Dec 26, 13 • News, Real Estate, Taxes

They say that the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes…

The Farah Law Firm Tax Help

…but thanks to homestead exemptions, that isn’t necessarily true.

In Texas, homestead exemptions help homeowners protect the value of their homes from exorbitant property taxes, aggressive creditors, and issues related to the death of the homeowner’s spouse. Applying for a homestead exemption can lower the taxable value of your house (thereby reducing your tax liability) and provide a firmer basis for homestead protection.

In order to claim your residence homestead exemption for 2013, you must submit your application between January 1 and April 30, 2014.

Exemption types include:

  • General Residence Homestead Exemption (Tax Code Section 11.13): Applies if you have owned your property as of January 1, occupied it as your primary residence as of January 1, and you and your spouse do not claim a residence homestead exemption on any other property.
  • Disabled Person Exemption (Tax Code Section 11.13[c], [d]): Applies if you are under a disability and receive disability insurance benefits (note that you cannot receive an Age of 65 or Older Exemption if you receive this exemption).
  • Age 65 or Older Exemption (Tax Code Section 11.13[c], [d]):  Applies if you are 65 or older (note that you cannot receive the aforementioned Disabled Person Exemption if you receive this exemption).
  • Surviving Spouse of Individual Who Qualified for Age 65 or Older Exemption Under Tax Code Section 11.13(d): Applies if 1.) your deceased spouse died in a year in which he or she qualified for the exemption under Tax Code Section 11.13(d), 2.) you were 55 years of age or older when your spouse passed away, and 3.) the property was your residence homestead when your deceased spouse died and is still your residence homestead (note that you cannot receive this exemption under Tax Code Section 11.13(d).
  • 100% Disabled Veterans Exemption (Tax Code Section 11.131): For those who receive from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or its successor 100% disability compensation due to a service-related disability or a rating of 100% disabled or individual unemployability.
  • Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran Who Qualified for the 100% Disabled Veteran’s Exemption (Tax Code Section 11.131): Applies to those who were married to a disabled veteran who qualified for an exemption under Tax Code 11.131 at the time of his or her death and 1.) you have not remarried since his or her death and 2.) the property was your residence homestead when he or her passed away and it is still your residence homestead.
  • Donated Residence Homestead of Partially Disabled Veteran (Tax Code Section 11.132, Version 1): Applies if you are a disabled veteran with a disability rating of less than 100% and your residence homestead was donated to you by a charitable organization (supporting documentation will be required).
  • Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran Who Qualified for the Donated Residence Homestead Exemption (Tax Code Section 11.132, Version 1): For the spouses of disabled veterans who qualified for an exemption under Tax Code Section 11.132 at the time of his or her death, provided that 1.) they have not remarried since the death of the disabled veteran and 2.) the property was their residence homestead when the disabled veteran died and is still their residence homestead (supporting documentation will be required).
  • Surviving Spouse of Member of Armed Forces Killed in Action: For the surviving spouses of members of the U.S. armed services who have been killed in action. You cannot have remarried since the death of the member of the armed services (supporting documentation will be required).

Click here to access the Application for Residence Homestead Exemption, and remember:

  • Where to file your application: Your application must be filed with the appraisal district in the county in which your property is located. Click here for details on your appraisal district.
  • Application deadlines: Applications will be accepted beginning this coming Wednesday, January 1, and the final deadline is April 30. If you are applying for the 65 or older or disabled persons exemptions, the deadline is the first anniversary of the date on which you qualify for the exemption. Regardless of which exemption you’re applying for, don’t procrastinate—the sooner you file, the better.
  • Your duty to notify: If the chief appraiser grants your exemption(s), you don’t need to reapply each year. You only need to reapply if the chief appraiser requires you to, or if you want to apply the exemption to a different or additional property. If your circumstances change, it is your responsibility to notify the chief appraiser in writing that your right to an exemption has ended.

If you need help filing your homestead exemption application or understanding the regulations that govern it, contact the real estate attorneys at The Farah Law Firm today.

Michael Farah

About Michael Farah

Michael Farah is the founder and managing attorney of the Farah Law Firm. Mike graduated from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and is licensed to practice law in Texas and New York.

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