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Your Guide to Property Tax Exemptions for Seniors in Texas

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mortgage-fee-2-1237668-640x640Property Tax exemptions can save you a good chunk of money.  In Texas, there are several types of exemptions that can help seniors.  Let’s take a look at what is available to those 65 & older.

Homestead Exemption: Residence homeowners of any age are allowed a $25,000 homestead exemption from their home’s value for school taxes. To qualify, a home must meet the definition of a residence homestead.  The homeowner must be an individual and use the home as his or her principal residence as of January 1 of the tax year. You may file for a homestead exemption for up to one year after the taxes are due.  Once you receive the exemption, you do not need to reapply unless the chief appraiser sends you a new application.  The homestead exemption does not move with you to a new home.  If you move, you must reapply when qualified.

Over 65 Exemption:  In addition to the $25,000 exemption that all homestead owners receive, those age 65 or older qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes. You may apply to your local appraisal district for up to one year after the date you become age 65 or up to one year after the taxes are due. If your application is approved, you will receive the exemption for the entire year in which you became age 65 (retroactive to January 1) and for subsequent years as long as you own a qualified homestead. Beginning in 2005, if your date of birth was on your original homestead application or other written correspondence to the appraisal district about your homestead you should automatically receive the age 65 or older exemption without having to go through an application process. Be sure to check your property tax statement to make sure the exemption has been applied.  If it hasn’t, you will need to obtain the application from your local appraisal district.prop-tax-download-graphic

School Taxes are frozen at the dollar amount of the school taxes in the year you turn 65 for your current homestead, and at the % of current taxes for a new home. The tax ceiling continues for age 55 or older surviving spouses of age 65 or older owners who die while qualified for the tax ceiling. These homeowners may also transfer the percent of tax paid, based on their ceiling, when they purchase another home and use it as their principal residence.

Disabled Exemption: Like the Senior Exemption, the Disabled Exemption gives homestead owners an additional $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes. To qualify, an individual must meet the definition of disabled for the purpose of receiving disability insurance benefits under the Federal Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Act and must submit an application to their local appraisal district within one year of qualifying as disabled.

It should be noted that if an owner qualifies for both the $10,000 exemption for age 65 or 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.

Disabled Veteran Exemption:  A disabled veteran who receives 100 percent disability due to a service-connected disability is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of the veteran’s residence homestead.  If the veteran qualifies for the exemption after Jan. 1 of a tax year, they receive an exemption for the applicable portion of that year immediately upon qualifying for the exemption. If at any time the property no longer qualifies in a year, the exemption is removed for that portion of the year.  Under certain circumstances, the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran who was receiving an exemption may be eligible to continue the exemption.  If an individual qualifies under these guidelines, an application must be submitted to the local appraisal district for approval.

Other special exemptions may be offered for seniors depending on where your residence is located.  It’s a good idea to check with your appraisal district to see what is available to you.  The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts is also a great resource for general information on property tax exemptions.

Be aware that there are people out there who will offer to help you with your exemptions for a fee. They check the tax records to see who hasn’t claimed all available exemptions and then contact you with an offer to complete the forms for you. The forms are available free (usually downloadable) from your tax appraisal district.  You should be able to complete them on your own or with the help of a family member or friend.  If for some reason you can’t do it on your own, the appraisal district will assist you. There is really no need to pay someone to file these exemption forms for you.

If you need help figuring out what you qualify for, give us a call at 817-330-9235.  We can help point you in the right direction to make sure you are getting all of the exemptions you qualify for.

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