Residence Homestead Exemption
Frequently Asked Questions
The 84th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 1. If voters approve SJR 1 in Nov. 2015, the mandatory residence homestead exemption for school districts will increase and the school district tax ceiling will decrease. School districts, cities and counties will be prohibited from repealing or reducing a local option percentage residence homestead exemption adopted for the 2014 tax year until 2020. This Web page will be updated with SJR 1 changes upon voter approval. A summary of these changes can be found on the Comptroller’s website.
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 $15,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $85,000. Taxing units have the option to offer a separate exemption of up to 20 percent of the total value.
Do all homes qualify for homestead exemptions?
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 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.
What homestead exemptions are available?
There are several types of exemptions you may receive.
School taxes: All residence homestead owners are allowed a $15,000 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 $15,000 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 $15,000 homestead exemption?
You may file an Application for Residential Homestead Exemption with your appraisal district for the $15,000 homestead exemption up to one year 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. A list of appraisal district addresses and phone numbers is available online.
What is the deadline for filing for a homestead exemption?
You may file for any homestead exemption up to one year after the delinquency date. The delinquency date is normally February 1st.
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.
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 $7,500, of a $15,000 homestead offered by a school district.