School Tax Ceiling Certificate
Disabled Homeowner May Transfer Tax Limitation
Effective January 1, 2004, House Bill (H.B.) 217 amends Tax Code Section 11.26 to provide for the school tax ceiling for disabled homeowners and for their right to transfer to another homestead the same benefit of that tax ceiling. H.B. 217 also provides for their surviving spouse age 55 or older to retain their school tax ceiling and to transfer the benefit of that ceiling to a different qualified homestead.
This gives disabled homeowners and their surviving spouses age 55 or older the same rights currently available to homeowners age 65 or older.
Setting school tax ceiling
The law change addresses tax year 2004 forward. There is no refund of any school taxes for prior tax years.
If the homeowner qualified as disabled prior to January 1, 2003, then the owner is considered to have first qualified for the exemption on January 1, 2003. The amount of the 2003 school taxes will establish the disabled homeowner’s tax ceiling amount. In 2004, school taxes could not exceed the 2003 tax amount (but may be less).
Porting school tax ceiling
If the homeowner has qualified the former homestead for a disabled school exemption for a tax year beginning on or after January 1, 2003, then the disabled homeowner may transfer the tax limitation to another homestead.
Transferring the homeowner’s school tax ceiling to a different home gives the same school tax benefit to the homeowner, not the same tax ceiling. A school tax ceiling on a new home would be calculated to give the homeowner the same percentage of school tax paid as the original home’s tax ceiling.
For example, a qualified homeowner had a school tax ceiling of $800 but would pay $1,000 without a tax ceiling on the homestead. The percentage paid by the homeowner was 80 percent ($800 divided by $1,000, times 100). If the homeowner moved to a new home, the owner will pay 80 percent of the school tax bill on the new home. If the new home’s school taxes were $2,000, then the owner would have a tax ceiling of $1,600 ($2,000 times 80 percent).
If a homeowner had a school tax ceiling of $0 on the old home, the percentage of tax paid is 0 percent, so the owner would have a tax ceiling of $0 (school taxes times 0 percent) on the new homestead.
To transfer the school tax ceiling, the qualified homeowner may request a certificate from the chief appraiser in the last appraisal district in which the homeowner received the tax ceiling. The homeowner presents the transfer certificate to the chief appraiser in the district where the new home is located, when the owner applies for homestead exemptions on the new home.
Remember that Tax Code Section 11.13(h) states that a person may not receive an exemption for more than one residence homestead in the same year.
The Comptroller's Property Tax Division has changed the School Tax Ceiling Certificate for Over-65 or Surviving Spouse Over-55 to reflect the new law. The Comptroller’s prescribed Form 50-272 was retitled and includes a place for the chief appraiser to indicate if the homeowner qualified as a disabled homeowner or as a surviving spouse age 55 or older.
The remainder of the school tax ceiling certificate remained the same as previous years.
For more information about this certificate, contact the Comptroller’s Property Tax Division, Technical Assistance, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-252-9121. In Austin, call 512/305-9999. It is available on the Web at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxforms/02-forms.html.