Life happens at a fast pace all the time. Unfortunately, so fast at times that we rarely have time to investigate everything we need to protect ourselves. One of the areas that we have found that homeowners can easily neglect is filing for a Homestead Exemption. Having this exemption carries a variety of benefits and can be very costly when left out.
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 filing the form that can be downloaded below. The typical deadline for filing a county appraisal district homestead exemption application is between January 1 and April 30. A Texas homeowner may file a late county appraisal district homestead exemption application if they file no later than one year after the date taxes become delinquent.