TAXES. Nobody likes them. Everybody pays for them. I’m sure when you thought about purchasing a home, you heard about the tax savings you can get from that. Well now you own your own home and you pay your own property taxes. You want to pay as little as you have to because who wants to pay more? Well the good news is that you can reduce the property taxes that you pay by claiming a homestead exemption. Hi guys! I’m Kyle Pfaffe, REALTOR, and welcome to Real Estate. Real Answers. Here we provide you with honest answers to your real estate questions. Today I want to help you understand how you can save money and your property taxes by claiming a homestead exemption. First of all, what is a homestead exemption? Well, a homestead exemption removes a slice of your home’s value from being taxed. A homestead is any structure, condominium or manufactured home on a piece of property that you own of less than 20 acres. To claim your homestead exemption, there’s a few criteria that you have to meet. First of all, you have to own your home and have to use it as your primary residence as of January 1st in the year for which you are applying for your homestead exemption. Also the address on your driver’s license or state issued ID has to match the address of the property for which you’re claiming your homestead exemption. Secondly, how much is your homestead exemption. Well, Texas law mandates that all school districts must provide a $25,000 exemption for property tax. So if your home is worth $100,000, that means that you’re only going to be taxed on $75,000 of that. Texas law also allows other taxing units to provide exemptions to you if they choose and that will be based on where you live. Travis County offers a 20% exemption on your property taxes and Williamson County offers a $3000 exemption on a special tax for roads. It’s also important to know that with your homestead exemption, the county cannot raise the appraised value of your home by more than 10% each year even if the actual value is greater. With the current rate of appreciation we’ve seen over the past few years, a lot of homeowners are saving money on their property tax because of that provision. A third question is What other exemptions are available? Well the most common other exemptions are a senior citizen exemption, a disabled exemption and an exemption for disabled veterans. For both a senior exemption and the disabled exemption, school districts are required to give a $10,000 exemption for your property taxes, but you can only claim one of the other even if you qualify for both. When you turn 65, you may also qualify for a tax ceiling. That is, the school district may not increase your taxes as long as you live in that home. The veterans exemption is able to disabled veterans and their surviving dependents. It entitles a disabled vet an exemption equal to a service-connected disability, up to 100% I put a list of all the exemptions available to you in Texas in the link below. Another question I often get is how do I apply for my homestead exemption? Well if you receive a piece of mail that offers to file your homestead exemption for you for a fee of $40 or $50, that is a scam and do not do it. You can claim your exemption for free simply by going to your county’s tax website, downloading the form and mailing it in yourself. So please save yourself some money by doing it that way. In the notes below, I put links to most of the forms you in need for the counties in Central Texas. You can file your form as early as January 1st but the deadline that you must file by is April 30th. Anyways, I hope this REAL ANSWER has been helpful for you. Please go to my website and sign up receive updates with more REAL ANSWERS, because if you don’t need it, I guarantee you a friend or family member who needs honest answers to their real estate questions. Thank you so much for watching. This is real estate and that is the REAL ANSWER.