Homestead Exemptions

Homestead exemptions are some of the most helpful, but too often overlooked, tax assistance programs available to property owners. How can this be when the tax relief benefit is so great and the tax savings so significant? More often than not it’s because property owners are simply not aware the Texas Property Tax Code allows for these exemptions and what they do.

As taxpayers ourselves, we understand how heavy the tax burden can be on individuals. That’s why we are making the information below available: to serve, assist, and educate!

Who?

Homestead exemptions can apply to any person who owns residential property; in other words, land with a house or other structure that can be lived in, such as a mobile home, barndominium, sea box (converted to living space), etc. You must be living in the home as your primary residence on or before January 1st. Some consideration is given to individuals who live elsewhere temporarily (no more than two years) with the intention of moving back, or to military personnel who must (by reason of deployment) live somewhere other than their primary residence and elderly homeowners staying in a nursing home or other assisted living facility.

What?

Exemptions are specific dollar amounts that are subtracted from the appraised/market value of your home. This helps reduce your tax burden by lowering the amount of your home’s value that is considered taxable. Some exemption types also provide other methods of tax relief. No matter what the exemption does to benefit you there are rules, restrictions, and conditions that apply and must be followed exactly. Incomplete or inaccurate applications or supporting documentation may be grounds for denial of your homestead application, so make sure to follow the instructions on the form(s) carefully and contact our staff if you have any questions.

Where?

RCAD will apply homestead exemptions only to properties within the borders of our county. Owners of properties that straddle the border and share taxing jurisdiction between Runnels County and another county (i.e., Coke County, Tom Green County, Taylor County) should discuss their situation with our staff in order to determine where the homestead exemption needs to be applied.

Exemptions can apply to all taxing jurisdictions, but amounts and specific benefits vary.

When?

Exemptions generally require the owner to have lived in and/or acquired the property on or before January 1st of the current tax year with only a few exceptions. Applications for a homestead exemption must be filed on or before May 1st of the current tax year. In some cases, RCAD will initiate action to send you an application if we have reason to believe you may not qualify for a homestead exemption anymore where one currently exists or when we have reason to believe you may qualify for an exemption you don’t currently have. We ask that you fill out, sign, and return those applications to us as soon as reasonably possible else you may lose out on an opportunity for tax relief.

Why?

School districts are required by the Texas Property Tax Code to exempt up to $25,000 of the assessed value. Other taxing entities may opt to apply additional exemption percentages not to exceed 20%. Some exemption types provide additional benefits, such as tax freezes or even complete freedom from tax obligation. Additional detail regarding the advantages of specific homestead exemptions can be found in the Benefits section below or in the Comptroller’s Property Tax Exemptions document.

Exemption Application Qualifies Deadline Documentation Benefit
General Residence Homestead Exemption Yes January 1 April 30 ID (Driver's License, State-issued ID, Temporary license, Military ID with copy of utility bill) Up to $25,000 off home's appraised value toward school district taxes, Homestead cap loss
Disabled Person Exemption Yes Immediately April 30 Letter from Social Security Administration, ID Up to $10,000 off home's appraised value toward school district taxes, freeze of Runnels County and school district tax amounts as of current tax year
Age 65 or Older Exemption Yes Birthdate April 30 ID (must reflect address that matches the property for which the exemption is requested and date of birth) Up to $10,000 off home's appraised value toward school district taxes, up to $5,000 off home's appraised value toward Runnels County taxes, freeze of Runnels County and school district tax amounts as of current or qualifying year
Surviving Spouse of Individual Who Qualified for Age 65 or Older Exemption Yes Immediately April 30 Obituary or copy of spouse's death certificate, ID (Driver's License, State-issued ID, Temporary license) with date of birth as proof of age Continuation of spouse's exemption and tax ceiling
100% Disabled Veteran's Homestead Exemption Yes Immediately April 30 Letter from VA office detailing receipt of 100% disability compensation due to service-connected disability and rating of 100% disabled or unemployability Total exemption from property taxes for all taxing jurisdictions
Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran Who Qualified for the 100% Disabled Veteran's Exemption Yes Immediately April 30 ID, current VA letter identifying you as the surviving spouse and confirming your spouse as a deceased veteran with a service-related disability of 100% at the time of his/her death Continuation of spouse's total tax exemption
Donated Residence Homestead of Partially Disabled Veteran Yes Immediately April 30 Letter from VA listing percentage of service-connected disability, ID $$$ (amount varies based on disability %) off home's appraised value toward all taxing jurisdictions
Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran Who Qualified for the Donated Residence Homestead Exemption Yes Immediately April 30 Copy of death certificate, ID, current VA letter identifying you as the surviving spouse Continuation of spouse's taxable exemption amounts
Surviving Spouse of Member of Armed Forces Killed in Action Yes Immediately April 30 Copy of death certificate, current VA letter identifying you as the surviving spouse, ID Total exemption from property taxes for all taxing jurisdictions

NEED MORE INFO?

Review the Texas Property Tax Code

or

Check out the Comptroller’s Age 65 or Older FAQ’s

Additional Notes on Surviving Spouse Exemptions:

  • For all veteran surviving spouse exemptions, you must still be living on the same property and cannot have remarried in order to qualify.
  • For the Over-65 surviving spouse exemption, you must have been 55 years or older when your spouse died and still living on the same property as your primary residence.

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

Call our office at 325-365-3583 or email our Homestead Specialist here.