It's time to file your homestead exemption
In Texas everyone gets one homestead exemption for their primary residence that reduces your property tax bill by removing part of your home's value from taxation. The homestead exemption does a couple of key things for you:
(1) It keeps your taxes from increasing more than 10% in any given year, and
(2) You may get a tax break, often around 15%, depending on what government services you receive at your address.
Only your principal residence qualifies for the exemption.
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
In order to claim your homestead exemption, you will need to complete the paperwork for the county where you live and provide evidence that you live in your home. The forms for filing your homestead exemption can be found at the links below. Just fill out the forms as directed and file them, along with the required documentation, with the appraisal district of the appropriate county by the corresponding deadline. Generally, the forms for this year must be filed no later than April 30th.
For your convenience, here are the links for the Austin-area counties:
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Be prepared to provide evidence that you live in your home, such as providing copies of your driver's license or vehicle registration. Remember, the address on the documentation must match the home address you are seeking to exempt.
Because the amount of the tax exemption can be significant, I recommend you verify that your application was received and processed. To that end, be sure to keep any electronic or written receipts.
CHANGES IN THE PROCESS
It used to be that you had to wait until the following year to qualify for the homestead exemption (which is why I'm sending this to you in January). But starting January 1, 2022 you can file your homestead exemption in the year when you actually purchase the property instead of waiting to the following year. That equates to tax savings sooner, so keep that in mind if you purchase a new homestead this year.
Beyond the homestead exemption, there are additional exemptions for our disabled veterans, persons over age 65, those with disabilities, and the surviving spouse of a first responder or member of the armed services killed in the course of duty. You can learn more about those exemptions here.
Please let us know if we can be of any help as you work through the homestead exemption process. And while I'm on the subject of taxes, let us know if you need a copy of your closing statement to include with your tax return.
Wishing you all the best for a safe and healthy 2022.
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