2.2% will be applied to the total bill.
 
Q. Why do I make checks payable to Luanne Caraway?
The County Tax Assessor-Collector is an office created by the Texas Constitution. Under the Constitution’s provisions, the Assessor-Collector is personally liable for the funds collected and deposited in separate bank accounts under his control. The Assessor-Collector is relieved of this responsibility and liability when he deposits the funds with the County Treasurer.  
 
Q. Can I pay my property taxes online?
Yes. The Tax Office accepts full or partial payment of property taxes online. Property taxpayers may also use any combination of credit cards and/or e-Checks for payment. Online, we accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit/debit card. A non-refundable convenience fee of 2.2% transaction fee +$.30 convenience fee will be charged.
 
Q. Can I pay my current taxes before paying my delinquent taxes?
Yes. Please be sure to indicate on your check that the money is to be applied to your current year taxes. 
 
Q. Can I make monthly payments on my current taxes?
Yes.  We will take payments early and apply them to the bills when they become due.
 
 
Q. Can I make monthly payments on my delinquent taxes?
Yes, but  payment arrangements will have to be made.
 
 
Q. Why do I have to pay penalty and interest when I never received a bill?

As a property owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that you receive a bill and that it is paid on time. The statements are mailed and the taxes are due at the same time each year. If you have not received a bill by the middle of December, you should call and request that another one be mailed to you. You are also able to call and get an amount due over the phone as early as October or look up your account on the website. It is not necessary to have a statement to make payment as long as you have your account number and know the correct amount. You can either mail or take your payment to any Hays County Tax office location.  You may also make payments online or by phone.
 
Q. Can a refund be mailed directly to me?
If the refund is due to the granting of an exemption (i.e. homestead or disabled veteran), the refund check will be mailed directly to the name and address on the tax roll, if there is no name change on the account.  
 

Q. The mortgage company paid my current taxes. I failed to claim the homestead. How do I get a refund?
If there is no name change on the account, the refund will be issued automatically to the name and address on the tax roll. If there is a name change, our system will not automatically issue a refund. Please contact the Hays County Tax Office with any further questions you may have.

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Q. I received a bill for personal property taxes, but I do not own any real estate; I just lease it for my business. Why am I receiving a bill on property I do not own? Should the property owner be paying this? 
All businesses are taxed on their personal property, such as furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment, inventory and vehicles. Most likely, the bill that you received is for your business personal property and not for the real estate itself. The real estate is taxed separately and the tax statement sent to the property owner.  

Appraised Value Questions 
 
Q. How did you arrive at the appraised value of my property?
Placing a taxable value on real property and personal property is a function of the Hays Central Appraisal District, not the Tax Office. Please call the Hays Central Appraisal District at 512-268-2522.

Q. How can I protest my appraised value?
All protests must be directed to the Hays Central Appraisal District. This office can send a protest form to you, or you may obtain the form directly from Hays Central Appraisal District at 512-268-2522. The deadline for filing written protests for homestead properties is April 30th or 30 days after the date the appraisal district sends a notice of appraised value, whichever is later.  
  
Q. Hays Central Appraisal District reduced my value. When will I receive another statement?

You will receive a new tax bill after this office receives the adjusted taxable value from the Hays Central Appraisal District.  
 
Q. I own several adjoining lots and the homestead was assigned to the wrong lot.  How do I get it corrected?
The Hays Central Appraisal District will have to make the correction. You will receive a corrected statement after the Hays Central Appraisal District certifies the correction to the Hays County Tax Office. The correction process may take several weeks, so do not wait to pay your tax bill!

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Tax Sale Questions 
  
Q. Can the delinquent tax attorneys sell my property for unpaid taxes? 
It is possible that property can be sold for delinquent taxes. A lawsuit for tax lien foreclosure can be filed and a judgment subsequently granted by the court. The attorneys, with the approval of the Hays County Tax Office, can then proceed with tax sale procedures.  
  
