You may apply for homestead exemptions on your principal residence. Homestead exemptions remove part of your home’s value from taxation, so they lower your taxes.
For example, your home is appraised at $300,000, 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 $275,000.
Only a homeowner’s principal residence qualifies for homestead exemption. To qualify, a home must meet the definition of a residence homestead: the home’s owner must be an individual and use the home as his or her principal residence on January 1 of the tax year.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
To apply for the $25,000 general homestead exemption, you need to submit Form 50-114, Application for Residential Homestead Exemption (and supporting documents, if required) to the appraisal district where the property is located. Once you receive the exemption, you do not need to reapply unless the chief appraiser sends you a new application. In that case, you must file the new application.
The deadline for application is April 30 of the tax year for which you are applying. A late homestead exemption application, however, may be filed up to two years after the delinquency date.
If you temporarily move away from your home, you may continue to receive the exemption if you do not establish a principal residence elsewhere, you intend to return to the home, and you are away less than two years. You may continue to receive the exemption if you do not occupy the residence for more than two years only if you are in military service serving inside or outside of the United States or live in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity or aging.
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