If you're a homeowner in Fort Bend County, Texas, then you probably already know that property taxes can cost you a pretty penny each year.
But did you know that you may be eligible for a homestead exemption on your property taxes? A homestead exemption reduces the amount of property taxes you have to pay on your home, so it’s essential that you understand the different types of exemptions available to you.
In this blog post, we'll provide an overview of what homestead exemptions are and how you can use them to lower your Fort Bend property taxes. So read on to learn more!
A homestead exemption is a type of property tax reduction that Texas offers to homeowners.
Homestead exemptions work by reducing the taxable value of your primary residence, which in turn lowers your property taxes. For example, if your home is valued at $250,000 and you receive a $50,000 homestead exemption, you would pay taxes as if your home was only worth $200,000.
Texas law requires school districts to offer a $40,000 general homestead exemption from the market value of a residence homestead. In addition, Fort Bend County offers a 20% homestead exemption. So, if your home’s appraised value is $100,000, your school district taxes would be based on a home value of $60,000, and your county taxes would be based on a value of $80,000.
Additional homestead exemptions are also available for homeowners age 65 or older and disabled veterans.
You can only receive a Texas property tax homestead exemption for your “residence homestead.”
To qualify for a general homestead exemption, the home must be titled to a person rather than a corporation or another type of business entity. You must also use the property as your principal residence as of January 1 of the tax year you are applying for an exemption.
Standalone homes, condominiums, and manufactured homes on leased or owned land can all qualify as residence homesteads if the person who is living in the home is the one who owns it. Likewise, you can include up to 20 acres of land as part of your homestead as long as you own the land and use it for a residential purpose.
In Fort Bend, you can apply for homestead exemptions online using the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District (FBCAD)’s online portal. You will need to register for an account in order to do this. The FBCAD’s website includes a video with detailed instructions for applying online.
You can also choose to submit a paper Residence Homestead Exemption Application form instead. Regardless of the application method you choose, you must submit the completed application and any required documentation by April 30 of the year for which you are requesting an exemption.
However, once a homestead exemption has been approved, you won’t need to reapply unless the chief appraiser requires you to do so. You will also need to submit a new application if you move to a new primary residence.
Homestead exemptions can offer a significant amount of tax relief to homeowners. But you can still take additional steps to reduce your property taxes even more.
One of the best ways to lower your Fort Bend property taxes is to file a property tax protest. A property tax protest allows you to challenge the assessed value of your home and, if your protest is successful, further reduce the amount of property taxes you owe.
For instance, say that the FBCAD assesses your home value at $200,000. If you file a property tax protest and get the appraisal value reduced to $175,000, your homestead exemptions will be subtracted from the new lower amount, saving you even more.
You can also file a property tax protest for properties that are not your primary residence and therefore don’t qualify for homestead exemptions.
If you want to lower your Fort Bend County property tax bill, sign up for Watchtower Protest’s professional property tax protest services today. We will protest your home’s appraisal value on your behalf for no upfront fee. And best of all, you won’t owe us a dime until we get your property taxes lowered, so there’s zero risk to signing up.
This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about filing a Texas Do It Yourself (DIY) property tax protest.