As a first-time home buyer, it can be difficult and overwhelming trying to keep track of everything you need for tax season. A lot of home buyers (new and experienced) don't realize all of the ways they can save money on their taxes. Filing for a Homestead Exemption is easier than you think and it can save you hundreds!
What is a Homestead Exemption?
"A homestead exemption helps you save money on your home tax. An exemption removes part of the value of your propertyfrom taxation and lowers your taxes. For example, if your home is valued at $100,000 and you qualify for a $20,000 exemption, you pay taxes on your home as if it was worth only $80,000."
You must first qualify as a residence homestead on January 1st of the year in which you are applying
Deadline: January 1st – April 30th
You must own a home as well as occupy your home as your primary residence on January 1st of the year of which you are requesting an exemption.
Important Exemption Updates:
11/3/15 – voters elected to increase the Homestead Exemption for school property tax from $15,000 to $25,000
9/1/13 - applicants no longer need to show a copy of their vehicle registration receipt
9/1/11 - Texas state law changed the requirements for proof of residency. Homeowners are now required to update their address on their driver's license in order to be able to provide the required documentation for the Homestead Exemption.
First: Fill out the application specific to your county appraisal district, then mail all of the documents to the appraisal district for your county.
Download Residential Homestead Exemption Application for your county
Include a copy of your driver’s license or ID card
What Homestead Exemptions are available?
School Taxes: Owners may receive an exemption from home’s value for school taxes
County Taxes: If a county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, a residence homestead owner may receive an exemption. If county grants optional exemption for owners over 65 or disabled, owners will receive only the local-option exemption.
Over 65 or Disabled: Individuals over 65 and/or disabled owners may qualify for a Homestead Exemption for school taxes, in addition to the exemption for all homeowners. If owner qualifies for both exemptions (over 65 and disabled), owner must choose one or the other for school taxes
Optional Percentage Exemptions: Any taxing unit including a city, county, school, or special district may offer an exemption of a percentage of home’s value. Each taxing unit decides if it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. Percentage exemption is added to any other home exemption for which an owner qualifies. The taxing unit must decide before July 1st of the tax year to offer this exemption.
Optional over 65/Disabled: Any taxing unit may offer an additional exemption amount for above tax payers