Let me start by explaining what a homestead and a homestead exemption is.
A homestead can be a separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it, it can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.
A homestead exemption is when you remove part of the value of the property from taxation, so you lower your taxes.
If your home is worth $100,000 y and you qualify, you will get a $15,000 exemption meaning that you will only pay taxes on $85,000.
To qualify for the exemption the property should be in an individuals name (no corporations or business), it must be your primary residence by Jan 1st of the tax year (if you buy a home in July you must wait until the following year to claim it). If you are over 65 or disabled the Jan 1st deadline do not apply to you.
There are different kinds of Homestead exemptions, All residents may get a tax exemption from schools of $15,000 from the home’s value. The other exemptions depend on age (over 65), disability,100% disability for veterans,extension of exemption for a surviving spouse and exemption for manufactures (mobil) home. You must verify to see if you qualify for those.
As of September 1st 2011 a new rule came into effect, in order to qualify for any of the exemptions you must submit along with your application for homestead exemption, a valid Texas Drivers licensee (the address should be that of the property you are applying for) or a Texas state-issued identification card and a copy of their vehicle registration receipt. If you do not own a vehicle you must prove so and provide a utility bill with your name on it and the same address of course).
If you are married and have a homestead exemption on your home and you either get divorced or your hudband or wife passes you will need to submit a new homestead exemption form. If you don’t the county might come back and want you to pay 50% of that exemption. Do not leave it up to the County, do it.
If you have any questions please refer to the following links where you will find a more detailed explanation about each of the exemptions available and the form to submit them. Do not forget the deadline is April 30th.
To get the form: