Did you buy a house in 2019? Homestead Exemption will save you money

If you purchased a new residence in 2019, you might qualify for the Residence Homestead exemption. If your mailing address matches the location address of the new Residence (you already changed your address on your driver license) you will receive a letter with important information regarding the tax savings and the application requirements for this exemption. But, please be very careful, as there are many scams mailing out letters with the form 50-114 and charging $45 to file it! 

There is no cost to apply for a homestead exemption and you can do it online or even use an app in certain counties, including Harris. There is no fee and you do not need to pay a third party to obtain your homestead exemption. Complete the form and include a copy of your driver’s license or state-issued identification to confirm the address. Citizenship is not a requirement.

A homestead exemption form can be downloaded at https://comptroller.texas.gov/forms/50-114.pdf

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 property from 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.

In order to qualify for the Texas homestead exemption, the homeowner must own and occupy the property as their principal residence by January 1 of the year in which they are applying for the exemption.

It also stipulates that neither the homeowner nor their spouse can already have claimed a residence homestead exemption on any other property.

For the property itself to qualify for a homestead exemption, it must be owned by an individual and not by a company or business.

Required Documents:

1. Fill out the application specific to your county appraisal district, then mail all of the documents to the appraisal district for your county. 

2. Download Residential Homestead Exemption Application for your county. 

3. 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 1 st  of the tax year to offer this exemption. 
  • Optional over 65/Disabled: Any taxing unit may offer an additional exemption amount for above tax

It is also important to note that if a Texas homeowner temporarily moves away from their home, that they can still qualify for the homestead exemption, as long as they don’t establish another principal residence, and intend on returning to the property within two years.

For more information on homestead exemptions in Texas, please visit the Texas Comptroller’s Office website at: https://comptroller.texas.gov/  or contact your local county’s appraisal district.


Information sources:

Homestead exemptions offer many benefits to qualified homeowners, by Patrick O’Connor. Published Monday, May 15, 2017. Link: https://www.chron.com/news/article/Homestead-exemptions-offer-many-benefits-to-11146658.php
How to Apply for a Homestead Exemption in the State of Texas, by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, March 1st, 2018. Link: https://www.bhhstxrealty.com/blog/how-to-apply-for-a-homestead-exemption.html
What newcomers need to know about Texas homestead exemptions, by Michelle Sandlin, March 10, 2017.   Link: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/On-the-move-What-newcomers-need-to-know-about-10992190.php#photo-10225298 

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Post Category: Home Buying, Property Taxes, General

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