With the holiday season behind us, it's time to file your Texas homestead exemption. Filing your homestead exemption is a great way to kick off 2016, since you can significantly reduce the taxes on your home. We've assembled all the information you need to know to submit your homestead exemption request to the local appraisal district in your area. We've also provided several links to where you can access the homestead exemption tax form as well as any other required documents you may need. For even more information, check out our in-depth page all about the Texas Homestead Exemption. Keep reading below to find out how to apply and get answers to all your questions about filing your homestead exemption.
What is a Homestead Exemption? For those who are new to the process, a Texas Homestead Exemption reduces the taxes you owe on your home by lowering your home's taxable value. For example, Texas school districts offer a $25,000 tax exemption for qualified applicants, which means if your home appraises for $200,000 as of January 1st, the amount you pay in school taxes is based on $175,000 ($200,000 home value less the $25,000 school tax exemption). Other taxing authorities (e.g. county, city) may offer exemptions of up to 20% of your home's value, so filing for a homestead exemption is worth your while.
Who is eligible for a Homestead Exemption? Homestead Exemptions in Texas are granted to homeowners who apply for the exemption on the home they consider their primary residence. Homeowners must live in this residence as of January 1st of the year in which the exemption is requested. If you are 65 or older, or disabled, there are exceptions to this rule that are described in the application.
What is the Homestead Exemption Application process? Here's how to apply:
- Fill out the application for your county of residence:
- Travis County Homestead Exemption
- Hays County Homestead Exemption
- Williamson County Homestead Exemption
- Include the required proof of residency documentation (see NOTES below) required by the new law that went into effect in September of 2011.
- Submit the application to the county appraisal district where your property is located no later than April 30th of the year for which you are requesting the exemption. For Travis County residents, you can mail, fax (512-834-8651), or hand deliver the application and required documents. For questions, or to verify any of this information, call the Travis County Appraisal District at (512) 834-9138. There is no charge to submit the application.
IMPORTANT NOTES: The new proof of residency requirement is stated on the Texas Comptroller's website: "House Bill 252 requires a copy of the homeowner’s Texas driver’s license or state identification card and the homeowner’s vehicle registration receipt be sent with the homestead exemption application. If the homeowner does not own a vehicle they can send a current utility bill showing name and address, along with an affidavit provided in the application indicating non-ownership of a vehicle. The address on the documents must match the address for which the homestead exemption is requested." (Texas Comptroller) If you do not have a copy of your vehicle registration receipt, you can request one from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. For Travis County residents, call 512-854-9473 to request a copy over the phone and have it sent right away via email. You will need your license plate number when you call. The charge is $5 ($2 plus a $3 convenience fee) for a phone order. To request a copy via the mail, see the TxDMV Vehicle Registration FAQ page or visit your local TxDMV Regional Service Center. Please also note that additional information is required for those filing for the exemption on a manufactured home.
Do I have to reapply for the Texas Homestead Exemption each year? Once you are granted the exemption, you do not have to reapply for it annually unless the Appraisal District notifies you that a new application is required.
Disclaimer and Additional Information The information above is not to be considered tax advice, but is provided as a helpful reminder to our site visitors and clients. For the official rules and details on Texas Homestead Exemptions, see the Texas Homestead Exemption Application and visit the Texas Comptroller's website for additional information on Texas Homestead Exemptions.