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Make sure you file your Homestead Exemption!!
With the increasing property values it is more important than ever to have your homestead exemption filed. In the past years we have seen the homestead exemption save people several hundred dollars, but right now we have seen it save some clients thousands per year!
Why such a change? In the state of Texas the homestead exemption will cap out your property tax increase each year by 10%. Right now we are seeing gains all over the state and in some places up to 30%. This means that you could save thousands by having the exemption filed. Don’t procrastinate on this!
To qualify, you must own and reside in your home on January 1 of the year application is made and cannot claim a homestead exemption on any other property. If you temporarily move away from your home, you still can qualify for this exemption, if you do not establish another principal residence and you intend to return in less than two years. You may exceed the two year limit if you are in military service serving outside of the United States or live in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity or aging. Applications cannot be filed before the date you qualify for the exemption.
Here is the official state wording on the homestead limitation for Texas:
Sec. 23.23. Limitation on Appraised Value of Residence Homestead.
(a) Notwithstanding the requirements of Section 25.18 and regardless of whether the appraisal office has appraised the property and determined the market value of the property for the tax year, an appraisal office may increase the appraised value of a residence homestead for a tax year to an amount not to exceed the lesser of:
(1) the market value of the property for the most recent tax year that the market value was determined by the appraisal office; or (2) the sum of:
(A) 10 percent of the appraised value of the property for the preceding tax year;
(B) the appraised value of the property for the preceding tax year; and
(C) the market value of all new improvements to the property.
(b) When appraising a residence homestead, the chief appraiser shall:
(1) appraise the property at its market value; and
(2) include in the appraisal records both the market value of the property and the amount computed under Subsection (a)(2).
(c) The limitation provided by Subsection (a) takes effect as to a residence homestead on January 1 of the tax year following the first tax year the owner qualifies the property for an exemption under Section 11.13. The limitation expires on January 1 of the first tax year that neither the owner of the property when the limitation took effect nor the owner’s spouse or surviving spouse qualifies for an exemption under Section 11.13.
(d) This section does not apply to property appraised under Subchapter C, D, E, F, or G.
(e) In this section, ‘‘new improvement’’ means an improvement to a residence homestead made after the most recent appraisal of the property that increases the market value of the property and the value of which is not included in the appraised value of the property for the preceding tax year. The term does not include repairs to or ordinary maintenance of an existing structure or the grounds or another feature of the property.
(f) Notwithstanding Subsections (a) and (e) and except as provided by Subdivision (2), an improvement to property that would otherwise constitute a new improvement is not treated as a new improvement if the improvement is a replacement structure for a structure that was rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage. For purposes of appraising the property under Subsection (a) in the tax year in which the structure would have constituted a new improvement:
(1) the appraised value the property would have had in the preceding tax year if the casualty or damage had not occurred is considered to be the appraised value of the property for that year, regardless of whether that appraised value exceeds the actual appraised value of the property for that year as limited by Subsection (a); and
(2) the replacement structure is considered to be a new improvement only if:
(A) the square footage of the replacement structure exceeds that of the replaced structure as that structure existed before the casualty or damage occurred; or
(B) the exterior of the replacement structure is of higher quality construction and composition than that of the replaced structure.
Over 65 Exemption
In addition to the homestead exemption is if you are 65 or older there is an "Over 65" exemption that will freeze your property tax value.
There are also some great Veteran exemptions. If you have any sort of disability you can save significantly. If you are a Veteran that is 100% disabled you are exempt from paying property tax in Texas. We appreciate all that have served our great country.