In Texas, when you buy a home, you are able to claim the home as your “homestead” and get a nice tax benefit! To meet the qualifications as a homestead and claim the exemption, the home’s owner must be an individual or a couple. The Homestead Exemption does not apply to corporations or businesses that buy a property. Also, the owner must use the home as their principal residence on January 1 of the tax year.
Homestead exemptions remove part of your home’s value from taxation, so they lower your taxes. For example, your home is appraised at $200,000, and with the Homestead Exemption, you qualify for an exemption for school districts. So, you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth less than the $200,000. Also, taxing units have the option to offer a separate exemption of up to 20 percent of the total value. For example, the county may offer an exemption for Farm To Market roads or flood control. Those over 65 or disabled qualify for additional exemptions.
If you bought a home during 2018, you can apply for your Homestead Exemption after January in 2019. Use the Texas Residence Homestead Exemption Application to apply. After completing the form, it should be turned into the County Tax Assessor’s office. Once you have the Homestead Exemption in place for your home, it is not necessary to reapply annually. However, if you should move out of your home, turn it into a rental, or another such change, you do need to notify the tax office of this change.