All Texas homeowners face challenges from high property taxes, but state law offers some relief for the disabled.
As a disabled homeowner, there are two primary methods you can use to reduce your property tax bills. First, you can challenge your home’s valuation through a Texas property tax protest. Second, you can ensure you receive all your qualified tax exemptions.
Your local property taxes are based on an annual assessment of your home’s value, with the assessed value being multiplied by each local taxing unit’s rate of taxation. As a simplified example, if your home is assessed at $250,000 and your local school district has a tax rate of 2%, you’ll pay $5,000 in year school taxes.
This applies to each local taxing unit, as you pay for not only schools but also county and city governments as well as special tax districts, like roads or water. However, Texas property tax exemptions help you pay less.
If a taxing unit offers an exemption you qualify for, it does not lower your home’s assessed value. Instead, the amount used to calculate your bills is reduced. For example, the general school district homestead exemption is for $40,000. If your home’s assessed value is $250,000, only $210,000 would be multiplied by the district’s tax rate of 2%. So, your annual school tax bill after the exemption would be $4,200, a savings of $800.
Every primary residence in Texas qualifies for the general residential homestead exemption of $40,000 for your local school taxes. This means that if you own your home and it is not a vacation or rental property, you can apply for the $40,000 exemption.
However, disabled persons also can receive an additional $10,000 exemption on their local school district taxes. Likewise, any taxing unit can choose to offer further exemptions of at least $5,000, up to 20% of a home’s assessed value.
To qualify for additional exemptions based on disability, you must prove eligibility for the Federal Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Program administered by the Social Security Administration. Because you must apply for exemptions (they are not automatically granted), you may need to show documentation of your disability to your local appraisal district.
Disabled veterans may be entitled to additional property tax exemptions beyond the general homestead exemption and mandatory $10,000 exemption for disabled persons.
If you have a 100% disability rating or determination of unemployability from the VA, you can qualify for a total appraised value exemption. This exemption will eliminate property taxes entirely for your residential homestead.
Even if you do not have a 100% disability rating, you may qualify for an exemption based on your disability rating:
Remember, these disabled veterans’ exemptions are in addition to other homestead exemptions. Additionally, unlike other homestead exemptions, these disabled exemptions can apply to any one property you own. Further, the disabled veteran exemption can be claimed by a surviving spouse or child (under 18 years old).
Maximizing your qualified exemptions is critical to reducing your property tax burdens. Texas law has relieved disabled persons from some of the burdens of local property taxes, but individuals must apply for exemptions to receive them. Ensuring you have received all the exemptions you may be eligible for is a significant first step toward cutting your tax bills.
However, there is a second course of action you can use to slash the property taxes levied on your home. You can challenge your home's assessed value by filing a Texas property tax protest.
Texas allows a professional representative to represent you throughout the tax protest process. Our experienced team at Watchtower Protest can handle gathering the evidence you need to win your protest. Whether through negotiating informally with your local appraisal district or presenting your case formally in front of an Appraisal Review Board, the Watchtower team is here to help.
You can sign-up for Watchtower’s Texas property tax protest services online through our convenient web portal. Begin the process of trying to lower your bills today. Best of all, Watchtower offers its protest services risk-free to all homeowners.
Learn about the various property tax exemptions for disabled persons and veterans in Texas, plus other ways to lower your tax bills.