File Your Homestead Exemption!

Don’t forget to file your homestead exemption!  If you purchased a home in 2009 and have occupied it since Jan 1, 2010, then it’s time to file your homestead exemption.  Some of our clients are already receiving advertisements for companies offering to file this for them for a fee. However, it’s free to file and easy to do yourself.  All you need to do is go to the website for the tax assessor in the county where you live, download the form, fill it out, and send it in.  Some counties like Dallas for instance, may require you to have it notarized before sending it in.

If you have your taxes escrowed through your mortgage company, this exemption will save you on your monthly payment.  Otherwise, it will just save you money on your tax bill in 2010 and thereafter.  You only have to file for the exemption one time.  You do not have to do this every year.  The way that it works is the Homestead exemptions remove part of your home’s value for taxation purposes only, so they lower your taxes. For example, if your home is appraised at $100,000, and you qualify for a $15,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $85,000.

A homestead can be a house or a condo as long as you occupy it as your principal residence. Therefore, if you own multiple properties, you can still only have one homestead.  There are other exemptions available for the disabled, veterans, and persons over the age of 65, to name a few.  There may also be additional exemptions in your area.  For more detailed information on the Texas property tax exemptions click here. You can also visit the website for your county’s appraisal district for forms and instructions.  We have listed a few links to the websites for appraisal districts in and around  Austin and DFW.