It’s that time of year…time to start thinking about taxes, and time to make sure you have your homestead exemption filed with your appraisal district. The homestead exemption in Texas is a benefit that is part of owning your home, and here are the top 5 questions that get asked:

Do I qualify for a homestead exemption?

As a general rule, to qualify for a homestead exemption, you must own your home and it must be your principal place of residence on January 1st of the year you file.  So, if you purchased your home in 2013, you have until April 30th, 2014, to apply for the 2014 homestead exemption.  More details on qualification are available here at the TCAD website.

Will the homestead exemption protect me in case of a lawsuit?

There are 2 laws in Texas that designate a homestead; these are the tax code and the property code. The tax code offers homeowners a way to reduce their local property taxes; the property code allows homeowners to designate their homesteads in order to protect them from forced sales by creditors.

How much will the Travis County homestead exemption save me?

The homestead exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and therefore lowers your tax bill. Travis county currently offers a 20% reduction for homesteaders…let’s look at an example:

Let’s say that the county has arbitrarily appraised your home at $200,000. You reside in Travis County so you qualify for a 20% reduction, which is equal to $40,000. The taxable value of your property is therefore $160,000 and that is the number that your taxes will be based on.  Your total amount of savings is going to be dependent on the taxing unit.

How do I apply for the Travis County homestead exemption?

You can receive a homestead exemption form by calling 512-834-9138, or you may go to the Travis Count Appraisal District and download the form from their website.

Does my homestead exemption ever expire?

You only need to fill out the exemption form one time, unless it is requested by the chief appraiser. Homestead exemptions renew automatically annually.

As your Austin Real Estate expert, I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the homestead exemption, as well as any real estate related questions. Please call me today: 512-522-8196 or email matthew@teamensor.com.

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