Homestead exemptions remove part of your home's value from taxation, so they lower taxes. Only a homeowner's principal residence qualifies.
You must file an Application for Residential Homestead Exemption with the county appraisal district between January 1 and April 30 of the tax year: up to one year after you pay your taxes.
During the year, if you turn 65 or become disabled, you must apply for the 65 or older or disabled exemption no later than one year from the qualification date. Once you receive the exemption, you do not need to reapply unless the chief appraiser sends
THE TEXAS HOMESTEAD
In Texas, the homestead is the place of residence for a family or a single person, secure from forced sale by general creditors. The Texas Constitution gives each spouse, or single person, a possessory right in the homestead, whic is lost only by death or abandonment, and cannot be compromised by waiver or voluntary act of the homestead owner.
The term exemption, as used in the state Constitution, stems from the concept that the homestead is exempt from forced sale by a homestead claimant's general creditors. The homestead cannot ever be mortgaged unless the mortgage is for one of the following the seven purposes
1. To obtain money to finance the purchase of the homestead;
2 To obtain money to pay taxes due on the homestead;
3. To obtain money to improve the homestead (home improvement loan)
4. To obtain money to finance the purchase by one co-owner of another co-owner’s interest in the
homestead, by either agreement or court order (such as in a divorce decree);
5. To obtain money to pay off a federal tax lien;
6. To obtain money from a home equity loan; or
7. To obtain money from a reverse mortgage.
Article 16. Section 50 of the Texas Constitution sets forth the protection provided to the homestead
owner. Simply stated, a homeowner is protected from forced sale by his general creditors except for:
(1) the purchase money mortgage on the homestead;
(2) taxes due on the homestead;
(3) liens for work and materials used in improving the homestead provided
a. the contract to do the work was in writing and
b. signed by both husband and wife prior to the commencement of work.
c. filed for record in the county of the homestead
(Unfortunately, many home improvement loan situations do not follow the requirements specified in (3)a, b & c above, resulting in the loss of financing ability)
(4) a loan to buy out a co-owner’s (or ex-spouse’s) interest in the homestead as part of a divorce decree
or partition arrangement.
(5) a loan to pay off and release federal tax lien filed for the tax debt of BOTH spouses (or taxes
owed by the homestead owner if single)
(6) a home equity loan made pursuant to the requirements of the Texas Constitution
(7) a reverse mortgage made pursuant to the requirements of the Texas Constitution
In order to prevent the legislative branch of the government from casually changing the homestead
exemption, the exemption was incorporated into the State Constitution in 1845. Now only constitutional
amendments may change the substance of the exemption.