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Saving Money on your New and Old Home

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In Texas one of the expenses that come along with the pride of owning your condo, house or ranch is the accompanying property taxes. A way to reduce those property taxes is to make sure you have all of the exemptions you are entitled too.

The appraisal district for your area is responsible for appraising the fair market value of the real property.

After the value of your home has been assessed, the various tax rates for each entity are calculated to arrive at your property tax bill for the year. The 2016 property tax bill is due no later than January 31, 2017.  The entities can include cities, school districts, counties, emergency service districts and community college districts.  In fact, there are more than 3,700 local governments in Texas — school districts, cities, counties and various special districts collecting and spending these taxes.

The general residential homestead exemption
Is the most common exemption and is provided by state law for owner-occupied residential  properties. The exemption removes a portion of your value from taxation providing a lower tax amount for the homestead property.  You can apply for the homestead exemption by visiting the appraisal district website for the county you live in.  Here is a list of the appraisal districts in Central Texas.  There are a number of other exemptions such as Over-65 Homestead and 100% Disabled Veterans.

To qualify for the homestead exemption.
The property must be designed or adapted for human residence and the homeowner must own and occupy the property on January 1 of the year application is made.  The person claiming the exemption must reside at the property on January 1 and cannot claim a homestead exemption on any other property. If more than one individual (not a married couple) owns the property, each separate individual must provide an application if they reside at the property. Exemptions are allocated according to the percent of ownership interest the applicant has in the property.  The exemption application must be completed and include a Texas driver’s license or Texas identification card with the same address of the residence which is being applied for.

There is no fee? NO!! It is not necessary for homeowners to pay anyone to file for a homestead exemption. Homestead exemption forms are available for free. You can download an application from your appraisal district website. Here is the generic application.  It is not necessary to file a new application each year. However be sure to check the homestead exemption is shown on the notice of appraised value you receive from the appraisal district.

How much will I save?
An exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and lowers your tax bill.  In addition to the state-mandated exemption amounts for school taxes, each taxing unit decides whether to offer the optional exemption and at what percentage. For example, Travis County offers a 20 percent exemption for the Homestead exemption. If your property were valued at $200,000 and you qualify for the 20 percent Homestead exemption from the county ($40,000), you would pay county taxes on your home as if it were worth only $160,000. The amount of savings depends on the exemption and the amount of exemption allowed by each taxing unit.

You may file a late homestead exemption application if you file it no later than one year after the date the taxes become delinquent.

The last day to pay taxes without delinquency is Jan. 31. So if you were living in your condo, house or ranch January 1st, 2015 and you do not have the homestead exemption, submit your application now. 

You have less than 60 days to claim the exemption for 2015.  Check that you have it and if you do not submit your application now.

1000 Heritage Center Cir, #102
Round Rock, Texas 78664
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Posted November 4, 2016|Updated December 8, 2016