For many Texans, a home is often one of the largest purchases they will ever make in their lifetime. It is through a homestead exemption, that the State of Texas offers citizens an easy way to save money on their property taxes. Texas homeowners must meet certain requirements to be eligible for a homestead exemption. By filing for a homestead exemption, eligible homeowners can reduce the taxes owed on their home by a certain percentage or dollar amount. Homestead exemptions in Texas go all the way back to 1839 as a way to prevent families from losing their homes and land due to foreclosures after the 1837 depression. In order to preserve the integrity of the family, to provide the family with a home and to keep the family from becoming burdensome upon the public welfare, certain homestead protections became a part of the State constitution. In the residential context, the homestead is owned and occupied as the home and is protected from forced sale for general debts.
Only certain types of liens are valid against the homestead.
A general homestead exemption lowers taxes for homeowners. An exemption removes part of the value of a property from taxation and lowers the homeowner’s taxable base.
For example: If a home is worth $200,000 and qualifies for a $20,000 exemption, the homeowner would pay taxes on the home as if it were worth only $180,000.
Flat-rate exemptions are not allowed for cities in Texas but are allowed in some other states.
Today, filing a homestead exemption on your home can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your property taxes while affording homeowners certain protections!
What Is Required To Obtain A Homestead Exemption In Texas
We hope you will find our guide for Texas Homestead Exemptions helpful.
Are You Eligible For A Homestead Exemption?
Any homeowner who files an exemption on their primary residence that they were living in as of January 1st of the tax year when they are applying is eligible for a homestead exemption. There are special exceptions for anyone 65 years of age or older and disabled persons.
Apply For A Homestead Exemption?
All you need to file your Texas Homestead Exemption is an application from your county of residence, a photo ID and proof of residence. For most Texans, your proof of residence is your vehicle registration receipt showing the physical address of the property for which you’re applying the exemption. You can request your vehicle registration receipt from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. If you don’t have a registered vehicle, you may provide an affidavit stating non-ownership of a vehicle as well as a current utility bill showing the address of the property with your application.
How to Apply
- Complete the Application: You must file an application with your county of residence. If you are married, only list one person as the primary homeowner. If you are 65 years of age or older, or disabled, be sure to follow the special instructions detailed within the application. Click the links below to access the homestead exemption application for your county of residence:
Harris County Homestead Exemption Form
Fort Bend County Homestead Exemption Forms
Galveston County Homestead Exemption
Brazoria County Homestead Exemption
- Include Proof of Residency Documents: If you are married, make sure the documents match the information for the person listed as the primary owner on the application. Applicants who are 65 years of age or older or a disabled person may require additional documents to be included with their application.
- Submit the Application: You may mail, fax or hand deliver your application to the county appraisal district where your property is located. To find the address, phone number and fax number for your appraisal district on the Texas Comptrollers of Public Accounts . It’s free to apply and the deadline is April 30th.
Your Application Has Been Filed, Now What?
After you’ve submitted your application, it can take four to six weeks for any action to be taken. If your application is rejected, you will be notified and given the opportunity to challenge the decision. The amount of your exemption depends on a number of factors, including where your home is located and how much it is worth. All school districts in the state of Texas grant a reduction of $15,000 from your home’s value. Each homestead exemption situation is unique. If you have any questions regarding your situation, contact your county appraisal district’s office.
After your exemption is accepted, you don’t have to apply again the following tax year. A homestead exemption lasts as long as you live in that residence. If you move to a new home, the exemption on your old home expires and you will need to file a new homestead exemption for your new residence.
Should you have any questions about the Texas Homestead Exemption, please refer to the application for your county of residence or visit the Texas Comptrollers of Public Accounts website.
Surviving Spouse of A Member of U.S. Military
A surviving spouse of a member of the U.S. armed services killed in action is allowed a total property tax exemption on his or her residence homestead if the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the armed services member.