Property Tax Exemptions
The 84th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1 and Senate Joint Resolution 1. If voters approve SJR 1 in Nov. 2015, the mandatory residence homestead exemption for school districts will increase and the school district tax ceiling will decrease. School districts, cities and counties will be prohibited from repealing or reducing a local option percentage residence homestead exemption adopted for the 2014 tax year until 2020. This Web page will be updated with SJR 1 changes upon voter approval. A summary of these changes can be found on the Comptroller’s website.
Property tax in Texas is a locally assessed and locally administered tax. Texas law allows a variety of partial or complete exemptions from local property taxes. A partial exemption removes a percentage or fixed dollar amount of the property' s value from taxation. An absolute or total exemption excludes the entire property from taxation.
Exemptions from property tax require applications in most circumstances. Applications for property tax exemptions are filed with appraisal districts. The general deadline for filing an exemption application is before May 1. Appraisal district chief appraisers are responsible for determining whether or not property qualifies for an exemption.
Tax Code exemption requirements are extensive. Property owners should read applicable statutes carefully. The Comptroller’s publication Property Tax Exemptions offers a short summary of the exemption provisions.
There are no specific qualifications for the general homestead exemption other than the owner has an ownership interest in the property and uses the property as the owner’s principal residence. An applicant is required to state that he or she does not claim an exemption on another residence homestead in or outside of Texas.
School districts are required to offer a $15,000 exemption on residence homesteads. Any taxing unit, including a city, county, school district or special district, has the option of offering a separate exemption of up to 20 percent of the property’s appraised value, but not less than $5,000. A county may also offer a $3,000 exemption if it collects for farm-to-market roads or flood control.
To qualify for the age 65 or older exemption, the owner must be age 65 or older and live in the house. If the age 65 or older homeowner dies, the surviving spouse may continue to receive the exemption if the surviving spouse is age 55 or older at the time of death and lives in and owns the home and applies for the exemption.
A disabled person must meet the definition of disabled for the purpose of receiving disability insurance benefits under the Federal Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Act.
School districts are required to offer an additional $10,000 exemption on residence homesteads to persons age 65 or older or disabled. Any taxing unit, including a city, county, school district or special district, has the option of offering a separate exemption of $3,000.
A person who qualifies as both age 65 or older and disabled does not qualify for both, but must choose which exemption to claim.
Texas law provides partial exemptions for any property owned by disabled veterans and surviving spouses and children of deceased disabled veterans. It also provides a partial exemption for residence homesteads donated to disabled veterans by charitable organizations that also extend to surviving spouses who have not remarried. The amount of exemption is determined according to percentage of service-connected disability. More information on the amount of the exemption can be found in the FAQ- Disabled Veterans Exemption.
A disabled veteran who receives 100 percent disability compensation due to a service-connected disability and a rating of 100 percent disabled or of individual unemployability is entitled to a total property tax exemption on the veteran’s residence homestead.
A surviving spouse of a member of the U.S. armed services killed in action is allowed a total property tax exemption on his or her residence homestead if the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the armed services member.
Texas law allows for a number of exemptions for charitable organizations and businesses. Please refer to the Comptroller’s publication Texas Property Tax Exemptions for more information about these exemptions. Most of these exemptions have specific application forms that can be found through the exemption forms link in the box above.