What is a Homestead Exemption?
Homestead exemptions remove part of your principal home's value from taxation, so they lower your taxes. For example, your home is appraised at $100,000, and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $75,000. As a Texas homeowner, you're entitled to a homestead exemption on your principal residence as long as you were living in it as of January 1 of that year you are claiming the exemption. You may file for your homestead exemption on your principal residence between January 1 and April 30 of that same year, however, you may file for any homestead exemption up to two years after the delinquency date. The delinquency date is normally February 1st. Depending on the county your principal residence is in, you will need to
Furthermore, a homestead is defined 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 for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.
There are several types of exemptions you may receive.
School taxes: All residence homestead owners are allowed a $25,000 homestead exemption from their 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 is allowed to receive a $3,000 exemption for this tax. If the county grants an optional exemption for homeowners age 65 or older or disabled, the owners will receive only the local-option exemption.
Age 65 or older and disabled exemptions: Individuals age 65 or older or disabled residence homestead owners qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes, in addition to the $25,000 exemption for all homeowners. If the owner qualifies for both the $10,000 exemption for age 65 or older homeowners and the $10,000 exemption for disabled homeowners, the owner must choose one or the other for school taxes. The owner cannot receive both exemptions.
Optional percentage exemptions: Any taxing unit, including a city, county, school, or special district, may offer an exemption of up to 20 percent of a home's value. But, no matter what the percentage is, the amount of an optional exemption cannot be less than $5,000. Each taxing unit decides if it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other home exemption for which an owner qualifies. The taxing unit must decide before July 1 of the tax year to offer this exemption.
Optional age 65 or older or disabled exemptions: Any taxing unit may offer an additional exemption amount of at least $3,000 for taxpayers age 65 or older and/or disabled.
It doesn't cost anything to file and most counties allow you to file online, but you must file with the county your principal residence is located in. See below for direct links and for more information about Texas property taxes, visit the Texas Comptroller website.
For Travis County residents, go here.
For Williamson County residents, go here.
For Hays County residents, go here.