By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

A reader writes: “I bought a home in 2018 and my taxes are escrowed by my mortgage company. How do I get a homestead exemption to get a discount on my taxes? Do I need to repeat the process every year? How much does it save me?”

You most definitely want to know how to file for a homestead exemption for your 2019 property taxes. To get a homestead exemption, you must own and live in the property as your principal residence as of Jan. 1 of that tax year. So, if you purchased in 2018, you may apply for that exemption after Jan. 1, 2019.

A homestead exemption removes part of your home’s value from taxation, so it lowers your taxes. I don’t know the details about your home to tell you how much a homestead exemption can save on your property taxes, but it is generally about 20 percent. Given the property tax rates in Texas, it is worth the few minutes it takes.  

To qualify, your home must also be owned by you as an individual (or individuals). A corporation or other business entity doesn’t qualify for this exemption. Do not pay someone else to do this for you. It is free and you can do it online in a few minutes.

Here is a step-by-step guide for how to apply for a homestead exemption in the DFW area:

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property taxAlthough we’ve warned you a couple of times, just in case you missed it — today is kind of a big deal if you own a home. Today is the deadline (unless you’re in Denton County) to protest your property taxes for this year.

If this has caught you unawares, don’t fret — one local company has come up with PropertyTax.io, a way to determine if you need to protest, compile your evidence if you do, and then download a complete report that you can file electronically with your county’s central appraisal district — in less than an hour in most cases (in fact, it took me about 10 minutes). (more…)