You may be wondering, "What is a Homestead Exemption anyway and why does it matter to me?" Having a Homestead Exemption in place can save you a lot of money on your property taxes each year! It works by lowering the taxable value on your home. If you're wondering what is considered a "homestead", RealtyAustin.com recently wrote a great article on this topic. According to their post, "A homestead can be a separate structure, condominium, or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it. A homestead can include up to 20 acres if the land is owned by the homeowner and used as a yard or for another purpose related to the residential use of the homestead."
So, if you are a homeowner in Texas living in a property that you own, you are eligible to file for a Homestead Exemption. To file, the first thing you'll need to do is go to the tax appraisal website for the county your home is located in. Many counties offer online applications, although some still require paper applications. It is important to fill out the entire application and provide all the documents requested, otherwise your request will be denied. It may seem like a difficult process, but it will be worth all the money you will save on your property taxes each year! One of the documents you'll need is a copy of your driver's license. The address listed on your license must match the address of the homestead property.
There have also been some significant changes to the Homestead Exemption process. The RealtyAustin.com article lists the following:
"Williamson County increased property tax exemptions in May 2022. The exemptions for homeowners 65 and older or disabled increased to $125,000.
In May 2022, Williamson County also increased property tax exemptions for all homeowners to 5% of their homestead's assessed value (or a minimum of $5,000). Property owners have to apply for the exemptions for free through the Williamson Central Appraisal District.
In May 2022, Proposition 1, a measure that will help cut school district property taxes for homeowners who are 65 and older or disabled, passed. The change will further lower those homeowners property taxes (but not eliminate any property tax cap).
In May 2022, Proposition 2 passed, a measure that will raise the state’s homestead exemption for school districts from $25,000 to $40,000.
A new law took effect January 1, 2022, that enables homeowners to file a homestead exemption starting the date they begin living on the property, without having to wait until the next calendar year to file.
On June 29, 2021, Travis county voted to increase exemptions for seniors and disabled individuals for the fiscal year 2020, raising the exemptions of both from $85,500 to $100,000.
On November 3, 2015, Texas voters elected to increase the homestead exemption for school property tax from $15,000 to $25,000, saving homeowners an average of $125 per year.
As of September 1, 2013, applicants no longer need to show a copy of their vehicle registration receipt.
As of September 1, 2011, a Texas state law changed the requirements for proof of residency for homeowners applying for the property tax homestead exemption, making it required that home buyers update their address on their driver's license with the tax assessor/collector in their area in order to be able to provide the required documentation for the homestead exemption."
What Types of Homestead Exemptions Are Available?
Certain factors impact what you can qualify including age, veteran status, disability, or location.
School Taxes: All residence homestead owners may receive a Homestead Exemption for the school taxes of their home's value.
County Taxes: There can be different rules for different counties, so be sure to check your specific county's website for how county taxes affect your individual situation. There are certain situations, like if your county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, for example, a residence homestead owner may receive an exemption on these taxes. Counties can also offer an optional exemption for homeowners age 65 or older, or to those with a disability, can also be granted by the county in some instances.
Age 65 or Older and Disabled Exemptions: There can be additional exemptions provided for Individuals 65 and older and/or disabled residence homestead owners, like additional exemption on school taxes, for example. Depending on your situation, if you qualify for multiple exemptions, you may have to choose one or the other. It is important to check out your county's website to obtain information on how they handle exemptions, limitations, and special instructions for homeowners age 65 and over and homeowners with disabilities.
Optional Percentage Exemptions: Any taxing unit (city, county, school, or special district) may offer an exemption of a percentage of a home's value to taxpayers. Each taxing unit decides if it will offer the exemption and at what percentage, and the deadline for them to decide is July 1. This percentage exemption is above and beyond any other home exemption that the owner qualifies for.
Optional 65 or Older or Disabled Exemptions: Any taxing unit may offer additional exemption amounts to taxpayers that are disabled and or age 65 or older.
Disabled Veteran Homeowners: Disabled veteran homeowners may qualify for additional exemptions. To obtain more information about the exemptions, limitations, and special instructions for disabled veteran homeowners, check out the website here.
Remember, it is important to always check and verify all homestead information with your particular county or a tax professional. This post does not constitute legal advice.