by Janet Owens
on Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at 2:10pm.
A state law that went into effect the 3rd quarter of 2011 changed proof of residency requirements for homeowners applying for the homestead exemption as well as those applying for the over 65, disability, disabled veterans, homeowner's surviving spouse, and manufactured home exemptions. This new law did not change the requirements for those who already have homestead exemptions.
The new law requires applicants to provide a copy of their Texas driver's license or state ID card and vehicle registration receipt. The documents must have the same address as the property for which the exemption is requested.
If the applicant does not own a vehicle, he/she must produce an affidavit stating that he/she does not own a vehicle and also provide a copy of a utiltiy bill with the correct address.
If you have not already filed for the exemption, you will need to do so between January 1 and April 30. You have up to one year to do so if you have already paid your taxes but didn't file. If you turn 65 or become disabled during the year, you must file for the over 65 or disabled exemption. You have up to one year from the date of qualification.
What does the homestead exemption do? It removes part of your home's value for taxation by $15,000. For example, let's say your home is appraised at $100,000. With a homestead exemption, you will only be taxed on $85,000. If you're over 65 or disabled, you will see a further $10,000 reduction in the home's taxable value.