This is a brief and detailed guide to the necessary steps for filing your Homestead Exemption in your particular county in Texas.
What is the purpose of a Homestead Exemption?
Ask ten people about ad valorem, or more commonly referred to as property taxes, and ten will tell you that they wish they could pay less. Believe it or not, of those ten, I would bet several may not even be taking advantage of one of the easiest savings mechanisms, the Homestead Exemption under the Texas Tax Code. As one of the largest ongoing expenses related to owning real estate in Texas, the savings related to the Homestead Exemption could be hundreds if not even thousands of dollars. As a general rule for most taxing jurisdictions in Texas, if you purchase a property that you also occupy as your primary residence, you may file for a Homestead Exemption. You must file the application no earlier than January 1 of the year following your purchase through April 30 of that same year. If you miss filing you will likely not be able to apply again until the next year, thus being subjected to a higher tax burden than you may have been had your application been filed timely. If your Homestead Exemption is granted, you may save hundreds if not thousands of dollars off your property taxes.
Am I eligible to file for a Homestead Exemption?
Did you buy your residence last year or in a previous year? Then you are due to file your exemption NOW before April 30 of this year.
How do you quickly, easily and most importantly correctly apply for your Homestead Exemption?
1. Download the universal fill in the blank Homestead Exemption form; 2. Determine the appropriate mailing address information or your specific county; 3. Take time to complete the application thoroughly; 5. Mail your complete and executed application to your county appraisal district. It is best to always send matters such as this via certified mail, and comes with only a minimal extra cost. This will allow you to show the county the postmark and delivery date of your application should it get lost or misplace in their system.
Important Requirements and Tips
Important: You must send two additional documents with the application: First, a copy of your Texas driver's license or state identification card and second a copy of your vehicle registration receipt. These must be sent with the homestead application and the address on those documents must match the address for which the homestead exemption is requested. If you do not have your vehicle registration receipt, you may contact your local tax collector's office and they should be able to mail/fax/email you a copy, depending on their internal policies.
Additional resources provided by the author
Below I have included the two links you will need to find the Universal Homestead Exemption Form and the contact info for all the County Appraisal Districts to properly complete the form:
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