Texas Homestead Exemptions – Helpful Guide for What You Need To Know To Reduce Your Property Taxes

Filing your Texas homestead exemption is a great way to kick off homeownership since you can significantly reduce the taxes on your home. I’ve assembled all the information you need to know to submit your homestead exemption request to the local appraisal district in your area. Note: If you’ve already filed for exemption, here’s how to check the status.

What is a Homestead Exemption? 
Texas Homestead Exemption reduces the taxes you owe on your home by lowering your home’s taxable value. For example, Texas school districts offer a $25,000 tax exemption for qualified applicants, which means if your home appraises for $200,000 as of January 1st, the amount you pay in school taxes is based on $175,000 ($200,000 home value less the $25,000 school tax exemption). Other taxing authorities (e.g. county, city) may offer exemptions of up to 20% of your home’s value, so filing for a homestead exemption is worth your while.

Who is eligible for a Homestead Exemption? 
Homestead Exemptions in Texas are granted to homeowners who apply for the exemption on the home they consider their primary residence. A new law effective January 1, 2022, will provide property tax relief by allowing homebuyers to file for homestead exemptions in the year when they purchase the property. Previously, new homeowners must wait until the following year to file for the exemption.

What is the Homestead Exemption Application process?
It’s a simple form – typically 2 pages that ask for basic information such as the owner’s name, property address, and type of exemption requested. Harris County has a mobile app to file electronically which makes it even simpler and you avoid the actual paperwork and having to mail anything out. For county-specific information click the applicable link below:

That’s the basics but here are some key things to remember:

  • It’s free to apply for homestead exemption. If you get a letter from Home Designation Services or any company asking for money, throw it away. Don’t get scammed! If you’re unsure, call your local property tax office.
  • Once you are granted the exemption, you do not have to reapply for it annually unless the Appraisal District notifies you that a new application is required. This is rare so it’s unlikely.
  • Homestead can only be used for your primary residence only. It can’t be used for secondary homes, vacation homes, or investment properties such as rental properties.
  • When submitting the form you need to prove your homestead. That’s done by including a copy of your driver’s license. The important thing here – The address on the driver’s license must match the address of the property you are applying.
  • For married couples, either person may be listed as the owner, just be sure the required documents that are submitted are for the person listed as an owner. 

Disclaimer and Additional Information The information above is not to be considered tax advice but is provided as a helpful reminder. For the official rules and details on Texas Homestead Exemptions, visit the Texas Comptroller’s website for additional information on Texas Homestead Exemptions.