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Homestead Exemptions in Texas

The following information about the Texas Residence Homestead Exemption was copied from the website of the Texas Comptroller, so if you have more questions about homestead exemptions in Texas, you can view a short video here or their website here

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What is a homestead?

A homestead is a place lived in and owned by a real person, not a company, and includes the following types of property:

  • A stand-alone building, or structure,
  • A condominium, or
  • A manufactured or mobile home.

 A couple of notes about homesteads…

  • A homestead can be located on owned or leased land, as long as the person that lives in the structure owns the structure.
  • A homestead can include up to 20 acres of land, if the land is owned by the homeowner and if the land is used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.

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What does the homestead exemption do?

Homestead exemptions give you as a homeowner three main benefits; they -

  • Generally prevent the force sale of a home to meet the demands of creditors. However, mortgages, mechanics liens, or property tax liens can still be used to foreclose on the property;
  • After the death of a primary homeowner, they provide the surviving spouse with shelter; and
  • Remove part of your home's value from taxation, so they lower your taxes.

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How do I get the homestead exemption?

In some states, homestead protection is automatic, but in Texas, homeowners receive the homestead exemption only if they file a claim for homestead exemption with the state.

You may file an Application for Residential Homestead Exemption with your appraisal district and qualify for a $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. If you move or your qualification ends, you must inform the appraisal district in writing before the next May 1st. 

A list of appraisal district addresses and phone numbers can be found online, and you can follow the links below to find the Application for Residential Homestead Exemption for the counties around the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex area:

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Do all homes qualify for homestead exemptions?

No, only a homeowner's principal residence qualifies. To qualify, the homeowner must use the home as his or her principal residence on January 1 of the tax year. You may apply for an age 65 or older or disabled exemption, if you meet one of those criteria, and the exemption will be effective as of January 1 of the tax year and will apply to the entire tax year.

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May I continue to receive the residence homestead exemption on my home if I move away temporarily?

If you temporarily move away from your home, you may continue to receive the exemption if you do not establish a principal residence elsewhere, you intend to return to the home, and you are away less than two years. You may continue to receive the exemption if you do not occupy the residence for more than two years only if you are in military service serving inside or outside of the United States or live in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity or aging.

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If I own only 50 percent of the home I live in, do I qualify for the residence homestead exemption on the home?

Yes. However, if you qualify for a homestead exemption and are not the sole owner of the property to which the homestead exemption applies, the exemption you receive is based on the interest you own. For example, if you own a 50 percent interest in a homestead, you will receive only one-half, or $12,500, of a $25,000 homestead offered by a school district.

However, if a married person qualifies his or her property for homestead, that person and their spouse are each considered 100% owners of the property under community property laws and both qualify for the full homestead exemption.

Because inherited property is considered sole and separate property, if someone inherits property and qualifies that property as their residence homestead, that person is considered the only recipient of any homestead exemption.

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Do I, as a homeowner, get a tax break from property taxes?

You may apply for homestead exemptions on your principal residence. Homestead exemptions remove part of your home's value from taxation, so they lower your taxes.

For example, 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, like counties, have the option to offer a separate exemption of up to 20 percent of the total value.

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What homestead exemptions are available?

There are several types of exemptions you may receive.

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.

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What is the deadline for filing for a homestead exemption?

You may file for any homestead exemption up to two years after the delinquency date for any taxes due on the property you are claiming as homestead. The delinquency date is normally Feb. 1st. However, you must own your home, and reside there as your principal residence, on January 1 of the year for which you are applying, and you must not be claiming any other property as homestead.

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