Homeowners Property Tax Exemption Filings: A North Texas Guide
Property tax exemptions are the key to saving lots of money on your yearly tax bill. From an exemption merely for using your property as your sole residence to exemptions based on age and disability status, you can trim big money from your tax bill.
Homeowners property tax exemption filings are the key to saving lots of money on your Dallas-Fort Worth property tax bill. From an exemption merely for using your property as your sole residence to exemptions based on age and disability status, you can trim between hundreds and thousands off what you owe to the government. Use this handy guide to get started.
You can apply for a homestead exemption merely by (a) owning your own home and (b) using it as your principal residence. Doing so isn’t quite as easy as closing on your property, however. To add a homestead exemption to your property tax bill, you must own and live on that property as of January 1st of the tax year. By state law, that exemption will remove $15,000 in valuation from your property appraisal for the purposes of calculating your school district taxes. In addition, other taxing districts your home falls in, like your town, your hospital district, or your county, may deduct up to 20 percent of your home’s appraisal value before calculating your taxes.
While you cannot apply for a homestead exemption until after the 1st of January for the first tax year you both own and occupy your home, you can gain access to the over-65 exemption as soon as you buy your property or as soon as you turn 65 while already living in an owned property. The great feature of the over-65 exemption is that the percentage and dollar savings for each taxing district are layered on top of any other exemptions you might already have, such as a homestead exemption or disability exemption. Further, if you are married and pass away, your surviving spouse, who is under 65, can retain your over-65 exemption so long as they are at least 55 years old. A final terrific advantage of the over-65 exemption is receiving a tax ceiling on the amount of school district taxes you pay each year, which can never rise again during your lifetime. And if you move, this ceiling transfers with you.
Like the over-65 exemption, you can apply for the disability exemption as soon as you buy a property or become legally disabled, without having to wait for January 1st to come and go. And like the over-65 exemption, the percentage of value or dollar amount of exemption is layered on top of other exemptions you may have applied for in the past, like the homestead exemption.
A separate category of disability exemptions comes into play if you are a 100 percent disabled veteran. As a thank you for your major contribution to and sacrifice for your country, you are totally exempt from paying any property taxes to any taxing districts, ever, for the rest of your life or as long as you remain 100 percent disabled. This exemption, unfortunately, does not pass to your surviving spouse.
If you are a disabled veteran whose disability is at least 10 percent but less than 100 percent, you will have access to lessened homeowners property tax exemption values ranging up to $12,000 of your home’s value, per taxing district. And this exemption will pass to either your surviving spouse or your under-18 child upon your death.
Exemptions Vary by County, City, District
An important key to remember is just as different cities and school districts have different property tax percentages, so do they have different exemption amounts and percentages. For greater detail on homeowners property tax exemptions for your area, see the Tarrant, Dallas, Collin or Denton County tax appraisal district websites. All have easy-to-download forms available to get started.