Q. What is the procedure for purchasing property with delinquent taxes?
Property can be bought for delinquent taxes only after a lawsuit for tax lien foreclosure has been filed, and later a judgment has been granted by the court to sell the property. You will need to contact the law firm that administers delinquent tax sales on behalf of Hays County. The law firm for Hays County is MVBA Law and they can be reached at 512-353-3755.

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Exemption Questions 
 
Q. I received my tax statement and it does not show my exemption.
Perhaps you have not filed the proper affidavit with the appraisal district. You are entitled to a homestead exemption if you own your home on January 1 and it is your primary residence. You can claim only one homestead exemption as of January 1. In order to receive a homestead exemption, an affidavit must be filed with the Hays Central Appraisal District. All exemptions, such as homestead, over 65, disabled persons, and disabled veterans require execution of an affidavit with the Hays Central Appraisal District. If you so request, we will send the necessary form to you, or you can obtain them directly from Hays Central Appraisal District at 512-268-2522.
  
Q. We are over 65 and pay no taxes. We received a statement showing a emergency service district tax. Why?
Emergency service districts were created by the state legislature and approved by the voters of the various districts. They have the legal authority to set a tax rate and may not allow exemptions. These exemptions are not mandatory, and they do not have to grant them. If no exemption is allowed, you are liable for the tax. There is a maximum allowable exemption, and if the value is higher than the ceiling, the value above the ceiling is taxable. 
 
Q. I received a homestead exemption for the current year, but I sold the property. How can I correct this matter?
The exemption goes by its status as of January 1st of each year. If you purchased a new home you need to file for a homestead exemption on your new homestead property with the Hays Central Appraisal District for the next January 1. You can download an application for a homestead exemption from our site, or you may obtain it directly from the Hays Central Appraisal District at 512-268-2522. 


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Tax Statement Questions 
  
Q. I understood totally (100%) disabled veterans were to receive a total exemption from their property taxes;  why did I receive tax bills for 2007? 
Voters did approve a constitutional amendment on November 6, 2007 to provide a total exemption from property taxes to 100% disabled veterans. However, the legislation necessary to put the exemption into affect was not approved by the Texas Legislature in the 2007 session. Therefore, because the Legislature meets only every two years, it will be at least 2009 (probably 2010) before the exemption may be granted.  
 
Q. I paid off my house and my mortgage company will not be paying my taxes this year. How do I make sure that I receive my tax statement? When are the statements mailed out and when are taxes due? 
As long as a statement is not requested by a mortgage company, it is automatically mailed to the homeowner. The statements are mailed out by November of each year. If you have not received your statement by mid-December, it is your responsibility to notify us so that we can send out another statement. Taxes are due upon receipt, and should be paid no later than January 31st of the year following the year the tax statements are mailed.  
 
Q. This is not my property. What shall I do with this statement?

If you know the name of the owner, please return the statement to this office with the name of the owner. If you do not know the name of the owner, return the statement with that notation.  
 
Q. The name and address on this statement are incorrect. How can I get it changed?
The Hays Central Appraisal District is responsible for determining each property owner's name and address. We can send you a name and address correction form, and then you forward it to the Hays Central Appraisal District. If it is more convenient, you can get the form directly from the Hays Central Appraisal District by calling 512-268-2522, or log onto your tax account here on the website by clicking the ‘search and pay taxes’ button on the homepage.  Once you have pulled up your account, you will have the option to make the change.

Q. What is a tax account number and what do you mean by a "legal description"?
The tax account number is assigned by the Hays Central Appraisal District and is used to help identify each piece of property. Normally, only one account number is assigned to each parcel. The legal description describes the property as a parcel in a larger tract (e.g., Lot 1, Block 2 in Meadow Subdivision), so it can be located on a map.  If the legal description is wrong on your statement, this error should be directed to the Hays County Appraisal District for proper handling. If you so request, we will send the necessary real property correction form or personal property correction form to you, or you may obtain them directly from the Hays Central Appraisal District by calling them at 512-268-2522

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Q. Can you send me a statement on my taxes for part of the year?
The Hays County Tax Office does not prorate taxes; the tax bill must be paid in full. 
 
