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Hey Austin, File Your Homestead Tax Exemption!
So, you’re living in Austin Texas and received your 2021 tax bill? It’s time to file you Homestead Exemption! The law was recently updated so let’s dive into what it means for homeowners. As a new law that became effective January 1, 2022, which allows all homebuyers to be eligible to receive the homestead exemption beginning on the date they obtain ownership. This mean that homebuyers who purchased a property that did not already have a homestead exemption can now apply for the homestead tax exemption immediately. This includes homebuyers of new construction, properties that were owned by investors, and properties for which the seller had removed the homestead exemption.
That’s a benefit that we didn’t have prior to January 1, 2022. That’s money in your pocket if you purchased a home last year if this is your first time to this channel, I’m Jennifer S Goodman, Living in Austin Texas.
What is a Homestead Exemption
A homestead exemption is a tax exemption for your property, and it works by lowering your taxable amount. if your home is $750,000, and you qualify for a $30,000 homestead exemption. This makes it so that you’re only paying taxes on your property as if it were worth $720,00. You can potentially save thousands of dollars a year by being taxed less on your home.
Homestead sounds like one of those words used in 1960’s cowboy movies, what it means to us today is that it is a separate structure, condominium, or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, that is owned by you, the homeowner as your primary residence. A homestead can include up to 20 acres owned by you, the homeowner, and used as a yard or a purpose related to the residential use.
Important Home Stead Exemption Requirements
You must own your home and occupy your home as your principal residence on January 1 of the year for which you are requesting an exemption. Looking at this a little deeper there are 3 qualifications for Homestead exemption:
- You must own your home as of January 1.
- You must occupy your home as your principal residence as of January 1.
- You have a valid Texas driver’s license or Texas-issued identification certificate.
What is the Deadline to Apply for a New Exemption?
If you are a NEW homeowner, you must apply for the exemption for the applicable portion of the tax year before the first anniversary of the date the person acquired the property. There is no longer a requirement of applying by April 30 as there was previously. (The April 30 deadline still applies for other types of exemptions.)
Steps for Filling your Exemption?
You can apply as early as January 1st and no later than April 30th up to one year after you pay your annual taxes. You will file your homestead exemption in the county where your homestead is located.
And, regardless of how long you have owned your home, you can can file your application online in most counties. If you like to kick it old school, you can still print and mail your exemption application. Pro Tip: If you do so, send it registered so you have proof of filing.
Homestead Exemption Documents & Mailing Address
You’ll wish to ensure that ALL of the required documents show the same homestead address. First, fill out the application specific to your County Appraisal District, then mail all of the documents to the Appraisal District for your county if the online option is not available or if you prefer to mail it. I’ll include links to the 7 most common Austin-area Appraisal District offices in my blog and within the body of this video for easy access.
- Travis County Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 149012, Austin, TX 78714-9012
- Williamson County Mailing Address: 625 FM 1460, Georgetown, TX 78626-8050
- Hays County Mailing Address: 21001 IH 35 North, Kyle, Texas 78640
- Bastrop County Mailing Address: P.O. Box 578, Bastrop, TX 78602
- Burnet County Mailing Address: P.O. Box 908, Burnet, TX 78611-0908
- Llano County Mailing Address: 103 E. Sandstone St., Llano, Texas 78643
- Bell County Mailing Address: P.O. Box 390, Belton, Texas 76513
With your homestead exemption, you will need to include a copy of your valid Texas Driver’s License or Identification Card and the address on your license must match the homestead address.
What has changed with the Homestead Exemption?
- As of January 1, 2022, there’s a new law that enabled homeowners to file a homestead exemption starting the date they begin living on the property, without having to wait until the next calendar year to file.
- In May of 2022, there will be a vote that will either approve or deny raising the current homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for school district property taxes.
- On June 29, 2021, Travis county voted to increase exemptions for seniors and disabled individuals for the fiscal year 2020, raising the exemptions of both from $85,500 to $100,000.
There are a few Different Homestead Exemptions Available
Depending on factors such as your age, location, disability, or veteran status, you may qualify for different homestead exemptions, such as:
- Disabled Veteran homeowners: First, thank you for your service to our country. We are a better nation because of you. Please Click on the link in my blog for more information about exemptions, limitations, and special instructions.
- Optional 65 or older or disabled exemptions: There are likely additional exemption amounts. Be sure to claim if you turned 65 last year. Be sure to claim it if you’re 65 or older and moved. It’s not automatic.
- School taxes: All residence homestead owners may receive a Homestead Exemption from their home’s value for area school taxes.
- County taxes: If your county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, you may be able to receive a homestead exemption. Also, If the county grants an optional exemption for 65+ home owners and/or those with a disability, you’ll want to receive the local-option exemption.
- School Tax Exemption Age 65 or older and disabled exemptions: Individuals 65 and older and/or disabled residence homestead owners may qualify for a Homestead Exemption for school taxes in addition to the exemption for all homeowners. If you qualify for both the exemption for 65+ homeowners and the exemption for disabled homeowners, then you must choose one or the other for school taxes. You or your parents or grandparents in these categories cannot receive both exemptions. Click on the Texas Comptroller link in the blog to read about exemptions, limitations, and special instructions.
- Optional percentage exemptions: Any taxing unit including a city, county, school, or special district may offer an exemption of a percentage of a home’s value. Each taxing unit decides if it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other home exemption for which an owner qualifies. The taxing unit must decide before July 1 of the tax year to offer this exemption.
Homestead Exemptions Questions – County Appraisal District
Contact a legal representative who can help you with your local county tax office questions. Regardless of what county appraisal district you are filing your homestead exemption, the best person to help you with the exemption process in is a professional. So, reach out and get that help. You just might be able to save yourself thousands of dollars.
My name is Jennifer S Goodman, if you’ve found this at all helpful and if you didn’t fall asleep watching even better! I want to live your best life in Austin Texas and know that if you aren’t here yet, then when you get here and buy a house, you’ll have an idea around homestead exemption and keep money in your pockets instead of giving it to the tax man. We like paying taxes, just not more than our fair share. And, if you come back to this channel know that I’ll be offering you the insider’s scoop about Living in Austin, Texas.
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So, whether you’re moving in 7 days, 7 weeks or 7 months, we’d love to help you out.Send us a text, shoot us an email or give us a call. We’d love to help you make your next best move to Austin Texas.Oh, if you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear them in the comments section. And, don’t forget to file your homestead exemption if you’re already living in Austin Texas! Thanks so much for tuning in. I’ll catch you next time!.