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Homestead Exemption (11)

A homestead can be a separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it.
A homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.

  • General Residence Homestead
  • Age 65 or Older Exemption
  • Age 55 or Surviving Spouse of individual who qualified for Age 65 or Older Exemption
  • Disabled Person Exemption
  • 100% Disabled Veterans or Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran who received the 100% Disabled Veteran’s Exemption.
  • Donated Residence Homestead of Partially Disabled Veteran or Surviving Spouse of Disabled Veteran who qualified for Donated Residence Homestead
  • Surviving Spouse of Member of Armed Forces Killed in Action
  • Partially Disabled Veteran or Survivor (not limited to your homestead).
  • Charitable, Religious, Freeport and Pollution Control.

No, only a homeowner’s principal residence qualifies.

To qualify, a home must meet the definition of a residence homestead:

The home’s owner must be an individual (for example: not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as his or her principal residence on January 1 of the tax year.
If you are age 65 or older, or disabled, the January 1 ownership and residency are not required for the age 65 or disabled homestead exemption.

An exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and lowers your tax bill.

In addition to the state mandated exemption amounts for school taxes, each taxing unit decides whether to offer the optional exemption and at what percentage.

For example, Fort Bend County offers a 20 percent exemption for the Homestead exemption.

If your property were valued at $200,000 and you qualify for the 20 percent Homestead exemption from the county ($40,000), you would pay county taxes on your home as if it were worth only $160,000. The amount of savings depends on the exemption and the amount of exemption allowed by each taxing unit.

You may apply for homestead exemptions on your principal residence.

Homestead exemptions remove part of your home’s value from taxation, so they lower your taxes.

For example, your home is appraised at $100,000, and you qualify for a $15,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $85,000.

Taxing units have the option to offer a separate exemption of up to 20 percent of the total value.

You may apply on or after your 65th birth date.

Once applied it will have an effective date of January 01 of the year you are applying.

No, that is not necessarily true.

If you are 65 or older your residence homestead qualifies for more exemptions which will result in greater tax savings. The amount of the exemptions that are granted by each taxing unit is subtracted from the market value of your residence and the taxes are calculated on that “lower value”.

In addition, when you turn 65, you may receive a tax ceiling for your total school taxes; that is, the school taxes on your residence cannot increase as long as you own and live in that home. The ceiling is set at the amount you pay in the year that you qualify for the aged 65 or older exemption. The school taxes on your home subsequently may fall below the ceiling. If you significantly improve your home (other than ordinary repairs and maintenance), tax ceilings can go up.

For example, if you add a room or garage to your home, your tax ceiling can rise. It will also change if you move to a new home.

The appraisal district can only automatically process the over 65 exemption if it has the appropriate documentation on hand.

Fort Bend CAD requires proof of age to grant an over 65 exemption.

Acceptable proof of age includes either a copy of the front side of your Texas driver’s license or Texas Identification card or a copy of your birth certificate.

It is always best to file an exemption application with the appropriate documents to ensure that the Over 65 exemption is processed.

The last day for property owners to file most exemption and special appraisal applications is April 30. Certain property owners may late file homestead exemption applications, as indicated below:

  • A property owner may file an age 65 or older exemption application up to two years after the date on which he or she became age 65.
  • A property owner may file a donated residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran exemption application for up to two years after he or she qualifies.
  • A property owner may file a homestead exemption application up to two years after the date the taxes become delinquent.
  • A property owner may file a disabled veteran exemption application up to five years after the date the taxes become delinquent.

A religious organization denied a Tax Code Section 11.20 exemption because of its charter must amend the charter and file a new application by May 31 or before the 60th day after the date of notification of the exemption denial, whichever is later.

A private school denied a Tax Code Section 11.21 exemption because of its charter must amend the charter and file a new application by June 30 or the 60th day after the date of notification of the exemption denial, whichever is later.

If you have an over-65 or a disability homestead exemption you should be benefitting from a tax “ceiling” applied to your school taxes. If you decide to move, you can request a Tax Ceiling Certificate from your former appraisal district that may help reduce the school taxes on your new home.

It is important to understand how this works. The “tax ceiling”, sometimes erroneously called a “tax freeze”, is an upper limit dollar amount applied by your local school district’s tax office to your school taxes. It is set when you first qualify for either the over-65 exemption or the disability exemption.

Generally, your school taxes can never go above the tax ceiling for as long as you live in your home. Taxes may be lower than the ceiling for some years, but never higher. The only exception would be if you significantly improved your house; for example, by adding a new room or a second story. (Normal repairs and maintenance such as a new roof or new paint do not count.) If significant improvements were ever made, then a new tax ceiling including the improved value would be calculated.

What happens if you move? First you need to apply for the over-65 exemption or the disability exemption on your new home. The application will ask for the new and old addresses. When you get the new exemption, you can benefit by transferring the percentage of school taxes paid on your former home.

Please note: it is not the upper limit dollar amount but the percentage of school taxes paid that is transferable.

For example, if your school tax ceiling is currently $1,000, that number is compared to what you would be paying in school taxes without the tax ceiling in place. If you would be paying $4,000 in school taxes, then the percentage of taxes you are paying is 25%. (1,000 divided by 4,000 = 1/4 or 25%.) It is this percentage that is transferrable by the Tax Ceiling Certificate. This means that if the school taxes in your new home would be $5,000 with your new Over 65 or Disability Exemption in place, your new school taxes could have the 25% limit transferred and applied from your former home. Then your new school taxes would only be 25% of $5,000 or $1,250. That’s a savings of $3,750 per year, which can make a big difference if you are on a fixed income.

To Request a Tax Ceiling Certificate

Please call (281) 344-8623, email info@fbcad.org, or stop by the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District at 2801 B.F. Terry Blvd, Rosenberg, Texas 77471. We will make sure we have all your correct information on file and have your new address and phone number. Then we will contact your school district and calculate your transferable percentage. If you have any questions about the process, please call or visit our office.

When you receive your Notice of Appraised Value, you may notice two different values printed on it. Having multiple and different values on the notice can be confusing, especially with regards to the Homestead Exemption and the “homestead cap.”

Market Value

Per the Texas Property Tax Code, all taxable property must be valued at 100 percent of market value as of January 1 each year. This value is shown on your notice as “Market Value.” Because it is based on recent sales, the Market Value may change upwards or downwards any amount depending on recent market trends and is not limited to increases of 10 percent or more. It may change as much as the current market changes.

Appraised Value (“Homestead Cap Value”)

Per the Texas Property Tax Code, an exemption for taxation is available to an individual’s primary residence. One of the features of the exemption is a limit to the amount that the value for taxation can increase from one year to the next. This limit is frequently referred to as the “homestead cap.” The “capped” value is shown as the “Appraised Value”. The appraised value is limited by the Homestead Exemption and may not go up more than 10 percent in one year in most cases as long as the exemption was in place for the prior year for the current owner (There’s an exception for new construction). This number is calculated using the previous year’s Appraised Value and a “cap” of 10 percent.”

Monday — Friday / 8:00AM — 4:30PM
2801 B. F. Terry Blvd. Rosenberg, TX 77471

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