If you purchased a home last year and occupied it as your primary residence by January 1, 2012, and you aren’t currently claiming homestead on a different property, you are eligible to lower your property taxes through filing for your homestead exemption in the country where the property is located. Here’s how it works: The taxing authorities (school district and county) allow you to remove part of the taxable value of your home for tax purposes since you are using the property as your residence. For example, if your property is valued at $100,000 and you qualify for a $20,000 exemption, you would pay taxes on just $80,000 therefore reducing your property taxes significantly. The deadline to file is between January 1 and April 30th, 2012 – You cannot file before or after and if you miss it, you would not have another chance to file until this time next year.
In September of 2o11, House Bill 252 imposed new requirements on property owners that want to claim exemptions. Due to the spread of duplicate or multiple filings of homestead exemptions on several properties by the same owner, this bill now requires the homeowner to provide the following along with their application:
- Copy of drivers license showing the address of the property and
- Copy of car registration with the property address. In the absence of a vehicle, you can provide a utility bill with that address or complete a notarized affidavit
If your property is located in Harris county, please print out the Harris County Application for Residential Homestead Exemption form , fill it out and mail back to Harris County Appraisal District, P. O. Box 922012, Houston, Texas 77292-2012 along with the supporting documentation from above. If you have any questions about how to complete the form, you can email me or call me on my cell at 713-922-2702.
From the Harris Country website these are the exemptions that may be available:
School taxes — all homeowners.
If you qualify for the homestead exemption, you will receive at least a $15,000 homestead exemption on the value of your home for school district taxes.
County taxes — all homeowners.
Harris County currently provides a 20% optional homestead exemption to all homeowners. This means, for example, that if your home is valued at $100,000, the exemption will reduce its taxable value for Harris County taxes by $20,000 to $80,000.
Optional exemptions — all homeowners.
Any taxing unit, including a school district, city, county or special district, may offer an exemption for up to 20% of your home’s value. The amount of an optional exemption can’t be less than $5,000, no matter what the percentage is. For example, if your home is valued at $20,000 and your city offers a 20% optional exemption, your exemption is $5,000, even though 20% of $20,000 is just $4,000.
Fort Bend County
If your property is located in Fort Bend County, you can download the application, and mail back to:
Fort Bend Central Appraisal District
2801 B.F. Terry Blvd.
Rosenberg, Texas 77471-5600
Here again you will need to provide supporting documentation (driver’s license and vehicle registration or utility bill).