The easiest way to save money on your real estate taxes
I originally posted this on January 5th of 2009. The information has not changed and filing for a homestead exemption is still the easiest way to save money on your real estate taxes which is why I am reposting it.
These days we are all looking for ways to save money whether it be on our grocery bill or our real estate tax bill. The easiest way to save money on your Spring Texas real estate taxes is by filing for the general homestead exemption.
And it is as easy as cutting coupons out of the Sunday newspaper. The big advantage filing for the homestead exemption is …. you only have to file for it once to receive the money saving benefit of it year after year.
But beware and do not fall for the marketing scam that is prevalent during filing season. Because you do not have to pay a filing fee of $35 to $50 in order to receive a general homestead exemption on your home. You can file for the homestead exemption yourself. The form is only a single page and the instructions are easily understandable. And if you need help filing out the form, give us a call. We will be happy to help for free.
What do you have to do to qualify for the general homestead exemption?
In order to qualify for the homestead exemption, you have to meet three simple requirements: 1) You must own your home on January 1st of the tax year and 2) You must use the home as your primary residence and 3) you or your spouse have not claimed a general homestead exemption on another home.
So how much money do you save on your Spring Texas real estate taxes with a general homestead exemption?
- 20% of the Harris county portion or 0% of the Montgomery county portion because Montgomery county does not offer a homestead exemption. If you live in Montgomery county you still want to file for a homestead exemption because you are still eligible for a reduction in the school distrtict portion of your real estate taxes and the MUD portion if your MUD offers a homestead exemption.
- a minimum of $15,000 for the school district portion. Conroe, Klein, and Spring school districts all provide the state mandated minimum of the $15,000 reduction in the tax assessed value of your home.
- And potentially up to 20% of the MUD portion. Only some and NOT all MUDs offer a general homestead exemption.
Are there any oh by the ways …. that you should know about?
Yes. There are two things to remember: 1) You do NOT automatically receive the general homestead exemption just because you meet the qualifications and own a home. To receive the exemption you MUST file for it. If you do not file, you will not receive the exemption and 2) You can ONLY file for the general homestead exemption between January 1st and April 30th of the tax year.
So if filing and receiving the general homestead exemption is so easy, why do only 50% of Houstonians that qualify for the exemption receive it? That’s a real good question. And I believe the answer is because homeowners either a) thought they automatically receive the exemption or b) thought they filed for the exemption when they closed on their home or c) just do not know the homestead exemption exists.
The form you need to complete and mail can be located by clicking on this link for Harris county general homestead exemption or this link for the Montgomery county general homestead exemption.