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The Texas Homestead Exemption

TexasHomesteadExemptionWhat is it?

When you purchase a home in Texas and use it as your primary residence you may fill out Texas Property Tax Form 50-114. This form requests that the state grant you an exemption to your tax bill. The exemption is typically $15,000 off the taxable amount of your home. For example:

If your homes taxable value is $100,000 before your exemption and your Texas Homestead Exemption value is $15,000, then your new taxable value is: $85,000.

That’s not bad for filling out one four (4) page form. Now please don’t misunderstand me, I think we have a great government (mostly), but I don’t want them to have more money then we absolutely must give them. It’s like telling my cocker spaniel, ‘Freckles’, to guard the cookie bowl. Her intentions are good, but her nature will eventually take over and all you’ll have left is crumbs, an empty cookie bowl and a guilty cocker spaniel.

Who can get one?

  • Home owners on their primary residence
  • Retired persons 65 years of age or older
  • Disabled persons
  • Disabled veterans

When do I file it?

You must occupy your home on Jan 1st and file your exemption between January 1 and no later than February 1st to avoid the delinquency date.

Where do I get it?

The form is located on the state of Texas website at Tax Form 50-114.  It is free to file your homestead exemption with the state so don’t let anyone try to sell a service to file it for you.

What types of exemptions are there?

  • School taxes: All residence homestead owners may receive a $15,000 homestead exemption from their home’s value for school taxes.
  • County taxes: If a county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, a residence homestead owner may receive a $3,000 exemption for this tax. If the county grants an optional exemption for homeowners age 65 or older or disabled, the owners will receive only the local-option exemption.
  • Age 65 or older and disabled exemptions: Individuals 65 and older and/or disabled residence homestead owners may qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes, in addition to the $15,000 exemption for all homeowners. If the owner qualifies for both the $10,000 exemption for 65 and older homeowners and the $10,000 exemption for disabled homeowners, the owner must choose one or the other for school taxes. The owner cannot receive both exemptions.
  • Optional percentage exemptions: Any taxing unit-including a city, county, school, or special district-may offer an exemption of up to 20 percent of a home’s value. But, no matter what the percentage is, the amount of an optional exemption cannot be less than $5,000. Each taxing unit decides if it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other home exemption for which an owner qualifies. The taxing unit must decide before July 1 of the tax year to offer this exemption.
  • Optional 65 or older or disabled exemptions: Any taxing unit may offer an additional exemption amount of at least $3,000 for taxpayers age 65 or older and/or disabled.

Where is the official information on the homestead exemption?

Well I am sure you trust me, but as Reagan said “trust, but verify”. So here is the official link to the State of Texas Homestead Exemption Site.  I hope you find this information helpful to keep a little more of your own money in your pocket.

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