Property taxes in Texas are administered at the local level. Each appraisal district does a property appraisal at least once every three years. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the appraised property value for a residence homestead cannot be more than the market value. And the appraised value cannot increase more than 10 percent over the appraised value from last year. The market value of any new improvements would be added in that case. The property tax rates are set by the local taxing jurisdictions. You can find a link to Texas Property Tax Rates by County on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.
All homeowners in Texas can take advantage of the general homestead exemption. There are special exemptions for homeowners who are age 65 or older or disabled, surviving spouses age 55 or older, and disabled veterans. Seniors can qualify for a ceiling on school taxes. There is also an exemption for renewable energy devices.
General homestead exemption
The general homestead exemption is a $15,000 reduction of the appraised value of your principal residence for school property taxes. Your home can be a separate structure, condominium, or mobile home, as long as you own it. Your homestead includes your house and up to 20 acres of land. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, cities, counties, school or special taxing districts have the option to offer a 20 percent exemption on the total value of the property. If your county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, you could receive a $3,000 exemption for that tax.
Additional exemption for 65 or older or disabled
Homeowners who are age 65 or older or disabled can qualify for a $10,000 exemption for school taxes. This is in addition to the general $15,000 exemption. And local taxing units can offer an additional $3,000 exemption. If you qualify for the 65 or older or disabled exemption, there is also a ceiling on your school taxes. The school taxes cannot increase as long as you own and live in your home. The ceiling is the amount of school taxes you pay in the year you qualify for the 65 or older or disabled exemption. But if you make improvements to your home, the appraised value and therefore the taxes could go up.
Surviving spouses 55 or older
Surviving spouses of homeowners who were receiving the exemption for being age 65 or older can continue to receive the exemption and property tax ceiling provided they are age 55 or older and continue to live in and own the home.
Disabled veteran’s exemption
Veterans who were partially disabled while serving in the U.S. armed forces, and surviving spouses or children of disabled veterans or members of the armed forces killed while on active duty can qualify for a special exemption. The amount of the exemption ranges from $5,000 to $12,000, depending on the disability rating percentage. Veterans with a 100% disability rating from the VA qualify for a total exemption from property taxes assessed by any taxing unit.
How to apply for exemptions
To apply for the homestead exemptions, you should file Form 50-114 – Application for Residence Homestead Exemption with your tax appraisal district. This form covers the general exemption, the age 65 or older exemption, the disability exemption, the 100% disabled veteran’s exemption, and the exemption for surviving spouses age 55 or older of a person who received the age 65 or older exemption. There is a separate Form 50-135 for the disabled veterans’ and survivors’ exemption. You can find a directory of tax appraisal districts with addresses, phone numbers, e-mails and websites on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts website.
Wind or solar energy devices
If you install a solar or wind-powered energy device at your home, you can claim a property tax exemption on the additional value that the renewable energy system adds to your home. You should file Form 50-123 – Exemption Application for Solar or Wind-Powered Energy Devices with your tax appraisal district.
Appraisal District Directory – Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Exemptions – Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Form 50-114 – Application for Residence Homestead Exemption – Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Form 50-123 – Exemption Application for Solar or Wind-Powered Energy Devices – Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Form 50-135 – Application for Disabled Veteran’s or Survivor’s Exemption
New Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veterans – Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Property Tax Assistance – Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Property Tax Basics – Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Savings on Home Taxes – John H. Carney & Associates
Valuing Property – Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts