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February 25, 2014 | money-management

What is a Homestead Exemption?

Why Homestead Exemptions Matter

A homestead exemption will reduce your local property taxes. In Texas specifically, the property code “allows homeowners to designate their homesteads to protect them from a forced sale to satisfy creditors.” [Travis County Appraisal District FAQs] However, the law does not protect homeowners from tax foreclosure sales of their home in the event that taxes are not paid.

Do I Qualify for a Homestead Exemption?

If you own your home and it is your principal residence (meaning you reside there for more than 50% of the year), you likely qualify for a homestead exemption in your county.

If you own multiple properties, you can only claim a homestead exemption on one of those properties – even if they are in other states.

How Do I Apply for a Homestead Exemption?

Complete and return the Application for Residence Homestead Exemption for the county you live in. Be sure to also read the FAQ page of your county’s Appraisal District website.

Other Helpful Tidbits

  • Your driver’s license address should match the property address for which you are applying for the exemption. You can include a copy of that driver’s license or a copy of the application for your new one.
  • If you are age 65 or older, disabled, or a veteran, you may qualify for additional exemptions. Read the full application for more details.
  • Owners of manufactured homes must provide additional documentation. If you live in Travis County, you must also have the affidavit at the end of the application notarized.