Each spring a real estate rite of passage occurs for new home owners with purchases from the prior year; the filing of their residential homestead exemption. Filing your exemption should save you money so let’s look at some great questions my Austin-area clients often ask:
Question 1: Joe, Do I file for my homestead exemption every year?
My Answer: No, but you do need to file the exemption between January 1 and April 30th of the year after your home purchase (e.g. if you purchased your home in the summer of 2015 you would be filing your homestead in the spring of 2016).
In addition, once you receive a homestead exemption you don’t have to apply again unless the chief appraiser asks you to apply again or unless your qualifications change. If you move to a new home, you will have to fill out a new application.
The same homestead application is used for filing exemptions for being 65 years old or older or being a disabled person. Use Williamson County’s free new online homestead filing process or Travis County’s homestead application which specifies more details.
Question 2: How much will I save?
My Answer: Your savings will depend on your property value and the exemption percentage. A homestead exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and lowers your tax bill. In addition to the state mandated exemption amounts for school taxes, each taxing unit decides whether to offer the optional exemption and at what percentage.
For example, Travis County offers a 20% exemption for the Homestead exemption. If your property were valued at $200,000 and you qualify for the 20% Homestead exemption from the county ($40,000), you would pay county taxes on your home as if it were worth only $160,000. The amount of savings depends on the exemption and the amount of exemption allowed by each taxing unit.
Question 3: If I own more than one home, can I file a homestead exemption for each home?
My Answer: Sorry, no. A person may not receive a homestead exemption for more than one residence homestead in the same year. You can receive a homestead exemption only for your main or principal residence.
Question 4: What do I do if I have more questions?
My Answer:You can can visit the website for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to get started.
If you have even more questions please let me know! Thank you for taking a moment to make complete your homestead application and have it filed prior to April 30!
~ Joe Paul Reider
Home Style Austin Founder
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.