Wednesday, February 6, 2019 / by Holly Northup
The New Year is a time for new beginnings, opportunities, resolutions and if you're a new homeowner, the homestead exemption. While the homestead exemption is unknown and not understood by many, it is something a homeowner should have a basic understanding of. What is a homestead exemption? And, why should it matter to you? We've got all the answers you need here:
To put it simply, the homestead exemption allows a homeowner to remove a portion of value from their property, therefore lowering their property taxes. While it may seem like this should be automatic, it is not in the state of Texas. Here, residents must file the exemption with their local county tax appraisal office – either in-person, by mail or online. However, once the exemption has been submitted and approved, it remains on the property until the property is sold or you take up primary residence at another property.
A tax break comes with certain requirements. What requirements do you need to fulfill in order to qualify? First and foremost, the property must be your primary residence – the address needs to match the one on your driver’s license. You cannot claim the homestead exemption on any additional properties you own – just the property you occupy. In Texas, you can also claim the portion of land, not to exceed 20 acres, you maintain for residential purposes. Second, you must have bought the home before January 1st of the current tax year. For example, if you purchased a home in December 2017, you are eligible to apply for the homestead exemption this year. But, if you didn’t purchase your home until January 3, 2018, you are not eligible to file until the next tax year. Does that make sense? If not, please feel free to contact our team – we would be happy to take a look at your situation.
Why should you take the time to file? Simple: filing is FREE and it reduces your property taxes. It's a benefit you enjoy as a homeowner – take advantage of it!
The homestead exemption is filed by county. For those of you living in the greater Austin area, here are the online resources for Williamson and Travis County.
One more thing. Make sure to file your homestead exemption between January 1st and April 30th of the tax year.
Do you have any questions about filing a homestead exemption in the state of Texas? Give our team a call. We would be more than happy to help you in any way we can.