The Texas Homestead Exemption


It’s finally time! If you purchased a new personal home last year, you can now file for your Texas Homestead Exemption! And even if you have lived in your home for a number of years, now is the time to confirm you filed your homestead exemption properly.

But what is a homestead exemption?

This is a common question by first time home buyers and other clients who have never had the Texas homestead exemption properly explained to them. The simplest explanation is that it is a reduction on the property taxes that an individual owes, for the property they occupy. You now know enough to keep your eyes from glazing over the next time your “know-it-all” friend starts talking about financial strategies again. 😉

But for those of you who want to understand a little more of the details and how the homestead exemption works, keep reading!

Homestead Exemption Requirements:

  • You may only have your homestead exemption on a single (1) property, and legally, that must be your primary residence.
  • You must reside in your property by January 1 to claim the exemption for that year. (Over 65 is different)
    • If over 65, you may apply for the “Age 65 or Older Exemption” at any time.

Homestead Exemption Facts

  • The current homestead exemption is $25,000.
  • This is a homeowner’s right, but it is not automatic, you must file the application.
  • Once filed and accepted, you will not need to file again.
  • Up to 20 acres can be exempt. If you have a larger property, the remaining acres will not have any exemption.
  • May protect the homeowner during foreclosure and bankruptcy.
  • Limits the amount your appraisal district can increase your taxes each year.
    • More info coming in April.
  • IT IS 100% FREE!
    • There are many scams which offer to file your exemption for a fee, especially the first year you are eligible. If you are not comfortable filing your own exemption I will assist you AT NO CHARGE. Please do not pay someone to do this, contact me if you need help.

Homestead Exemption FAQS

Q. When can I file my application?

A. This varies by county but somewhere around April 30th should be expected. Find your appraisal district HERE

Q. How do I file my homestead exemption?

A. By filling out the form for you county appraisal district. Find yours HERE.

Q. What are property taxes?

A. These are taxes paid by homeowners to support government infrastructure. This infrastructure includes: county, city, school district, public utilities, public hospitals, and public colleges

Q. Do I have to pay property taxes?

A. Well, technically you could choose not pay them… but that would be unwise. If you do not pay your property tax the county can foreclose on your property and sell it at the courthouse auction!

Q. Is this everything there is to know about the Texas Homestead Exemption?

A. Absolutely not! There are many different types of exemptions, some for individuals over 65, others for owners who are disabled, and some that are even less common. See the links in the resources for more information.