Texas property taxes are used to support the community by paying for police and emergency response services, road construction and improvements, school, public libraries, parks, and other amenities provided by the local government. While Texas doesn’t collect state income tax, the state has one of the highest property tax rates in the country.
Fortunately, there are property tax exemptions available to Texas residents that can greatly reduce what you are required to pay.
If you are a homeowner, it’s important to know what property tax exemptions are available so that you don’t end up paying more than you should. Below we have included information on common property tax breaks in Texas and how to apply for them.
- Types of homestead exemptions
- How to apply for Texas property tax exemptions
- Deadline to file for an exemption
Homestead Property Tax Exemption
A homestead property tax exemption provides a tax break for eligible homeowners, decreasing property value so that the property tax is lower than it would be without the exemption.
For example, if a tax assessor has determined that your home is valued at $300,000, and you have received a homestead exemption of 25%, you would pay property taxes as if your home was valued at $225,000.
Percentages vary according to the exemption amounts allowed by your county, city, or local government.
Who is Eligible for a Homestead Exemption?
You may qualify for a homestead property tax exemption if you have ownership of the property and the property is your primary residence. In addition, a homestead may include up to 20 acres of land.
Homestead property tax exemptions do not apply to second homes, vacation homes, or commercial properties.
What Types of Homestead Exemptions are Available?
There are a few different types of homestead exemptions available, and depending on your specific circumstances, you may be eligible for more than one:
- General Residence Homestead
- Ages 65 or Older and Disabled
- Disabled Veterans
- Surviving Spouses
Below are the homestead exemptions that are available for personal property and information on how to apply for a homestead exemption in Texas.
General Residence Homestead
You may be eligible for a general residence homestead exemption of $40,000 if you own or partially own your home, the home is your primary residence, and you have a Texas driver’s license or personal identification certificate with an address that matches the address of the property.
If you’re eligible for the general residence homestead exemption, you may also be eligible for other exemptions if you meet certain requirements. There are additional exemptions for seniors who are 65 or older or disabled, disabled veterans, and surviving spouses.
Ages 65 or Older or Disabled
In addition to the $40,000 exemption for homeowners, seniors or disabled homeowners qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes. If you are a senior who is disabled, you won’t be eligible to receive separate exemptions for being a senior and for being disabled.
This over-65 property tax exemption is retroactive to January 1, so your exemption applies to the entire year during which you turn 65. You may also transfer your exemption to a different residence at any time if you decide to move, even if your new residence doesn’t have a current homestead exemption in place.
With this exemption, when you turn 65, your school taxes will be frozen so the amount will stay the same as it is during the year that you turn 65. If you purchase a new home, your school taxes will be frozen at a percentage of whatever the current taxes are when you purchase your home.
You are also eligible for this exemption if you qualify to receive disability benefits administered by the Social Security Administration. You can apply for this exemption the year that you qualify for the disability. The appraisal district may require documentation to prove your eligibility.
Seniors age 65 and older and those who are disabled have several options available for their homestead property tax exemptions. These include:
- You may defer all property taxes until you no longer own and occupy your property.
- You may pay taxes for the current year in four installments instead of paying the entire amount by January 31.
- You may abate tax lien collection activity until you no longer own and occupy your home.
If you are a homeowner who is a disabled veteran with a service-related disability, you may be eligible for an additional homestead exemption.
To receive this exemption, you must be classified as disabled according to your branch of the military or the Veterans Administration. The exemption amount varies according to a sliding scale that reflects your disability rating. For example, a veteran who is 10%-29% disabled would receive a $5,000 property tax reduction, and a veteran who is 100% disabled would be exempt from all property taxes.
If you are the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, first responder, or member of the armed forces who was killed in the line of duty, you may be eligible for an additional exemption.
Other Types of Exemptions
In addition to homestead exemptions, you may qualify for other exemptions depending on where you live.
Exemptions for County Taxes
If your county collects a special tax for flood control or farm-to-market roads, you may be eligible to receive a $3,000 exemption to help offset the amount of this tax.
Optional Percentage Exemptions
A taxing entity, such as a county, city, district, or school, may provide an additional percentage exemption. These taxing entities set their own percentages, but these exemptions may be up to 20% of your home’s value, and they must be a minimum of $5,000.
Solar and Wind-Powered Energy Device Exemption
You may be eligible for a tax exemption if you have a solar or wind-powered device on your property. To find out if you are eligible, you will need to submit an application to your county appraisal district, and the chief appraiser will decide if your property meets the guidelines that allow for an exemption.
How to Apply for Property Tax Exemptions in Texas
To apply for a Texas property tax exemption, submit a completed Residence Homestead Exemption Application (Form 50-114) and supporting documents to your county’s appraisal district office. Note that the residence homestead exemption application is specific to homestead exemptions.
The information you will provide on the homestead exemption form includes:
- Your contact information, address, and property information
- The type of exemption you are requesting
- A copy of your drivers’ license, personal identification certificate, or social security card or a waiver for this requirement if applicable
- A list of any other properties that you own
- Your signature
The requirements for applying for a homestead exemption vary from county to county, so you may want to work with a property tax consultant who knows the requirements for the application process in your county. NTPTS has property tax consultants who specialize in homestead exemptions and can work on your behalf to help you lower your taxes.
You may file your homestead exemption application between January 1 and April 30 of the tax year when you are requesting an exemption. The application deadline is April 30. Seniors age 65 and older, those who are disabled, and partially disabled veterans with donated homesteads must file their applications for exemptions no later than the first anniversary of the date of eligibility.
For more information and specific instructions on filing your homestead exemption application, visit your county’s tax appraisal website.
Do You Qualify for a Property Tax Exemption?
If you are a homeowner, don’t pay more than you should for your property taxes. Contact NTPTS to see if you qualify for a homestead property tax exemption, which can reduce your taxes. We can assist you with special tax exemptions from appraised property values, and we can help you with your property tax appeal if you think your Texas property taxes are too high.