With April right around the corner, most of us are focused on our income taxes and maximizing deductions, but there’s another deadline approaching that could save you a significant amount of money on property taxes. It’s the Texas Homestead Exemption, and the deadline for filing is April 30th. Here’s what you need to know so you don’t miss out:
Homestead Exemption 101
The Homestead Exemption is tax relief for homeowners. It reduces the assessed value of a primary residence for tax purposes only. Every homeowner (who resides in their home) can have the taxable value of their home reduced by $25,000 or more in some cases. There are additional exemptions for senior citizens and disabled individuals depending on the school district.
Ultimately, the goal of the Homestead Exemption is to make housing more affordable. This is also why property taxes are based on assessed value, so tax rates don’t increase due to market value fluctuations.
Who Qualifies for this Exemption?
There are four things that must occur for you to be eligible for the homestead exemption:
1. Live in the home as primary residence
2. Own the home
3. Driver’s license matches address of the home qualifying
4. Owned home on January 1st of year applying
This means you can only apply for a homestead exemption on one home (even if the other home is in another state). The property must also be less than 20 acres. The Homestead Exemption applies to the owners of multiple types of residences including manufactured homes and condominiums.
How to Apply for the Texas Homestead Exemption
It is fairly easy to apply for a Homestead Exemption, but beware of scammers. If someone offers to fill out your application for a fee, don’t do it. It is very easy to fill out the form on your own.
The form for Travis County is available at this link. It must be submitted to the Appraisal District Office by the deadline. If the exemption is granted, it automatically renews each year, so you don’t have to reapply. It should take a total of 15-20 minutes in most cases.
Saving money on your property taxes is easy with the Texas Homestead Exemption. All it takes is filling out a simple form and submitting it. Once you are granted the exemption, it continues for as many years as you own the home. It is 100% worth the minimal time and effort it takes to save money on your property taxes.