Can a homestead exemption help lower property taxes in Texas?
A homestead exemption removes part of the value of your home from taxation. Without an exemption, you pay taxes based on the value of your home, but with a homestead exemption it lowers the taxable value to the assessed value, then you pay taxes on the lower amount.
There are several kinds of exemptions:
As a Texas homeowner, you most likely qualify for a homestead exemption to lower your property tax bill. Homestead exemptions are simple to apply for. We are going to give you details on how the Texas Homestead Tax Exemption works and where you can apply for it.
- Homestead Exemption
- Disabled Individual Exemption
- Agricultural Land Exemption
- Disabled Veteran Exemption
- Over 65 Exemption
New Homestead Exemption Law Benefits Some Residential Purchasers
Before a recent change in the Texas Tax Code, some homebuyers were not eligible for a property-tax homestead exemption until January 1 of the year following their home purchase. This caused those homebuyers to lose out on any benefit of the homestead exemption for up to a year after purchase. For example, if on January 2, 2020, a person purchased a home that did not have an existing homestead exemption, that person was not eligible to benefit from a homestead exemption until 2021.
Who Benefits from the Change in the Law?
A change in the law that became effective January 1, 2022, allows all homebuyers to be eligible to receive the homestead exemption beginning on the date they obtain ownership. Homebuyers who purchase a property that does not already have a homestead exemption can apply for the exemption immediately. This includes homebuyers of new construction, properties that were owned by investors, and properties for which the seller had removed the homestead exemption.
What is the Deadline to Apply for an Exemption?
A new homeowner must apply for the exemption for the applicable portion of the tax year before the first anniversary of the date the person acquired the property. There is no longer a requirement of applying by April 30 as there was previously. (The April 30 deadline still applies for other types of exemptions.)
If the new owner qualifies to receive the exemption prior to January 1 of the following year, the taxing units will recalculate the amount of tax due and correct the tax roll. If the tax has already been paid, the excess amount will be refunded. The previous requirements for eligibility to receive the homestead exemption still apply.
What items do I need to have to apply for this exemption?
You will need your Texas driver’s license or state ID card. The property address on the exemption application must match the address listed on the applicant’s driver’s license. If you are a new homeowner, your appraisal district should send you a form, usually by the end of January.
What form do I need to complete?
You’ll need to file an Application for Residential Homestead Exemption for FREE with the county appraisal district. (See a list of counties below with links to download forms.)
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. 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, but be sure to revisit your exemption status if you become disabled or turn 65, as this can impact what exemptions you qualify for. 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.
Please feel free to contact us or your taxing authority with any questions!
Download your Texas Homestead application for your appropriate county by clicking the links listed below:
FORT BEND COUNTY: