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Maximizing Your Real Estate Investment: Your Best Guide to Understanding Homestead Exemptions in Austin, Texas

Are you a homeowner in Austin, eager to slash your property taxes? Discovering how to apply for a homestead exemption could lead to significant savings. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll demystify the homestead exemption process, ensuring you make the most of your real estate investment in Austin.

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What Exactly is a Homestead Exemption?

A homestead exemption is a tax relief measure that reduces the taxable value of your property, resulting in lower property taxes. Let’s say your home is valued at $300,000, and you qualify for a $20,000 homestead exemption. This means you’ll only be taxed on $280,000 of your property’s value. By subtracting a portion of your home’s value from taxation, you could save thousands of dollars annually.

How to File Your Homestead Exemption

Filing for a homestead exemption in Austin, Texas, has become more convenient in recent years, with many counties offering online applications. Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing:

  • Find Your County’s Appraisal District Website: Visit the website of your county’s Appraisal District. For instance, if you’re in Travis County, head to the Travis Central Appraisal District website. Below are links that you can use:

    Travis County
    Travis Central Appraisal District Website:

    Williamson County
    Williamson Central Appraisal District Website:

    Hays County
    Hays Central Appraisal District Website:
  • Complete the Online Application: Fill out the application form available on the website. Ensure all required fields are accurately filled.
  • Submit Required Documentation: You may need to provide documents such as proof of ownership, proof of residency, and identification. Make sure to include all necessary paperwork to avoid delays.
  • File Before the Deadline: Be mindful of the filing deadline, which varies by county. Submit your application well before the deadline to ensure it’s processed for the current tax year.

Required Documents and Mailing Addresses

If the online option is unavailable or if you prefer traditional mail, here’s what you need to do:

Send all documents to the Appraisal District for your county. Below are the mailing addresses:

  • Travis County Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 149012, Austin, TX 78714-9012
  • Williamson County Mailing Address: 625 FM 1460, Georgetown, TX 78626-8050
  • Hays County Mailing Address: 21001 IH 35 North, Kyle, Texas 78640
  • Bastrop County Mailing Address: P.O. Box 578, Bastrop, TX 78602
  • Burnet County Mailing Address: P.O. Box 908, Burnet, TX 78611-0908
  • Llano County Mailing Address: 103 E. Sandstone St., Llano, Texas 78643
  • Bell County Mailing Address: P.O. Box 390, Belton, Texas 76513

Include Driver’s License or Identification Card: Don’t forget to include a copy of your Driver’s License or Identification Card. Ensure your driver’s license is issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TX DPS), with the address matching the homestead address.

Recent Changes to the Homestead Exemption

  • Williamson County Updates (May 2022): Williamson County implemented notable updates to property tax exemptions. Exemptions for homeowners aged 65 and older or disabled were raised to $125,000. Additionally, all homeowners saw an increase in property tax exemptions to 5% of their homestead’s assessed value or a minimum of $5,000. Property owners can apply for these exemptions free of charge through the Williamson Central Appraisal District.
  • Proposition 1 (May 2022): Proposition 1, passed in May 2022, aims to reduce school district property taxes for homeowners aged 65 and older or disabled. While this change won’t eliminate any property tax cap, it will further lower property taxes for eligible homeowners.
  • Proposition 2 (May 2022): Another measure, Proposition 2, passed in May 2022, increasing the state’s homestead exemption for school districts from $25,000 to $40,000.
  • New Law (Effective January 1, 2022): As of January 1, 2022, a new law allows homeowners to file a homestead exemption from the date they begin living on the property, without needing to wait until the next calendar year to file.
  • Travis County Updates (June 29, 2021): Travis County voted to enhance exemptions for seniors and disabled individuals for the fiscal year 2020. This adjustment raised the exemptions for both groups from $85,500 to $100,000.
  • Texas Voter Decision (November 3, 2015): On November 3, 2015, Texas voters elected to raise the homestead exemption for school property tax from $15,000 to $25,000. This decision resulted in average savings of $125 per year for homeowners.

These changes reflect ongoing efforts to provide financial relief and support to homeowners in Austin, Texas, through the homestead exemption program.

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Types of Homestead Exemptions Available

Eligibility can vary based on factors like age, location, disability, or veteran status. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of exemptions you might qualify for:

  • School Taxes Exemption: All homeowners with a residence homestead may qualify for a Homestead Exemption from their home’s value for school taxes.
  • County Taxes Exemption: In some cases, if a county levies a special tax for purposes like farm-to-market roads or flood control, a residence homestead owner might receive an exemption for this tax. Additionally, if the county offers an optional exemption for homeowners aged 65 or older or those with a disability, they will receive only the local-option exemption.
  • Age 65 or Older and Disabled Exemptions: Individuals aged 65 and above and/or disabled residence homestead owners may be eligible for a Homestead Exemption for school taxes, along with the exemption available to all homeowners. However, if the owner qualifies for both the exemption for 65 and older homeowners and the exemption for disabled homeowners, they must choose one or the other for school taxes, as they cannot receive both exemptions.
  • Optional Percentage Exemptions: Any taxing unit, such as a city, county, school, or special district, may offer an exemption based on a percentage of a home’s value. Each taxing unit decides whether to offer this exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other home exemption for which an owner qualifies. The taxing unit must make this decision before July 1 of the tax year.
  • Optional 65 or Older or Disabled Exemptions: Any taxing unit has the option to offer an additional exemption amount for taxpayers aged 65 or older and/or disabled.
  • Disabled Veteran Homeowners: Disabled veteran homeowners may also be eligible for specific exemptions, limitations, and special instructions. For more information, you can refer to resources dedicated to disabled veteran homeowners.

Homestead FAQs

When navigating the process of filing for a homestead exemption, understanding common questions and answers can be incredibly helpful. Here are some relevant Q&As to provide insight into the process:

A: It’s advisable to file for the homestead exemption as soon as the homeowner moves into the home. It is prorated in the year of purchase, potentially saving money if filed immediately. It’s important to update the driver’s license to reflect the property address.

A: A homestead cap sets a limit on the taxable value of a property from year to year. The appraisal district determines this value as the “appraised value.” This limitation curbs the annual increase of property tax bills by reducing the value subject to taxation. For residence homesteads, the annual increase is capped at 10% more than the previous year’s appraised value, including any new improvements.

A: No, homestead caps cannot transfer if there is a change in property ownership.

A: The homestead cap becomes applicable in the second full year of having a homestead. For instance, if a home was purchased after January 1, 2022, the first full year of homestead would be 2023. Therefore, the 10% cap doesn’t take effect until the second full year, which would be 2024 for a home purchased and occupied after January 1, 2022.


Filing for a homestead exemption in Austin, Texas, can lead to substantial property tax savings and provide financial relief for homeowners. By understanding the application process and the types of exemptions available, you can unlock valuable tax benefits for your real estate investment. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to lower your property taxes and secure your financial future in the vibrant city of Austin, Texas.

If you need more help, always know that you can reach out if you have any questions. 

And in case you want to protest taxes, don’t hesitate to reach out for names of companies to use.

Sue Mercado


Sue Mercado

Native Austinite | Austin Real Estate Broker | Authentically Austin Style l Certified Luxury Home Specialist l Certified Negotiator

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