Homestead Exemptions2021-12-03T21:58:41-06:00

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS

A homestead exemption is a legal provision that can help you pay less taxes on your home. If you own and occupy your home as of January 1st of the year, you may be eligible for the general residential homestead exemption. Exemptions are also available for disabled veterans, seniors over the age of 65, people with qualifying disabilities, and some surviving spouses.

If you have any questions about exemptions or need help completing your application, please contact our new Exemption Helpline during normal business hours at (512) 873-1560.

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Exemption applications can be submitted by mail, online, or at our office:

850 East Anderson Lane
Austin, TX 78752

Action on your application will occur four to six weeks from the date it is received. In the event that you do not qualify, you will be notified and offered an opportunity to protest this decision.

To learn more about a homestead exemption, click an item below:

A general residential homestead exemption is available to taxpayers who own and reside at a property as of January 1st of the year. To apply for this exemption, taxpayers must submit a completed application along with a driver’s license or state-issued personal ID certificate that has the same address as the property they are applying for the exemption on.

An over 65 exemption is available to property owners the year they become 65 years old. By state law, this exemption is $25,000 for school districts. Other taxing units may adopt this exemption and determine its amount. This exemption also limits the amount of school taxes you will pay every year to the amount you paid the first or second year you qualified (whichever is lower). This limitation is known as a tax ceiling or tax freeze. So, if you turn 65 this year and qualify for this exemption, your school taxes will not increase above the tax ceiling as long as you do not add any improvements such as a garage or pool to your home. If you do add improvements to your home, the tax ceiling can increase. Tax ceilings are mandatory for school districts, however a county, city, or junior college may also limit taxes for individuals with this exemption if the governing body adopts a tax ceiling. Click here for a list of tax entities and the exemptions they have adopted.

If you are an over 65 homeowner and purchase or move into a different home in Texas, you may also transfer the same percentage of tax paid to a new qualified homestead. This is known as a ceiling transfer (Request to Cancel/Port Exemptions). It is possible to transfer your tax ceiling for county, city, or junior college taxes if they have adopted a tax ceiling and you move to another home within the same taxing unit.

If a homeowner claiming this exemption passes away and their spouse is 55 or older and continues to own the home, the spouse can continue to hold the exemptions and tax ceiling on the property.

To apply for this exemption, individuals must submit an application and proof of age. Acceptable proof includes a copy of the front side of your Texas driver’s license or Texas identification card. Surviving spouses must provide proof of age of the survivor and proof of death of the deceased spouse.

Any person who meets the Social Security Administration’s standards for disability may be eligible for a special homestead exemption, even if they are not receiving disability benefits. This means that a person has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents them from engaging in any substantial gainful activity and the impairment is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death. A person who receives disability benefits under the Federal Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Program could qualify.

Similar to the exemption available for people over 65, an exemption for a person with disabilities provides for a tax ceiling for school taxes. If you receive this exemption and purchase or move into a different home in Texas, you may also transfer the same percentage of tax paid to a new qualified homestead. This is known as a ceiling transfer (Request to Cancel/Port Exemptions). It is possible to transfer your tax ceiling for county, city, or junior college taxes if they have adopted a tax ceiling and you move to another home within the same taxing unit.

If a homeowner claiming this exemption passes away and their spouse is 55 or older and continues to own the home, the spouse can continue to hold the exemptions and tax ceiling on the property.

To apply, you must submit an application and include documentation of your disability. Documents can include a current copy of your disability determination issued by the Social Security Administration or a statement from your physician verifying your permanent disability. Your physician may use the Physician’s Statement Form available through TCAD. If submitting a Physician’s Statement, an applicant must also provide a copy of a recently filed federal income tax return and corresponding W2s.

A disabled veteran who receives 100% disability compensation due to a service connected disability and a rating of 100% disabled or of individual unemployability from the Department of Veterans Affairs can receive an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of the veteran’s qualifying residence homestead. To apply, individuals must submit an application and current documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Surviving spouses of veterans who qualified for the 100% Disabled Veteran Exemption or who would have qualified for it at the time of their death are eligible if the surviving spouse has not remarried, the property was the surviving spouse’s residence homestead at the time of the veteran’s death, and the property remains the surviving spouse’s qualifying residence homestead. To apply, individuals must submit an application and supporting documentation.

Texas law provides partial exemptions for property owned by veterans who are disabled. The exemption amount is determined by the percentage of service-connected disability. To qualify, you must be a veteran, a Texas resident, and be classified as disabled with a service connected disability of 10% or more by your service branch or the Veterans Administration. The amount of the exemption may vary from $5,000 to $12,000 depending on documentation from the VA. A disabled veteran who is 65 years of age or older, is blind in one or both eyes, or has lost the use of one or both limbs, may qualify for the maximum exemption of $12,000 regardless of the disability percentage awarded by the Veterans Administration. To apply, individuals must submit an application and documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs indicating the percent of disability awarded.

A surviving spouse may qualify for this exemption if they are a Texas resident and have not remarried.

Texas law provides partial exemptions for property owned by veterans who are disabled and who own and occupy homes that have been donated by a charitable organization. The exemption amount is determined by the percentage of service-connected disability. To qualify, you must be a veteran, a Texas resident, and be classified as disabled with a service connected disability of 10% or more by your service branch or the Veterans Administration. To apply, individuals must submit an application and documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs indicating the percent of disability awarded.

A surviving spouse may qualify for this exemption if they are a Texas resident and have not remarried.

The surviving spouse of a member of the U.S. armed services who is killed in action is allowed a 100% property tax exemption on a residence homestead if they have not remarried. To apply, individuals must submit an application, a Report of Casualty, and a copy of your marriage license.

The surviving spouse of a first responder killed in the line of duty is eligible for a 100% property tax exemption on a residence homestead if they have not remarried. To apply, individuals must submit an application, documentation that the spouse was killed in the line of duty, and a copy of your marriage license.

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FORMS

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I own a property and have a homestead exemption. I also own another property with someone else. Can that person qualify for a homestead exemption on the other property?2020-11-24T20:44:30-06:00

The property you own with another person may qualify for a prorated homestead exemption based on the other person’s ownership in the property and if he/she does not have another property with a homestead exemption. You will not qualify because you already have a homestead exemption for your primary residence.

Other than a homestead exemption, what other exemptions might I be able to qualify for?2021-05-03T12:28:19-05:00

While the homestead exemption requires you to own and occupy on January 1 to qualify, the following exemptions do not. You must own and occupy your property at some point in the tax year you are applying for to obtain the following exemptions on a qualified residence:

  • Over 65: You may apply at any time during the year you turn 65 years of age
  • Disabled Person: You must be unable to engage in gainful work due to disability or age 55 years or older, blind, and unable to engage in your previous work because of blindness
  • 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead: You must be rated 100% disabled or paid 100% compensation due to service connected disability
How much does it cost to file for a homestead exemption?2020-11-20T15:03:16-06:00

There is no fee to file and you do not have to hire anyone to file for you.  It is not necessary for homeowners to pay anyone to file for a homestead exemption or to obtain a refund for the late filing of a homestead or senior citizen exemption.

How many acres can I claim as my homestead?2021-01-08T12:12:27-06:00

State law allows you to claim the portion of your land that you maintain for residential purposes, but this amount may not exceed 20 acres. Generally, one acre or less is maintained for homestead purposes.

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