Texas Legislators Demand More Documentation from Homestead Exemption Applicants

by Houston Agent

On the first of this month, changes to the process for obtaining a homestead exemption in the state of Texas became effective. A simple application is no longer enough.

The homestead exemptions currently available for the state of Texas include the general residence exemption, the over-65 exemption, the disability exemption, the 100 percent disabled veteran exemption, the extension of exemption for a surviving spouse, and the exemption for a manufactured home. According to HAR Connect, all of these types require more documentation for exemption as of September 1, 2011.

Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature approved new standards for several types of homestead exemptions which required new forms of disclosure to be provided. Proof aside from the exemption application is now necessary to be exempt from full property taxes.

Those seeking homestead exemptions for property tax purposes must present a copy of their Texas driver’s license or state identification card and a copy of their vehicle registration receipt in addition to the exemption application. The addresses on these documents must match the address for which the exemption is being sought. For those who do not own a vehicle, a notarized affidavit proving that fact must be provided along with a current utility bill. The address on the bill must match the address of the residence of the desired exception.

Each specific case of application for exemption may have additional requirements, depending on the reasoning for the exemption.

The exemption for manufactured home requires several other forms of documentation, such as a statement of ownership which must be issued by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and a copy of purchase contract or a receipt which proves that the applicant is the valid owner of the manufactured home. If proof of purchase cannot be provided, an affidavit proving that the applicant is the owner of the home, the seller of the manufactured home failed to provide a purchase contract, and the applicant could not locate the seller after a good faith attempt must be provided.

To avoid confusion, the modified requirements for obtaining homestead exemption have been posted on the Harris County Appraisal District website at http://www.hcad.org.

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