Q. Why am I getting a delinquent tax bill on a parcel I just purchased?
The tax laws require this office to mail delinquent tax bills to the current owner of real estate, rather than to the previous owner. Because a  tax lien exists against that parcel, it is in the current owner's best interest to have knowledge of that lien.  If a lawsuit were filed to foreclose the lien, the current owner (not the previous owner) risks losing the property to foreclosure. 

Hays Central Appraisal District Rendition Penalty Questions 
 
Q. What is the rendition penalty?
Chapter 22, Texas Tax Code, requires owners of business personal property to file a rendition describing the property with the chief appraiser by April 15 of each year and also prescribes the penalty for failure to comply. 

The rendition penalty is a penalty created by the Texas Legislature on those businesses failing to file their business personal property rendition, or filing their rendition late, to the Hays Central Appraisal District (CCAD).

The rendition penalty is generally equal to 10% of the amount of property taxes ultimately imposed on the property.

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Q. How do I pay the rendition penalty bill I have received?
The Hays Central Appraisal District has contracted with the Hays County Tax Office to collect rendition penalties. Such payments are accepted at any Tax Office location, online by e-Check or credit card, and by mail. 
  
Q. How do I protest my penalty (or get a waiver)?
The Tax Office does not have the legal authority to waive or reduce the penalty. If you can provide evidence that you substantially complied with the rendition requirement or that your failure to comply was due to circumstances beyond your control, you can apply to the chief appraiser for a waiver. Lack of knowledge or forgetting the deadline will not be considered as a basis for a waiver.
Your application letter must be received by the appraisal district within 30 days of the date you received your bill. Send a cover letter, a detailed explanation of the reason(s) for your failure to timely file, and a completed rendition form (or supporting statement, if the penalty relates to a supporting statement).

If the chief appraiser fails to approve your request for waiver, you may protest the decision to the appraisal review board. 
 
Q. What happens if I pay after the due date?
There is no additional penalty for late payment. However, collection action will be taken. 
  
Q. If I do not pay, what happens?
You will be subject to civil action for collection in the courts.   

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Q. If I am a vendor, will I be prevented from getting County contracts until the bill is paid? 
Yes, unpaid rendition penalty will be treated the same as unpaid property tax for purposes of determining compliance with the Hays County vendors policy. 
 
Q. I want to protest the rendition penalty or request a waiver. How do I do this? 
Contact the Hays Central Appraisal District at 512-268-2522
 
Q. I filed all of my rendition paper work by the deadline. How do I get the penalty removed? 
Contact theHays Central Appraisal District at 512-268-2522
 
Q. Who does this money go to? 
The penalty is divided 20% to the appraisal district and 80% to the various taxing jurisdictions. 
  
Q. What do I do if one of my jurisdictions on my bill is wrong? 
Contact the Hays Central Appraisal District at 512-268-2522

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Miscellaneous Questions
 
  
Q. Why are my taxes higher this year than in previous years?
Check your exemptions. If you were not granted the exemption allowed, contact HCAD. The appraised value may be greater than in the previous year. If so, you will receive an explanation from the Hays Central Appraisal District for the increase. Also, the tax rate may have increased and if so, the amount of your tax could be more than the previous year. The breakdown of the tax rates of the various jurisdictions is shown on your tax statement. 


VEHICLE

General Questions
Q.  Can I pay my vehicle registration with a credit card?
  You can use your credit card by renewing at www.texasonline.com

* Please note that you will need to have your license plate number and the last four digits of your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) in order to renew your registration online.  


