Time to File for Property Tax Exemptions
C.C. Becker Property Tax Consulting L.L.C. 2/17/2020
By Chris Becker, President/CEO
This article will focus on Homestead Exemptions in Texas but many other states offer similar exemptions and the filing deadlines are similar. If you believe you qualify for a property tax exemption, you should contact your local tax assessor or consult with a property tax professional.
In Texas, now is the time of year to file an application for new property tax exemptions such as homestead, veteran’s disability, surviving spouse of elderly, military veterans or first responders, etc. Generally, the filing period is between January 1st and April 30th in the year in which you qualify. Below is a partial list of the types of the most common Homestead Exemptions and general information for each. The assessor does not charge a filing fee for these applications and will assist you with your application. Also the application and instructions can be found on many appraisal district websites, or on the Texas Comptrollers web site.
Keep in mind that the Texas Property Tax Code specifies the amount of each exemption with a minimum or “state mandated” amount that you receive if you qualify for the exemption. However, many taxing jurisdictions can add additional exemption amounts on top of the state mandated amounts. The amounts listed here are only the state mandated amounts. Also, there are many variables depending on the type of home (traditional construction or mobile home etc.) and there is not enough space here to cover all of them. The bottom line is that if you own a home you probably qualify for a homestead exemption. Even if you are temporarily away from your home due to health issues, or military service, you may still qualify. The exemption amounts discussed below are applied to the taxable value of your property and the taxes are calculated after the value reduction.
To qualify for a residence homestead exemption, you must own the residence on January 1st of the year in which you are applying, and you may not be claiming a homestead on another property. Also, unless you are in the military, the address on your driver’s license should match the street address of the residence. Generally, the completed application and required documentation is due no later than April 30 of the year for which the exemption is requested. The state mandated exemption amount for a county is $3,000 and for a school district is $25,000. Over-65 and disabled persons can receive an additional $10,000 for a school district. Under certain circumstances, a “Qualifying Trust” can receive the exemption. There are special provisions for Disabled veterans or their surviving spouse, and first responders or their surviving spouse under tax code section 11.431. The following is an excerpt from the Texas Property Tax Code:
The following is an excerpt from the Texas Property Tax Code:
Sec. 11.431. Late Application for Homestead Exemption.
(a) The chief appraiser shall accept and approve or deny an application for a residence homestead exemption, including an exemption under Section 11.131 or 11.132 for the residence homestead of a disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, an exemption under Section 11.133 for the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed in action, or an exemption under Section 11.134 for the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty, after the deadline for filing it has passed if it is filed not later than two years after the delinquency date for the taxes on the homestead.
Owners of a residence are entitled to an additional $10,000 exemption for school tax as stated above. Many other jurisdictions such as city, county etc. offer additional amounts as well, that are not state mandated. Unless the Appraisal District has your birth date on file you will need to file a new application for the Over-65 exemption. Also, if you are a surviving spouse who was receiving the exemption you should also qualify. I always suggest that a homeowner check to make sure the exemption has been granted. You can call the appraisal district office in your county or drop by the office to inquire.
There are several types of disability exemptions, with different requirements. Generally, if you are receiving disability payments from social security, the military, or as a first responder, you may qualify for a disability exemption. Also, if you are a surviving spouse who was receiving the exemption you should also qualify, or if your spouse was killed in the line of duty, you may qualify. These exemptions can be significant so be sure and check with your local appraisal district to see if you qualify. You may need to provide documentation of the disability.
As you can see, there are several types of exemptions that can save you significant money, so it is important to check to make sure you are credited for any that you qualify for. Exemption amounts should be listed on your tax statement but be sure and check with your local appraisal district to ensure you are receiving all that you are entitled to. Most appraisal districts have a professional staff that is ready to help you with any questions you may have.
At C.C Becker Property Tax Consulting L.L.C., if you are a client we will assist you in filing your exemption application at no charge, and we will monitor your values and exemptions annually to make sure you are not paying more than your fair share of taxes. Our goal is to save you money, time, and the aggravation of navigating an often complicated and frustrating property tax system. Even if you are not a client and need help or have a question, feel free to email me and I will do anything I can to help you. As Always till next time, go visit our website, and reach out if you need me. We have multiple ways to contact me from there too.