How to File Your Homestead Exemption in Texas

By Papasan Properties | Homebuyer Resources

Apr 20

How to File a Homestead Exemption in Texas

What is a Homestead Exemption?

Homestead exemptions were created to help homeowners afford their annual property taxes. When filed, the exemption will remove part of the value of your principal residence from the home’s total value, therefore reducing the amount of taxes owed. For example, if your home is appraised at $100,000, 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 $75,000. Taxing units have the option to offer a separate exemption of up to 20 percent of the total value.

What is a Homestead?

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. A homestead 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.

Do All Homes Qualify?

No, only a homeowner’s principal residence qualifies. To qualify, a home must meet the definition of a residence homestead: The home’s owner must be an individual (for example: not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as his or her principal residence on January 1 of the tax year. If you are age 65 or older, or disabled, the January 1 ownership and residency are not required for the age 65 or disabled homestead exemption.

What Types of Exemptions are Available?

  • 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. If the county grants an optional exemption for homeowners age 65 or older or disabled, the owners will receive only the local-option exemption.
  • 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. If the owner qualifies for both the $10,000 exemption for age 65 or older homeowners and the $10,000 exemption for disabled homeowners, the owner must choose one or the other for school taxes. The owner cannot receive both exemptions.
  • 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.

How Do I Get a General $25,000 Homestead Exemption?

You may file an Application for Residential Homestead Exemption (PDF) with your appraisal district for the $25,000 homestead exemption up to two years after the taxes on the homestead are due. 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. If you should move or your qualification ends, you must inform the appraisal district in writing before the next May 1st.

When to File?

You can file for the exemption on January 1st of the year following the home purchase up until April 30th.

Where to Find the Exemption Documentation for your County:

Greater Houston

  • Harris County
    Mailing Address: 13013 Northwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77040-6305
  • Fort Bend County
    Mailing Address: 2801 B F Terry Blvd, Rosenberg, Texas 77471

Greater Dallas

  • Dallas County
    Mailing Address: 2949 North Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas 75247
  • Collin County
    Mailing Address: 250 Eldorado Parkway, McKinney, Texas 75069-8023
  • Denton County
    Mailing Address: P.O. Box 2186, Denton, Texas 76202-2816
  • Rockwall County
    Mailing Address: 841 Justin Road, Rockwall, Texas 75087-4842
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