January 20, 2021

What property tax exemptions are you eligible for as an individual property owner in Texas?

Local taxing units offer a variety of partial or total exemptions from appraised values for local property taxes. Such exemptions are determined by at least one of the following three issues:
  • The owner’s eligibility.
  • The property’s qualifications.
  • The property’s use.

Click here to know more about the owner and property's eligibility to qualify for exemptions.

The following are the types of property tax exemptions available to property owners in the state of Texas.

Residence Homestead

Tax Code Section 11.13 defines the conditions to be fulfilled for the property and owner to claim residence homestead exemptions on a property. This exemption is concerned with specific improvements, the amount of land and whether the property is the owner's principal residence. The homestead includes up to 20 acres of land and any improvements used for residential purposes.

A qualified homeowner does not lose the homestead exemption if the homeowner does not establish a different principal residence, intends to return and occupy the residence and is temporarily absent for a period of less than two years.

Find more details on the exemptions you can claim on your residence homestead here.

General residence homestead

The general residence homestead exemption can be claimed as long as the owner has an ownership interest in the property and uses the property as the principal residence. The exemption only applies to the part of the property used for residing and not for business or any other use. Such an exemption can only be claimed on one property, whether within the state of Texas or outside.

A general residence homestead exemption must mandatorily be provided by schools districts while other taxing units such as city, county, school district or special district have the option to locally determine and offer a separate residence homestead exemption. Counties are required to offer an exemption if farm-to-market roads or flood control taxes are collected.

Know more about the exemptions you can claim on your property of principal residence here.

Aged 65 or disabled

Texas law requires school districts to offer a mandatory exemption on the residence homesteads of owners aged 65 or older or disabled. Other taxing units such as city, county, school district or special district have the option to locally determine and offer a separate residence homestead exemption for property owners aged 65 or older or disabled. A disabled person must meet the definition of disabled for the purpose of payment of disability insurance benefits under the Federal Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Act.

Apart from age and disability factors, a person must live in the house or prove it to be his/her principal residence to claim this exemption. If the conditions are fulfilled, a surviving spouse of the owner may continue to receive the optional exemption if the surviving spouse is aged 55 or older at the time of death and lives in and owns the home, and applies for the exemption.

The definitions of disability or age 65 are applicable at any time during the tax year and the law does not need the requirements to be met as of on January 1 of the tax year.

An eligible disabled person aged 65 or older may receive both exemptions in the same year, but not from the same taxing unit.

Know more about the requirements to be met, ceilings placed on school taxes and other tax limitations offered by county, city or junior college districts for property owners aged 65 or older or disabled here.

Manufactured and Cooperative housing

A manufactured home may qualify as a residential homestead if the property owner follows detailed provisions concerning a statement of ownership. Tax Code Section 11.432(a) lists the requirements to apply and qualify for such an exemption.

A property owner may also receive a homestead exemption for cooperative (co-op) housing. Each individual stockholder's interests are separately listed and appraised by the chief appraiser. Each stockholder may separately protest and appeal the appraisal like an individual property owner.

Here's what you must know if you want to protest your property's appraised value in Texas.

Uninhabitable or unstable residence

A residence qualified for property tax exemptions may continue to receive the exemptions if rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage, provided the owner constructs a replacement qualified residential structure on the land and does not establish a different principal residence and intends to return to occupy the same structure as the principal residence.

In order to retain the exemptions, an owner must begin active construction to replace the uninhabitable residence on the land not later than one year after the owner ceases to occupy the property. Such an exemption may not be received for more than 2 years.

This provision is allowed up to 5 years in case of property in a governer-declared disaster area.

Know more about the provisions under this exemption and qualifications here.

Temporary exemption for disaster damage

A qualified property with at least 15% disaster damage in a governer-declared disaster area is eligible for this exemption. A property owner must apply for the temporary exemption no later than 105 days after the governor declares a disaster area. The chief appraiser determines the qualification for the exemption. The damage assessment rating determines the percentage of the appraised value of the qualified property to be exempted.

The temporary disaster area exemption expires on January 1 of the first tax year in which the property is reappraised.

Tax Code Section 11.35 lists the qualifications for a property to be exempted under this provision. You can learn more about it here.

Veteran's Exemption

Tax code sections 11.131, 11.132, 11.133, 11.22 and 11.23(a) define the requirements to claim partial or total exemptions for any property owned by disabled veterans, their surviving spouses and children of deceased disabled veterans.

Exemptions are also applicable for residence homesteads donated at no cost or not more than 50% of the good faith estimate of its market value to disabled veterans by charitable organizations, that extends to surviving spouses who have not remarried.

Qualified veterans’ organizations are defined as non-profit organizations composed primarily of members or former members of the armed forces of the United States or its allies and that are chartered or incorporated by the U.S. Congress. Property owned by veterans' organizations are exempt.

Know all about exemptions veterans’ organizations, veterans and their surviving spouses and children can claim on property taxes in Texas here.

Surviving spouse of first responder

Tax Code section 11.134 offers a total property tax exemption for the residence homestead of a surviving spouse of a first responder killed or fatally injured in the line of duty, provided the surviving spouse hasn't remarried. This exemption applies regardless of the date of the first responder’s death.

The surviving spouse is also eligible to receive an exemption on the same dollar amount as the former homestead if the surviving spouse decides to qualify a different property as the residence homestead.

Now that you know that tax exemptions you qualify for, have you applied for all the property tax exemption provisions made available to you by Texas law?
Learn about applying for property tax exemption.

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