You may apply for homestead exemptions on your principal residence. Homestead exemptions remove part of your home's value from taxation, so they lower your taxes.
For example, your home is appraised at $300,000, and you qualify for a $40,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $260,000. Taxing units have the option to offer an additional exemption of up to 20 percent of the total value.
No, only a homeowner's principal residence qualifies. To qualify, a home must meet the definition of a residence homestead: The home's owner must be an individual (for example: not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as his or her principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year. An age 65 or older or disabled exemption is effective as of Jan. 1 of the tax year the applicant qualifies for the homestead and applies to the entire tax year.
A residence homestead can be a separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it. A residence homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.
There are several types of exemptions you may receive.
For the $40,000 general residence homestead exemption, you may submit an Application for Residential Homestead Exemption (PDF) and supporting documentation, with the appraisal district where the property is located. Once you receive the exemption, you do not need to reapply unless the chief appraiser sends you a new application. In that case, you must file the new application. If you should move or your qualification ends, you must inform the appraisal district in writing before the next May 1st. A list of appraisal district addresses and phone numbers is available online.
The completed application and required documentation are due no later than April 30 of the tax year for which you are applying. A late residence homestead exemption application, however, may be filed up to two years after the delinquency date, which is usually Feb. 1.
If you temporarily move away from your home, you may continue to receive the exemption if you do not establish a principal residence elsewhere, you intend to return to the home, and you are away less than two years. You may continue to receive the exemption if you do not occupy the residence for more than two years only if you are in military service serving inside or outside of the United States or live in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity or aging.
If you are not the sole owner of the property to which the residence homestead exemption applies, one of these ownership situations may apply.
For example, if you own a 50 percent interest in a residence homestead, you will receive only one-half, or $20,000, of a $40,000 residence homestead offered by a school district.
Contact your local appraisal district for more information regarding your eligibility.