You pay your real estate and property taxes on time and send the check by mail on the due date.
There’s a good chance you have never looked into the homestead exemption for your property. A homestead exemption protects the equity in your home from creditors who may want to seize it.
Homestead exemptions may apply to your home, and if they do not, you may be able to receive one.
So, how do I know if my home has a homestead exemption? Contact your county’s assessor’s office or search online for information about homestead exemptions.
Please note that homestead exemption is applied separately to each single-family home.
This article will explain how you can determine if the homestead exemption applies to your property and how to apply for it.
Also discussed in the article are the types of homestead exemptions available and the factors that determine eligibility.
How Do I Know If My Home Has Homestead Exemption? The Ultimate Guide
A homestead exemption only applies to the “primary residence,” in most cases, your principal residence.
A primary residence is a house or apartment used by the owner and resident. The value of the primary residence will determine if the property owner is eligible for a homestead exemption.
When you declare homestead exemption, you get property tax discounts. A homestead’s value qualifies for at least a 70% discount in many states, but there are no guarantees.
Below are ways to check and see if your home has a homestead exemption.
- Contact your local Assessor’s office and verify if you have a Homestead exemption on file.
- Search for your address on the Property Appraisal District website, which will show whether an exemption is being applied for or not.
- You can also look at your current tax bill. It will tell you if your home is currently receiving homestead exemption. If not, look into the benefits you will be receiving and how long it will take to complete the application process.
- Request for a certified copy of your homestead exemption from the Court Clerk.
Factors that Determine Whether you Qualify for Homestead Exemption
Homestead exemption is a tax break available to homeowners in many states that can save you hundreds of dollars on your property taxes each year.
Your primary residence has to meet specific requirements to qualify for homestead exemption. These requirements are different from one state to the other.
Also, they’re outlined in each state’s statutes. They include:
- Your location
- Property size
- Residency requirements
- The value of the property
- Amount of taxes due
- Type of ownership – Most states require that you own the property outright or have an informal agreement not to sell it within the duration of your tax dispute with the government.
- You must reside at the property for over six months every year.
There aren’t any hard and fast rules; it all depends on the state and the type of dispute you have with the government.
For example, if you plan on fighting back taxes from one particular state, find out if they allow an appeal process instead of court.
Similarly, if your property is valued at over $150K, you likely won’t receive any homestead benefits.
Yet, certain states are more lenient than others regarding qualifications for homestead exemption. So, research the specific requirements for their home before making the filing.
Types of homestead exemptions
Homestead exemptions are available in many states, and they can be pretty helpful. Here are some of the most common types:
Residence Homestead Exemption
This is a basic exemption that protects your home from creditors. It’s also called an “exempted homestead.”
You might not get this exemption if your home is worth more than a certain amount (usually $100,000).
Qualified Surviving Spouse
This exemption protects up to half of your family’s residence homestead (the other half goes to the surviving spouse).
It’s only available if the deceased spouse was head of household at death.
Moreover, you must have been married for at least two years and not separated for more than 90 days during the marriage (unless you were legally separated).
This exemption remains with you even if you remarry.
Disabled Veteran Exemption
The exemption may be available if you were injured while serving in the military or suffered an injury during wartime.
After meeting these qualifications, certain tax relief may also be available for your homeownership costs.
For instance, you can be exempt from taxation on the first $50,000 of the value of your residence.
The exemption increases to $100,000 if you were a prisoner of war or have a service-connected disability.
If a resident is disabled, they may be eligible for a reduction of up to $7,500 in property taxes.
Age 65 and Older
If a resident is 65 or older and meets certain income requirements, they may qualify for a tax reduction.
Applying for a Homestead Exemption
Homestead exemptions are available if you own your home and live in it.
The exact process varies depending on where you live, but here are some general steps to follow:
Learn about the filing process in your state or city.
You may be able to do this online or visit a local government office to fill out the paperwork. This is an easy way to save money on your taxes, and it’s completely free.
If you are unsure if the site is legitimate, call your county or local tax assessor’s office and ask them if they have an online application available for filling at home.
Put together all the documents that prove you own that home, such as property deeds and mortgage bills.
There must be proof that you still reside there, such as voter registration cards or tax returns. You’ll also need an ID, such as a passport or driver’s license.
To get the tax break for the current year, you must live in the home as your primary residence at the start of the year.
You won’t get the exemptions until January next year after moving into a new home mid-year.
If you own a home, research the facts about homestead exemption. By doing so, you will be protecting yourself from future taxation and able to save thousands in the long run.
For a property tax break, speak with your county assessor’s office.
They can tell you whether or not your home meets the homestead exemption requirements and what steps to take next.