t's that time.... if you bought a new home and closed by December 31 and moved in by January 1, you can claim the homestead exemption.
There are two benefits in filing homestead. One is to prevent a forced sale of the homeowner's primary residence in the case of foreclosure or bankruptcy. Your primary residence can be valued at any dollar amount and must be less than 10 acres in an urban area and 100 acres in rural.
The second perk is saving you thousands and thousands on your tax appraised value and will decrease the taxes you will owe. The deadline for filing is April 30. Where can you get the forms to send to the appropriate taxing authorities?
Collin County homestead form:
Dallas County homestead forms:
Not all homes qualify for the homestead exemption. Only a homeowner's principal residence qualifies. To qualify, a home must meet the definition of a residence homestead: The home's owner must be an individual (for example: not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as his or her principal residence on January 1 of the tax year. If you are age 65 or older, the January 1 ownership and residency are not required for the age 65 homestead exemption.
If you temporarily move away from the home, you still can qualify for an exemption if you don’t establish another principal residence and intend to return in a period of less than two years. Homeowners in military service outside the U.S. or in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity or aging may exceed the two-year period.
Beware: there are companies that will try to bill you for filing homestead and it comes in an official looking envelope. You do not need to pay for this service. It is completely free and forms are available at the above links. If you ever receive such a solicitation letter and want to verify its authenticity, you may call the Consumer Protection Division at the Texas Attorney General's Office at (800) 621-0508.