Q.  How do I register and title a motorcycle?
  Follow the same procedures as with any motor vehicle.

Q.  How do I contact the Hays County Tax Office?
  You may contact us in a variety of ways. You may telephone us at  (512) 393-5545.  If you wish to correspond with our office, please address your letters to Luanne Caraway, Tax Assessor-Collector, 712 S. Stagecoach Trail, San Marcos, Texas 78666. Our main office is located at 712 S. Stagecoach Trail, San Marcos, Texas. However, you may be able to conduct business at our other three substations in Buda, Dripping Springs, and Kyle  

Q.  Can I download forms that pertain to motor vehicle registration and titles?
  Yes, the Texas Department of Transportation Vehicle Title and Registration Forms Page has many of the commonly used forms that can be downloaded. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer in order to view the documents. Link to Adobe on this page, and from there you can download Acrobat Reader.

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Q.  I am disabled and would like to obtain license plates with the international symbol of access. What should I do?
  Texas law allows disabled residents to obtain either a) one set of plates with the international symbol of access plus one placard, or b) two placards. A placard may be displayed in any vehicle being used to transport the disabled person. If the vehicle does not have disabled-person license plates, the law requires that the placard be displayed on the rear-view mirror whenever the vehicle is parked in a disabled-person parking space. A disability statement form is available from the Hays County Tax office. The applicant's physician must complete the form VTR-214. The physician's signature must be notarized unless a separate written original prescription is submitted. The fee for a placard is five dollars ($5.00). Placards must be renewed every four years. There is an exchange fee of $1.30 ($1.00 processing fee if done through the mail) for a set of disabled-person license plates, if the registration is current. Additional sets of disabled person plates may be obtained for vehicles specially equipped for operation by a person who has lost the use of one or both legs. For more information on disabled person placards and license plates, please see the Frequently Asked Questions About Disabled Person Placards/License Plates provided by the Texas Department of Transportation.

* To obtain a Disabled Person Placard or License Plates, customers must apply in the County in which they reside.

Q.  What should I do if my license plates are damaged or stolen?
  You can obtain replacement plates at the Hays County Tax Office. If your plates are damaged or you are only missing one plate, please turn in the remaining license plate(s) to the Tax Office for proper disposal and recycling. Please also bring with you your current registration receipt. You will be required to fill out a replacement affidavit, and there will be a $7.00 fee.

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Q.  How do I replace a windshield validation sticker?
  You can obtain a replacement windshield validation sticker at the Hays County Tax Office. Please bring with you your current registration receipt.  There will be a $7.00 fee.

Q.  Is insurance required to purchase a one-trip or 30-day permit?
  Yes, insurance must be on the vehicle the permit is for. Also, payment must be in cash, cashier's check or money order.

Q.  What does "Registration Purposes Only" mean? What are the circumstances for this type of transaction?
  "Registration Purposes Only" means that the vehicle is registered, but not titled, in Texas. This type of ownership document may be requested when a vehicle that was registered or titled in another state is subject to registration in Texas but the owner or operator cannot or does not wish to surrender the negotiable out-of-state evidence of ownership in order to obtain a Texas negotiable title.

Q.  How do I obtain personalized license plates or other special plates?
  You may obtain an Application for Personalized License Plates from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. There is a charge in addition to the regular registration fee. The amount charged for personalized and special plates varies according to the type ordered. In some cases, the applicant must meet eligibility requirements before applying for special plates. Follow the instructions on the forms. See the Special License Plates Listing for pictures of the specialty plates that are available in Texas. Some special plates are available at the Hays County Tax Office.

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Vehicle Title Questions

Q.  I lost my title. How do I get a duplicate?
  Applicants for a Certified Copy of title may be the owner of record, lienholder, or verifiable agent of either. Whether the application is submitted by mail or walk-in, all applicants must provide:

  • A properly completed Application for Certified Copy of Title (Form VTR-34), which is available at all VTR Regional Offices, county tax assessor-collectors offices, and on VTR’s Fax on Demand at 1-888-232-7033.
  • The appropriate fee:  $2.00 for mail-in applications and $5.45 for walk-in applications. (If mailed, the fee should be in the form of a check, cashier’s check, or money order made payable to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.) Please do not mail cash.
  • Photo ID (State or US-issued photo ID, such as Texas or other state driver’s license, government identification card, U.S. Passport, or military identification) of the person signing the Form VTR-34.
  • If mailing by overnight or express mail through a mail service which requires a physical address, mail to the VTR Regional Office nearest you, using the appropriate street address on the back of the Form VTR-34.
  • Verifiable Agent of Owner or Lienholder (Mail-in or Walk-in)

In addition to the requirements above, a verified agent of the owner or lienholder must also provide a letter of signature authority on original letterhead, or a business card, or copy of the agent’s employee ID.

