Taxes and the Homestead Exemption

Taxes and the Homestead Exemption

In recent news, taxes and real estate is hot topic. One of the easiest ways a homeowner can lower his or her property tax bill is to file a homestead exemption. A homestead is generally the house and land used as the owner’s principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year.

Homestead exemptions reduce the appraised value of your home and, as a result, lower your property taxes. To apply for an exemption on your residence homestead, contact the Appraisal District for your county.

Available homestead exemptions include:

▪ School taxes: All homeowners may receive a $25,000 homestead exemption for school taxes.
▪ County taxes: If a county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, a homeowner may receive a $3,000 homestead exemption for this tax.
▪ Age and disability exemptions: Individuals 65 or older or disabled as defined by law may qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes, in addition to the $25,000 exemption available to all homeowners. Also, any taxing unit may offer a local optional exemption of at least $3,000 for taxpayers age 65 or older and/or disabled. Older or disabled homeowners do not need to own their homes on Jan. 1 to qualify for the $10,000 homestead exemption. They qualify as soon as they turn age 65 or become disabled.
▪ Taxing units may offer a local option exemption based on a percentage of a home’s appraised value. Any taxing unit can exempt up to 20 percent of the value of each qualified homestead. No matter what percentage of value the taxing unit adopts, the dollar value of the exemption must be at least $5,000.
▪ There are also exemptions for the following Partial exemption for disabled veterans, 100 Percent Residence Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veterans, Surviving Spouses of Members of the U.S. Armed Services Killed in Action and Surviving Spouses of First Responders Killed in the Line of Duty.

One more very important note…..beware of homestead exemption scams!

There is NO fee for making the application for a homestead exemption. However, certain companies offer to “process” your application for a fee by sending you a letter in the mail. These letters usually will start appearing in your mailbox around the first few weeks in January. THROW THEM AWAY! They often look like an official government document and state that the fee must be paid for the homeowner to get the exemption. AGAIN, THROW THEM AWAY!

Once again, filing for a homestead exemption is FREE. You just fill out a simple application and mail it in to your appraisal district. File the completed application and all required documents with the county appraisal district for the county in which you live.

For more information, or if you have questions about your Homestead Exemption, contact The Indigo Skye Group!