New Homestead Exemption Law Benefits Residential Purchasers

Before a recent change in the Texas Tax Code, a person who purchased a home was not eligible for a property-tax homestead exemption until January 1 of the following year. This caused the homebuyer to lose out on any benefit of the homestead exemption for up to a year after purchase. For example, a person who purchased a home on January 2, 2020, was not eligible to benefit from a homestead exemption until 2021. 

Senate Bill 8 by Sen. Bettencourt, passed in the second special session of the 87th Texas Legislature and effective January 1, 2022, changed the statute to allow recent homebuyers to receive the homestead exemption beginning on the date they obtain ownership. To receive the homestead exemption, the new owner must provide to the central appraisal district all the required documents and the home must be the homebuyer’s principal residence. 

How Does the New Law Affect the April 30 Deadline?

The new law allows the homebuyer to apply for a homestead exemption immediately. As of January 1, 2022, there is no longer a requirement of applying by April 30. A new homeowner must apply for the exemption for the applicable portion of the tax year before the first anniversary of the date the person acquired the property. (The April 30 deadline still applies for other types of exemptions.) 

How Does the New Law Affect the Process for Applying for a Homestead Exemption?

Though the timing is different, the process should be similar. Homebuyers should check with their central appraisal district for detailed instructions.

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