If the Form VTR-34 is signed with a Power of Attorney (POA), the transaction must have, in addition to the requirements above:
    Photo ID of recorded owner/lienholder signing the POA.
    Photo ID of individual signing the Form VTR-34.

NOTE: Businesses given POA will also be required to provide a letter of signature authority on original letterhead, business card, or a copy of employee ID.

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Q.  I just bought/sold a car. How do I transfer the title?
  The seller must write the purchaser's name and address, the odometer reading and date of sale in the title assignment. Purchaser and seller must each sign both the title and the title application form (Form 130-U). Both signed documents must be given to the purchaser, along with the registration receipt. The purchaser must then go to any Hays County Tax Office location and file the title application. Proof of current insurance will be required.If the vehicle was last registered in a non-affected (attainment) county, proof of emissions-testing will be required. Please see Emissions-testing regulations. The fee is $33, plus motor-vehicle sales tax (6.25 percent). There is also a $2.50 transfer of a current registration fee. If the license is not current, there may be a registration fee. When you purchase a vehicle from a licensed Texas dealer located in Hays County, the dealer is required to complete all the paperwork necessary to title and register the vehicle in your name. The dealer is also required to file the documents with the Hays County Tax Office within 20 business days of the date you purchased the vehicle.

Q.  I've bought a vehicle and I have liability insurance on another car. What document can I use to show proof of financial responsibility when I transfer title and registration?
  The personal automobile policy for any other vehicle an individual owns provides 30-day coverage after an additional vehicle has been acquired. Therefore, a copy of the personal automobile insurance policy or the card issued for the policy is acceptable as proof of financial responsibility.

Q.  I applied for a title and neither my lien holder nor I have received it yet.
  Customers should receive their titles within three weeks from the date the application was filed. Contact the Hays County Tax Office and ask to have the record checked.

Q.  Why does the state show a lien on my car if I paid it off?
  This occurs if you have not advised the State of Texas that your lien has been satisfied. To remove the lien information, fill out a Title Application Form (130-U). Submit the application, title and a release of lien to the Hays County Tax Office. The fee for this service is $33.00. The State of Texas will mail a title to you that does not show a lien.

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 Q.  What is required to correct an error in the odometer reading after the title has been issued?
  A statement of fact will be required. This statement must address the discrepancy and must be acknowledged by both the seller and the buyer involved in the transaction in which the error was made.

 Q.  If my odometer reading is not available, what am I required to enter on the Odometer Disclosure Statement?
  The Odometer Disclosure Statement should contain an explanation from the seller as to why a mileage reading is not available. If there is a reading of any sort displayed on the odometer, this reading must be disclosed, and an indication as to whether the mileage is actual, not actual, or exceeds mechanical limits must be made.

 Q.  I sold my vehicle several months ago, but the registration and title have not been changed to reflect the new owner's name and address. I'm getting notices about parking tickets involving that vehicle and the registration renewal notice has also come to me. What can I do?
  It is likely the new owner has not transferred title into his or her name. Contact the Hays County Tax Office or VTR Regional Office and fill out the Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification (Form VTR-346). Or write a letter to: Texas Department of Transportation, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division, Attention: Customer Information Services Branch, Austin, TX 78779-0001. Your letter must provide the vehicle description (year, make, vehicle identification number), date of sale, and purchaser's name and address. Upon receipt of the form or letter, the State will place a notation on the motor vehicle record stating that the vehicle has been transferred.

