If you are a homeowner you know that property taxes are an unavoidable, and for some a highly costly, part of home ownership. However, a homestead exemption can potentially help you save thousands by lowering your tax bill on your primary residence. To learn more about what it is and how to qualify, we sat down with Lance Loken of The Loken Group to ask him everything you need to know about homestead exemptions.
What is a homestead exemption?
Homestead Exemption removes part of your home’s value from taxation. For instance, if your home is appraised at $100,000 and you qualify for a $20,000 exemption, you would pay taxes as if your home was only worth $80,000.
What type of homestead exemptions are available?
Exemptions are available for school taxes and county taxes, as well as for those disabled, 65 years or older, or 100% disabled veterans.
What if I bought a home in the last year with an existing homestead exemption?
If the home has only a general homestead exemption on it, the exemption normally stays in place for that entire tax year. The final taxes for the year will reflect the exemption. The new owner will have to qualify for the exemption by filing an application in his or her own name for the following year. You should file for your regular residential homestead exemption application between January 1 and April 30.
What are the requirements to apply for a homestead exemption?
You must own your home, as well as occupy your home, as your principle residence on January 1 of the year for which you are requesting exemption (can include up to 20 acres if the land is owned by the homeowner and used as a yard or for another purpose related to the residential use of the homestead. If you miss the April 30 application deadline for a general exemption, you can still apply up to one year after the date taxes became delinquent for the year (usually February 1 of the year following the tax year).
What do I need to apply?
To apply, you must complete your county’s application for homestead exemption, as well as provide a copy of your driver’s license or state-issued personal identification certificate.
Below are some helpful resources about how to apply for homestead exemption for those who live in the Greater Houston Area.
Filing in Brazoria County
Filing in Chambers County
Filing in Fort Bend County
Filing in Galveston County
Filing in Harris County
Harris County residents can now file Homestead Exemption through a mobile app for iPhone and Android:
Click here to learn more about the Harris County app.
Filing in Liberty County
Filing in Montgomery County
Filing in Waller County
Homestead Exemption FAQs (resource from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)