Wednesday, January 19, 2022 / by Kathryn Jones
It's that time of year to start thinking about taxes once more. Tax season may not be your favorite time of year, but for homeowners who purchased a home in Texas the previous year, it might provide some pretty sweet benefits.
Every homeowner has the chance to apply for the Residential Homestead Exemption from January 1st to April 30th of the tax year. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions about filing an exemption, as well as all the tools you'll need to get started right away!
What Is a Homestead Exemption?
The Homestead Exemption is essentially a property tax exemption that homeowners can claim on their primary dwelling. It lowers your taxes by exempting a portion of your home's worth from taxation. If your home is valued at $300,000 and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption, for example, you will pay taxes on it as if it were only worth $275,000.
The only property that qualifies for the Homestead Exemption is your primary residence. It can be a house, condo, or manufactured home, as long as you live in it and own it. A homestead exemption can also include up to 20 acres of land if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a residential purpose, such as a yard.
What are the benefits?
In Texas, the homestead exemption helps homeowners in several ways:
- It reduces the homeowner's property tax bill by removing part of the home's assessed value from taxation.
- It provides protection of your homestead from creditors
- It limits how much the appraisal district can raise your appraised value each year. (This is a big deed in a rising market). The valuation they levy taxes on cannot go up more than 10% in a year on your homestead.
Who Qualifies for an Exemption?
Any homeowner in Texas can qualify for a homestead exemption if they meet the following requirements:
- As of January 1 of the tax year, you own your home and live there as your principal residence.
- You are not a corporation or a business entity; you are an individual homeowner.
- You did not claim a homestead exemption on any other property in the same tax year.
- You may only claim one property in Texas at a time as a homestead.
How To Apply For a Homestead Exemption?
You may now apply as soon as you close on your home, which is new for 2022 and the result of legislative action for the State of Texas. Prior to 2022, a homeowner had to wait until the following year to apply.
To enable time for your county appraisal district to process your homestead exemption application before your yearly tax statement is mailed, submit it by April 30. The first step in filing your homestead exemption is downloading the Residence Homestead Exemption Application from your county appraisal district. To make this easy for you we’ve compiled links and contact information for the surrounding Austin Area appraisal districts:
- Williamson County | 512-930-3787
- Travis County | 512-834-9138
- Hays County | 512-268-2522
- Burnet County | 512-756-8291
Once you’ve completed your Residence Homestead Exemption Application, the next step is to mail it, along with all required documents, to your county appraisal district. Aside from your Residence Homestead Exemption Application (Form 50-114) for your county appraisal district, you’ll also need to provide a copy of your valid Texas driver’s license or identification card with an address matching your homestead address.
If you own a manufactured home, you’ll also need to provide one of the following:
- A copy of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs statement of ownership.
- A copy of the sales purchase agreement, other applicable contract or agreement or payment receipt.
- A sworn affidavit (Form 50-114-A) indicating that you are the owner of the manufactured home and the seller did not provide you with the applicable contract or agreement.
If you bought a home outside of Texas, you may want to find out if there is a similar exemption for which you would qualify.
After taking in all the information above you may think it’s too complicated to apply for Homestead Exemption. That’s where the Russ Phillips Team comes in! With understanding of the process and deadlines, you can save thousands of dollars in property taxes. Do you need help filing for your homestead exemption? Contact our team of realty experts today and let us take care of this for you!
Since 2003, The Russ Phillips Team has been one of the top Georgetown and Austin realty firms. You may be familiar with our President, Russ Phillips (yes, the one in the cowboy hat!) Russ and our team are committed to being your trusted advisor in your real estate search, and our straightforward, low-key approach has led to real estate industry recognition including acknowledgment as a Texas Monthly Five Star Realtor, being named a Top 10 Realtor by the Austin Business Journal, and being in the Platinum Top 50 Realtors of Austin each year since 2011. We were also named the #1 Realtor in Williamson County in 2016 and again in 2018.
With that being said, let our team of experienced and knowledgeable real estate experts not only help you with your property tax needs, but help you buy or sell a new home in 2022. Not looking to move or make a new investment this year, but know someone who is? Referrals are greatly appreciated as they help us share the good word of The Russ Phillips Team! Head here to share your referral with us and you’ll be entered into our quarterly raffle (once the contract is created) to win some amazing prizes! PS: This quarter's raffle is a $500 plane voucher!