Q.  How do I sell a vehicle that is registered and titled in a former spouse's or a deceased spouse's name?
  If the divorce decree awards the vehicle to you, provide the Hays County Tax Office with a certified copy of the decree and apply for title. If the decree does not award the vehicle to you, a properly assigned title will be required. In the case of a deceased spouse, the ownership will be determined based on whether there is a will, trust, etc. Contact the Hays County Tax Office or a VTR Regional Office for help.

Q.  My title was issued incorrectly. What should I do?
Contact the Hays County Tax Office and we'll help you resolve the problem.

Q.  Can a certificate of title be issued to a vehicle which is displaying $6.30 Machinery License Plates?
  No. Vehicles issued the $6.30 distinguishing Machinery License Plate cannot be titled under the Certificate of Title Act.

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Q.  How do I register and title a rebuilt/salvage vehicle?
  For information about rebuilt and salvage vehicles, contact our office at (512) 393-5545.

Q.  How do I turn a Salvage Document into a blue negotiable Texas title?
  If a salvaged vehicle for which a salvage document has been issued is repaired and placed in operable condition by a purchaser of such salvaged vehicle, the person or firm who purchased and repaired the vehicle (Texas licensed salvage dealers excepted) must apply for title and registration in their name. The following must support the application for title: 

  • Salvage Document
  • Form 61- Rebuilt Affidavit
  • A $65 Rebuilt fee.
  • Odometer statement (If applicable)

If the vehicle for which the salvage certificate has been issued has a non-conforming USA VIN, proof of compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation safety regulations is required.

In any case when a negotiable title is issued and a Salvage Document is in evidence, the negotiable title will contain a notation to indicate that the vehicle was previously damaged. "Flood Damaged" will be shown, when applicable, or “Rebuilt Salvage” will be shown. These notations are carried permanently in the master title records and will appear on all subsequent titles. Valid proof of financial responsibility, covering the described vehicle, in the applicant’s name.

Q.  What information is required, and who is authorized to execute a Statement of Fact should one be required to correct an error on a title assignment?
  The statement must certify to the correct information and must include a description of the vehicle identification number and the date the statement was executed. Only the seller is authorized to execute the Statement of Fact. However, if the Statement of Fact is required for the odometer disclosure portion of the assignment, in addition to the seller's signature, the buyer must also acknowledge the statement.

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Q.  Why am I required to provide certain documentation to change a vehicle title to my name?
  The title law protects ownership rights for more than 15 million vehicles in Texas. Therefore, the statutes require transfer of ownership by proper execution of certain ownership documents. When these specific documents are incomplete or unavailable, Texas statutes require that the applicant apply for a Tax Collector's hearing or bonded title.

 Q.  What is a bonded title and what is it used for?
  A bonded title is a notation on a title document, as well as on the motor vehicle records, which indicates that a Certificate of Title Surety Bond has been surrendered in support of the application for title. The bond is issued in the title applicant's name, for a three-year period. The notation (bonded title) is renewed for another three-year period. The bond is required by statute in cases where proper ownership documents are unavailable. Purpose of a bonded title is to protect previous and future owners of the vehicle, as well as lien holders, from potential claims.

 
Q.  How do I title a new manufactured trailer?  
 A trailer must weigh at least 4001 pounds to be titled. You will need:

  • Manufactured Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • Form 130-U Application for Texas Certificate of Title
  • May need weight certificate if weight is not indicated on MCO

Q.  How do I register a homemade / shopmade trailer that does not meet the title requirements?
  You will need:

  • Form VTR-305-A - Statement of Fact for Ownership of Homemade/Shopmade Trailer
  • Form 130-U Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Required even if not titled)
  • Weight Certificate

Q.  How do I title a homemade / shopmade trailer that is 4001 pounds or more?
  You will need:

  • Form VTR-305-A - Statement of Fact for Ownership of Homemade/Shopmade Trailer
  • Form 130-U Application for Texas Certificate of Title
  • Weight Certificate
  • Form 68-A - Application for Assigned or Reassigned Vehicle Identification Number

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Q.  What documents do I need to transfer an out of state titled trailer?
  You will need: 

  • Negotiable Out of State Title
  • Form 130-U Application for Texas Certificate of Title
  • May need weight certificate if weight is not indicated on title
  • VI-30-A Certificate of Inspection

Q.  How much sales tax would I owe if I am gifted a vehicle?
  The sales tax on a gifted vehicle is $10.00.  Beginning September 1, 2009 a vehicle can only be gifted from one family member to another. (A family member is defined as a grandparent, grandchild, child, stepchild, sibling, guardian, or decedent estate.)

