Save Money with a Homestead Exemption in Texas

TAGS: TipsMortgage Costs

No one loves paying taxes, especially more than they have to. But did you know that if your home is your primary residence, you may qualify for a reduction in the property taxes you’re required to pay? These tax savings are made possible when you file for a Texas Homestead Exemption.

What is a Homestead Exemption?

In Texas, the homestead exemption allows you to reduce the amount of property taxes you pay on the house you live in. While the amounts vary, here are the basic kind of savings you can expect:

  • General homestead exemption: In Texas, the general homestead exemption available to most qualifying homeowners is worth $25,000. That means that a home valued at $175,000 will only be taxed on $150,000 of that value.
  • Over 65 or disabled exemption: Those who qualify for this additional exemption receive another $10,000 exemption on their taxable value. In this case, the house above is now taxed on just $140,000 of its value.
  • County tax exemption: Some counties collect special taxes for flood control. If yours is one of those, you can receive an additional $3,000 exemption.

Depending on the value of your home, those savings add up quickly. On that $175,000 home from our example above, we’re talking $450-$650 a year!

Who qualifies for a Homestead Exemption in Texas?

The Texas Comptroller’s office offers a very helpful list of frequently asked questions, but here are the basics to know whether you qualify:

  • You own your home as of January 1 of this year.
  • The home you’re filing on is your primary residence as of January 1.
  • You do not claim a homestead exemption on any other property.

There are other ways to qualify (disability or being over age 65) that do not come with the January 1 requirement. You can read more about those qualifications on the filing form.

How to File for a Homestead Exemption in Texas

The Wood Group of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation serves cities all around Texas. The filing process is similar, regardless of where you live.

First, download and complete a copy of the Application for Residential Homestead Exemption. The application is fairly straightforward with most people only needing a few pieces of information about themselves and the property to qualify for the general exemption. There are additional exemptions for disabled persons, surviving spouses of service members or first responders, and those over age 65. Refer to the application or your local tax appraisal district for help on those additional exemptions.

There is no fee to file.

Where to File for Your Exemption

When you’ve finished the application, take it to your local tax appraisal office with a copy of your driver’s license showing the address of the home. If you live in a county where one of our offices are located, we’ve collected some helpful contact info below.

And the best news is that you don’t have to reapply each year! Sometimes, the local tax appraiser may request a new application. But most times, your single filing is good for the duration of the time you spend in your new home. But don’t delay! Homestead exemptions must be filed by April 30, or you’ll be required to wait another year to get those savings.

Remember, these are just guidelines and examples to get you started. Your tax savings could be higher than our example above since each circumstance is different. If you have questions about your specific situation, contact your local tax appraiser.