The Appraisal District also administers all exemptions, both homestead and absolute exemptions. A homestead exemption removes part of the value of your residence from taxation and lowers your taxes. In order to qualify for the homestead exemption, you must own your home as of January 1 of the tax year and use the home as your principal residence. If you purchase your homestead after January 1st, you can pro-rate your homestead exemption from the date of purchase, if the prior owner did not have a homestead exemption on the property. If you have more than one house, you can only get exemptions for your main or principal residence. The amount of exemption granted by the taxing entities for each type of homestead exemption can be found here CURRENT TAX RATES. There are four types of homestead exemptions:
For all homeowners including heirs.
Age 65 or Older Homestead
In addition to the general homestead exemption, once you become 65 years of age, you are entitled to the over-65 homestead exemption that exempts an additional amount from the value of your home. This exemption becomes effective on your date of birth and applies to the taxes for the entire year in which you turn 65. Please contact our office once you turn 65 to ensure that you are receiving this exemption.
Once you receive the over-65 homestead exemption, you get a tax ceiling for your school taxes. In addition, Jefferson County and the City of Port Arthur also grant a tax ceiling. The taxes on your home for the entities granting the tax ceiling cannot increase above the lesser of the amount of taxes you would have paid the year you turned 65 based on a full year with the over-65 exemption or the amount of taxes paid in the following year. Should you move into a new residence after turning 65, this tax ceiling is transferable. Please contact the Appraisal District for more information on this matter.
A person with a disability may get an additional exemption. A “disability” means either (1) you cannot engage in gainful work because of a physical or mental disability or (2) you are 55 years of age, blind, and cannot engage in your previous work because of your blindness. If you receive disability benefits under the Federal Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Program administered by the Social Security Administration, you will qualify.
Disability benefits from any other program do not automatically qualify you for this exemption. You may need information on disability ratings from the civil service, retirement programs or from insurance documents, military records, or a doctor’s statement.
You may receive the disability exemption in addition to the general homestead exemption but not in addition to the age 65 or older homestead exemption.
A tax ceiling is also offered on the disability exemption by the school districts, Jefferson County, and the City of Port Arthur, and it is transferable.
Surviving Spouse Age 65 or Older or Disability Homestead
If your spouse who was receiving the age 65 or older or the disability homestead exemption dies, this exemption will transfer to the surviving spouse providing the spouse is 55 years of age or older and maintains ownership of the home. The surviving spouse must apply for this exemption.
100% Disabled Veteran Homestead
If you are a disabled veteran who receives from the US Department of Veteran Affairs (1) 100% disability compensation due to a service-connected disability; and (2) a rating of 100% disabled or of individual unemployability, you are entitled to an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of your residence homestead. Beginning in 2012, this benefit has been extended to the surviving spouse upon the veteran’s death with certain restrictions.
Disabled Veteran Exemption
Another type of exemption granted is the disabled veteran exemption. You may qualify for this exemption if you are either (1) a veteran who was disabled while serving with the US armed forces or (2) the surviving spouse of child (under 18 years of age and unmarried) of a disabled veteran or of a member of the armed forces who was killed while on active duty. You must be a Texas resident. This exemption can be applied to any one property; the property does not need to be your homestead. This includes homesteads donated to disabled veterans by charitable organizations at no cost or not more than 50 percent of the good faith estimate of the homestead’s market value. The amount of exemption is determined according to the chart below:
|0% to 9% disabled||$ 0|
|10% to 29% disabled||$ 5,000|
|30% to 49% disabled||$ 7,500|
|50% to 69% disabled||$ 10,000|
|In excess of 70% disabled||$ 12,000|
|10% disabled or more and over 65 years of age||$ 12,000|
|Loss of use of one or more limbs, total blindness in one or both eyes, or paraplegic||$ 12,000|
|100% disabled or unemployable||100% exempt|
Surviving Spouses of US Armed Service Member Killed in the Line of Duty
The surviving spouse of a member of the US services who is killed in action is allowed a total (100 percent) property tax exemption on his or her residence if the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the armed services member.
Surviving Spouses of First Responders Killed in the Line of Duty
The eligible surviving spouse of a first responder killed in the line of duty is allowed a total (100 percent) property tax exemption on his or her residence if the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the first responder.
How to File for a Homestead Exemption on Your Home
You must use the District’s application form. <Click Here> to go to the “Forms” section to print a homestead exemption application form.
Exemption applications, other than the over-65 homestead exemption, must be filed between January 1 and May 1 of each tax year. The over-65 homestead exemption can be filed once you turn 65 years of age. Once an application is granted, you do not need to file again unless requested by the District. Be sure to include a copy of your driver’s license or state-issued personal identification card with your application. Provide all the information and the documentation request. For example, if you are claiming an Age 65 or Older or Disability Homestead, you need to show proof of age or disability.
You may file late for a homestead exemption up to two years after the date the taxes would become delinquent and a disabled veteran’s exemption up to five years after the date taxes would become delinquent. You will receive a new tax statement with a lower amount or a refund if you have already paid your taxes.
Your completed application may be mailed or scanned and emailed to our office by the deadline date.
How Are Exemptions Affected When a Property Sells?
When a property sells with only a general homestead, the homestead exemption remains with the property for the remaining portion of the year. If the buyer qualifies for the general homestead exemption in the subsequent tax year, the taxes as they relate to the exemption will not be affected by the sale as the buyer will receive the same exemption as the seller. Taxes will increase; however, if the buyer does not use the property as a residential homestead.
Taxes may also be affected if the seller had a limited appraised value on the property. The Texas Property Tax Code prohibits the Appraisal District from increasing properties with a homestead exemption to no more than 10 percent per year unless new improvements, excluding ordinary maintenance, have been made. This limitation takes effect on January 1 of the tax year following the first tax year the taxpayer qualifies for any homestead exemption and expires on January 1 of the first tax year that neither the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse qualifies for a homestead exemption. These properties carry two values:
- the limited appraised value (assessed) which is the value, less exemptions, that taxes will be based on, and
- the market value which is the true value of the property
For example, if a property is appraised at $100,000 in the prior year, and sales information is received that causes the District to increase the value to $115,000 in the current year, the property will have a market value of $115,000, but the assessed value will be $110,000 ($100,000 X 110%). When a property with the limited appraised value sells, the limit is removed, and taxes will be based on the market value.
When a property sells with an over-65 or disability exemption, the effect on taxes can be dramatic. While the general homestead exemption remains with the property for the remaining portion of the year, property owners can transfer the over-65 or disability exemption to their new home, causing the taxes from the date of sale to be prorated at a higher amount. If the property owner does not transfer these exemptions, they will remain with the property until the next tax year. Since the taxes for the school districts, Jefferson County, and the City of Port Arthur are frozen at the amount that was assessed when the property owner qualified for the exemption, once these exemptions are removed, the tax freeze is also removed.