Q.  Do I need any extra forms if I am gifted a vehicle?
  Yes, a notarized statement between both interested parties must be completed explaining the nature of the transaction and the relationship between both parties. Form 14-317 is now available on the Texas Comptroller's website http://www.window.state.tx.us/.

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License/Registration Questions

Q.  How do I renew my registration by mail?
  Follow the instructions on the renewal notice. Send the renewal notice, registration fee and all requested information to the Hays County Tax Office. Add an additional $1 for the processing and mailing fee. Include a photocopy of your current insurance card to show proof of financial responsibility. Please make your check payable to Luanne Caraway. Our mailing address is 712 S. Stagecoach Trail, San Marcos, Texas 78666. You may also renew online, at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Q.  I registered my vehicle in August. Why does the registration expire in July?
  A vehicle registration period is for 12 consecutive months or any portion thereof. Registration for vehicles registered during August will expire on July 31.

Q.  Why does it cost less to register my new pickup truck than it does my older car?
  State law makes the fee structure for passenger vehicles different from that of trucks. Passenger vehicle registration is determined by the manufacturer's model year. The annual license fee for trucks is $25 plus an amount based on the empty weight of the vehicle and its net carrying capacity.

Q.  Which types of vehicles may be used on the highway without having to be registered?
  The following vehicles may be operated upon the highway without registration:

  • A farm trailer or farm semi-trailer used in farming operations that does not exceed 4,000 pounds gross weight
  • A farm tractor used in a farming operation and not "for hire" and
  • Implements of husbandry (those devices used to till the soil and harvest crops)

Q.  I'm going out of town for vacation, and my registration will expire while I am gone. May I renew it in advance?
  Yes. You can renew you registration up to two months prior to your expiration month.

Q.  I just moved to Texas. How do I register my vehicle?
  Before it can be registered, your vehicle must pass a State of Texas vehicle safety inspection and a visual verification of the vehicle identification number. These services are available at state-approved Safety Inspection Stations.
The inspection facility will provide you with a Vehicle Identification Certificate (Form VI-30-A). You must submit this form to the Hays County Tax Office along with an Application for Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U) and an out-of-state title or out-of-state registration. A new resident fee of $90, or a sales tax fee of 6.25% of the vehicle’s purchase price will be charged. Title and registration fees are due at the time the application for title is made. You may do this in person at any Hays County Tax Office or by mail. Proof of liability insurance is required in Texas in order for these services to be provided (please read more info in next question).

Q.  Will my proof of insurance from out-of-state be acceptable to cover a vehicle required to be registered in Texas? If so, should approval be based on the minimum amounts of coverage required in Texas?
  Proof of liability insurance coverage from out-of state insurance companies is acceptable. If you have out-of-state insurance, you will need to bring the policy when registering the vehicle. The policy must be for at least the minimum limits prescribed by Texas law.  Insurance from a "no fault" State is not acceptable as proof of liability.

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 Q.  For how long may a new Texas resident operate his or her vehicle in this state while displaying current out-of-state license plates?
  He or she can operate the vehicle for a period of thirty days after establishing residence or entering gainful employment, after which time the vehicle must be registered in Texas.

