Homestead Exemption – New Law
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Homestead Exemption – New Law

In 2021, the Texas state legislation changed the Homestead Exemption filling laws. 

Historically, when a homebuyer bought a home throughout the year, they would have to wait till January 1 of the following year to file for a Homestead Exemption.  As a result of the new law passed this last session, homeowners can now file immediately after purchasing their home rather than having to wait till the first of the following year.

This is your reminder that if have never filed before or you bought a home in the last year and have not yet filed your homestead exemption, then now is the time.  To do this, you will need to contact your local appraisal district this month and submit a Homestead Exemption application.  

What Is the Homestead Exemption?

The homestead exemption is a legal provision that helps shield a home from some creditors following the death of a homeowner’s spouse or the declaration of bankruptcy. The homestead tax exemption can also provide surviving spouses with ongoing property tax relief, which is done on a graduated scale so that homes with lower assessed values benefit the most.

The homestead exemption is helpful since it is designed to provide both physical shelter and financial protection, which can block the forced sale of a primary residence. However, the homestead exemption does not prevent or stop a bank foreclosure if the homeowner defaults on their mortgage. Foreclosure occurs when a bank takes possession of a home due to failure to make timely mortgage payments.

Do I Get a Tax Break with a Homestead Exemption?

Homestead exemptions remove part of your home’s value from taxation which lowers taxes on your home.  For example… your home is appraised at $200,000 and you qualify for a $15,000 exemption, you will pay taxes on the home at if it was worth only $$185,000.

Do All Homes Qualify? 

No, only a homeowner’s principal residence qualifies.  The home’s owner must be an individual (not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as their primary residence. 

How to file for the Homestead Exemption

A qualified Texas homeowner can file for the homestead exemption by contacting their county’s appraisal district. The typical deadline for filing a county appraisal district homestead exemption application is between January 1 and April 30. However, this is now available the entire year with the new law. 

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