A homestead exemption in Texas gives the homeowner a credit on taxes---reducing the taxable amount as much as $15,000 on school taxes and $3,000 on county road taxes. An additional exemption of $10,000 for over 65 or disabled taxpayers applies in some areas. Once your homestead exemption is in place, you do not need a new one unless the appraiser sends a new application or the home is no longer your principal residence. If you receive the age or disability exemption, a tax ceiling applies and school taxes do not increase so long as you live in the home.
Locate the Application for Residence Homestead Exemption form from the local appraisal district or print a copy from the Texas Comptroller's website.
Complete the application form starting with step 1, skipping the information at the top. Provide your name, address, driver's license or Social Security number, birth date, spouse's birth date and your percentage of ownership in the property.
Fill in step 2 with the street address of the property and the size of the lot. A homestead cannot be more than 20 acres in Texas.
Check the box for the exemptions for which you qualify. You must be living in the house on January 1 for the general homestead exemption to apply. You may also qualify for another exemption if you are age 65, disabled or a 100-percent disabled Texas veteran. A person over age 55 whose deceased spouse received the 65 or over exemption may qualify for a homestead exemption as well.
Check the box if you could have qualified for a homestead exemption last year but did not apply. Sign and date the application. Make a copy for your records. Enclose the form in a stamped envelope and mail to the appraisal district where the property is located.
- File for your homestead exemption early in the year.
- If someone offers to file your homestead exemption for you for a fee, remember that there is no cost if you file it yourself.
Linda Richard has been a legal writer and antiques appraiser for more than 25 years, and has been writing online for more than 12 years. Richard holds a bachelor's degree in English and business administration. She has operated a small business for more than 20 years. She and her husband enjoy remodeling old houses and are currently working on a 1970s home.