 Q.  I have not received my registration renewal notice. What do I do?
  Your vehicle registration can be renewed at any of the Hays County Tax Office locations, by using your license receipt from the previous year, the title, or the license plate number along with proof of insurance and identification. The Hays County Tax Office is able to verify your registration, electronically, either by using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or your license plate number. The Department of Transportation can also mail you another renewal notice, depending on the amount of time remaining before your registration expires. Just call the Hays County Tax Office (512) 393-5545 and we'll help you correct the problem. You can also renew your registration online at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Q.  I moved to another location within Texas. How can I be sure that my registration renewal notice will get to me when the time comes? 
Your mail will be forwarded if you filed a Change of Address Form with the U.S. Postal Service. However, the registration record will not be updated in the State's system. Contact this office or one of the VTR Regional Offices and fill out the Notice of Address Change for Texas Motor Vehicle Registration (Form VTR-146). Or, write a letter to: Texas Department of Transportation, Vehicle Titles and Registration Division, Attention: Customer Information Services Branch, Austin, TX 78779-0001. They will take the information you have provided and update your vehicle registration record accordingly. You must provide the description of each vehicle you own. You may also call their Customer Help Desk at 512-465-7611, TDD 512-302-2110.

Q.  I did not receive my renewal notice and my registration has expired. Why am I being forced to pay a 20% penalty?
  The 20% penalty is required by law if a vehicle is driven on public highways with expired registration after the five-day grace period and you were issued a ticket by law enforcement.

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Q.  Can a vehicle be operated after its registration expires?
  Yes. A vehicle may be operated for five County working days after its registration expires without penalty.

Q.  What if I haven't driven the vehicle since my registration expired. Do I still pay the 20% penalty?
  You do not have to pay a penalty as long as you have not been ticketed for driving your vehicle with expired registration. You will pay for 12 months registration from the time you purchase your registration.

Q.  What documents do I need to provide to renew my vehicle registration at the County Tax Office?

  • Registration Renewal Application Form 39A or vehicle information such as license plate number and Vehicle Identification Number
  • Proof Of Insurance

Q.  Can I send someone else to renew my vehicle registration?
  Yes, please be sure that the person you assign bring the following documents: 

  •  Registration Renewal Application Form 39A or vehicle information such as license plate number and Vehicle Identification Number
  • Proof Of Insurance
  • Authorization Letter - Form MV-454. The form must be filled out completely


Q.  What documents do I need to provide to renew my vehicle registration at a participating grocery store? 

  • Must have a current Renewal Application Form 39A
  • Proof Of Insurance

Q.  If my registration renewal receipt indicates "New Plates Required" do I have to go to the Tax Office to renew?
  If your renewal notice indicates "New Plates Required" you may renew online, by mail or at any one of our Hays County Tax Office locations.

If renewing online or by mail, we will return your new plates along with the registration sticker by return mail. No extra fees or forms required when obtaining new plates when mandatory.

Please note that you cannot renew your registration at any of our participating grocery stores if new plates are required.

Q.  Can I purchase a registration sticker for more than one year
  Yes. You can purchase a 23-month registration sticker at any of our Tax Office locations.

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BEER AND WINE INFORMATION

Q. Where is the Tax Assessor-Collector's office located?
The Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector's office is located at: 712 S. Stagecoach Trail, San Marcos, Texas 78666.  For additional directions call (512) 393-5545.
  

Q. How much are beer, wine and liquor permits and licenses?
The fees will vary according to the class or type of beer, wine or liquor permits and licenses required. For information on fees, please contact the Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector office at (512) 393-5545.

Q. How do you obtain an application for a permit or license?
To apply for a permit or license for Hays County locations contact either of the local Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) office:

San Marcos Outpost - Compliance, Enforcement and Licensing Personnel
Hays County Courthouse (Historical)
111 E. San Antonio St., Suite 100
San Marcos, TX 78666
(512) 393-7744
Fax: (512) 392-7260
8:30 am - 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm Monday - Friday

Austin Regional Office - Compliance, Enforcement and Licensing Personnel
Chevy Chase I
7700 Chevy Chase Drive, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78752
(512) 451-0231
Fax: (512) 451-0240
8:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Friday

Q. How can we get information on wet and dry areas of the County?
Contact the Hays County Clerk's Office at (512) 393-7330.