One of the most common tax benefits of home ownership (outside of mortgage interest) is the Homestead Exemption for your primary residence. Surprisingly, it is often ignored and/or misunderstood by homeowners. Simply put, the Homestead Exemption reduces the taxable value of your home, resulting in a lower property tax bill. What's not to like about that?
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 (Source - Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts).
While buyer in most cases “inherit” the exemption when they bought the property, homeowners must apply for their own exemption. This means that if you bought the property last year, we strongly recommend that you file your application this year. For example, if you bought in 2018, you should file in 2019. The earlier in the year, the better! After you get the exemption, you shouldn’t have to worry about this until you buy your next primary residence.
We recommend that homeowners submit their application no later than January 31, although the deadline is April 30 for the year you're requesting the exemption. Keep in mind that it doesn’t cost a penny to request it - so ignore all the mailers you have received that would gladly do this for you for a fee. Please make sure that you read the information provided by the State, as well as the application itself.
For your convenience, to follow is the application for Montgomery and Harris Counties, as well as their contact information - which you will need when filling out the form. For detailed questions about tax impacts or eligibility, consult the State site, or talk to your tax professional.