Homestead exemptions in Texas provide homeowners tax breaks and protection from losing their home to creditors. According to Dallas real estate agent Larry Regen, only the mortgage holder, taxing authority or the holder of a note for a self-improvement loan can repossess the house or force an owner to sell the home to repay a debt. Any individual homeowner in Texas can apply and be granted a homestead exemption so long as they meet the specified requirements regarding the property.
Verify that you meet the qualifying owner requirements to receive a homestead exemption in Texas. According to the state of Texas website, only a principal residence qualifies, meaning no rental properties or second homes are allowed to receive the exemption. Further, the state notes that only individual owners can receive the break; no companies or businesses are allowed to receive the benefit.
You must use the home as a principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year unless you are at least 65 years old, in which case you can qualify anyway. If you purchase a home after Jan. 1, you cannot qualify for the homestead exemption until the following year.
Download, print and send in the Texas Application For Residential Homestead Exemption form. This form should be mailed or delivered to your county's appraisal district. This form may be filed up to a year after taxes on the home are due. Exemption tax breaks vary based on circumstances and county, but the general exemption allows for $15,000 to be taken off the value of the property before the tax rate is applied.