During the home buying process you may hear the term “Homestead Exemption” used. Many don’t understand what this important exemption is and if it’s something they should apply for.
Simply put, a homestead exemption, protects the value of your home from property taxes, creditors and puts a protection in place in the event a spouse should die. This protection, however, doesn’t apply with mortgage liens, mechanic liens or unpaid taxes.
The exemption removes a portion of the value of your home from taxation – for example in Travis county 20% of your homes value is removed from taxation. So if the county appraises the tax value of your home at $200,000 then they would exempt 20% of that and only tax you on $160,000
So how do you apply? First this is a ONE time application process on your primary residence. You do not have to apply each year and you do not get to apply on investment properties or second homes. Each county provides their own form – I have put a few counties as reference at the end of this post. You fill it the form and send it in to your appraisal office by the deadline – April 30th.
And the cost? Free! Do not fall for scams that say they will do this for you for a fee, there is no guarantee it will get done properly or at all, but there is a guarantee you have just sent someone your money.
Do you have to be a new home owner to get this exemption? No. Maybe you purchased your home or received it as part of an inheritance and no one explained this exemption to you, you can apply at any time.
If you purchased your home recently please know, the exemption on that home has lapsed and was issued under the previous owners, as the new owner you must apply for your own exemption.
Other exemptions worth noting are; the over 65 exemption, disabled, veterans, and agricultural exemption.
Exemption Forms for Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties
Forms are due by April 30.
Travis County Homestead Exemption Form
Williamson County Homestead Exemption Form
Hays County Homestead Exemption Form http://www.hayscad.com/PA/forms/homestead.pdf
For additional details on these exemptions and information on property taxes, how to protest your taxes and your rights visit http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/