Tips for Property Owner Exemptions

Tips for Property Owner Exemptions

Tips for Williamson County Property Owners to Take Advantage of Available Property Tax Exemptions 

TIP #1 – Worth repeating: No need to wait until the new year to apply for your homestead and other exemptions.

  1. Most exemptions are effective January 1 of the first year the property is owned and occupied.  However, we accept applications for all exemption types year-round.  Before applying, the applicant must have updated their Texas issued driver license to match the property address to submit with their exemption application.  
  2. The Homestead application can be submitted online at www.wcad.org.  Simply search for your property and access the online form by selecting the HS Exemption icon.  
  3. The Homestead application form 50-114 can also be printed off the comptrollers website at https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/ and delivered to our office by mail to the address provided below.
  4. This form is used for several homestead exemptions, including: • General Residence Homestead • Disabled Person • Person Age 65 or older • 100% Disabled Veteran • Surviving Spouses of a:  Disabled Person, Person Age 65 or older, 100% Disabled Veteran, Armed Services Member Killed In Action & First Responder Killed in the Line of Duty. 
  5. NEW!!! The application for Disabled Veteran’s or Survivor’s Exemption can be submitted online at https://forms.wcad.org/#/a/form/DisabledVet/new.  This is for our Veteran’s awarded a disability rating between 10% and 90% by the VA administration.
  6. Filing these forms is FREE.  Notices received from companies offering to file these on your behalf for a fee should be disregarded
Tip #2 In addition to Homestead exemptions, the state offers additional exemptions to Disabled Veterans with disability ratings ranging from 10% to 90%.  This application can now be submitted online at www.wcad.org, under the Most Requested Forms section.  A copy of form 50-135 can be found in the same location and on the comptroller’s website.

Tip #3 – Residents who qualify for the Over the Age of 65, Disabled Person & Disabled Veteran exemption can also apply to defer their taxes.  A tax lien remains on the property and will continue to accrue at an annual 5% interest rate during the deferral period.  The Tax Deferral application form 50-126 can be found under Forms on www.wcad.org and on the comptroller’s website.

Tip #4 – Late filing provision – Texas tax code provides a late filing provision that allows property owners to apply for their homestead exemptions up to 2 years after the taxes are due for the year being applied for. When filing for multiple years, no need to submit multiple applications.  Just submit one application for the earliest year, and the approved exemption will be applied to it and all the following years. 

Tip #5 – No need to apply more than once - Once granted, homestead exemptions do not need to be applied for again unless the Chief Appraiser requests an updated application.

Tip #6 – HOMESTEAD DESIGNATION -vs- HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS
  1. The flyers that arrive offering to file the Homestead Designation form for a fee is a solicitation to handle something a new owner can easily file themselves if they choose to.
  2. What is the Homestead Designation? If an owner chooses to file this document, it's filed with the county clerk's office and its purpose is to assist in protecting the owner's homestead from forced sale for purposes of paying debts and judgements, within limitation. There are $$ fees associated with filing this document.
  3. What is the Homestead Exemption? Homestead exemptions provide tax relief to residents who own and occupy their residential property as their primary residence. All homestead exemptions are filed with the appraisal district and there are NO COSTS associated with filing these forms.
  4. These are TWO SEPERATE documents, filed with two different offices. If an owner decides to file the Homestead Designation, whether by using the service offered by the solicitor or by filing it themselves, they must understand that this is not the same as filing for the homestead exemptions. 

Tip #7 – TAX CEILINGS FOR OA-65 & DP EXEMPTIONS EXPLAINED
  1. The state mandates that the ISD taxes freeze for owners with OA65 & DP exemptions. Otherwise, each taxing unit (TU) can choose whether to offer the option. For all ISD's and the TU's that do offer this option, the amount of taxes paid by a person qualified for an OA65 or a DP exemption will reach a "tax ceiling" the first year in which the exemption was applied. Also called "FROZEN TAXES."
  2. A common misunderstanding is that the taxes on these properties can never increase. They can and do increase when the following occurs:
    1. New improvement value added by the owner. For example, new pool is installed, a patio gets enclosed, or a garage turns into livable space.  All new value must be captured on the roll and the tax ceiling is adjusted to include the taxes on the new value.
    2. New TU's are created. Communities experiencing population growth may see an increase in the services needed. This can result in the addition of new TU's that did not exist when an owner first qualified for the OA65 and DP exemption.
    3. Taxes can only be "frozen" if the option is offered by the TU. As mentioned above, only the ISD must freeze their taxes for recipients of the OA65 & DP exemptions. We have areas in our county where this option is not offered by all the TU's. Recipients of the OA65 or DP exemptions in these areas will still experience increases in their taxes if the market value of their property or tax rates increase.
Tip #8 – Disabled Veterans Tax Code section 11.22
  1. Disabled veterans who receive disability benefits between 10%-90% may qualify for a partial exemption off their appraisal value.
  2. Disabled veterans can apply for the exemption on any ONE property they own as of January 1st and they do not need to occupy the property as their main residence.
  3. The exemption can be applied to a vacant lot or even a business personal property account owned by the disabled veteran.
  4. There is a late filing provision that allows disabled veterans to apply up to 5 years back; for 2020, that could mean going back to 2016.
  5. The application is available online: https://forms.wcad.org/#/a/form/DisabledVet/new
  6. The exemption amount is based on the disability rating. The exemption amounts are:
    1. DV1 (10%-29%) = $5,000
    2. DV2 (30%-49%) = $7,500
    3. DV3 (50%-69%) = $10,000
    4. DV4 (70%-100%) = $12,000
  7. Qualified disabled veterans who are 65 or older and receive a disability rating lower than 70% will automatically receive the $12,000 exemption.
  8. Unlike other exemptions, more than one disabled veteran exemption can be applied to a single property, if more than 1 owner receives disability benefits.
Tip #9 – Solar Exemption Tax Code Section 11.27
  1. Owners who have a solar panel on their residential property may qualify for a solar exemption.
  2. The panels should be on the property as of January 1st to qualify for that tax year.
  3. Owners can submit a 1-time application with a copy of the cost & installation receipts.
    1. The exemption amount will be based on that amount.
  4. Once approved there is no need to re-apply.
  5. The application must be submitted between January 1 - April 30.
    1. There is NO late filing provision. Application must be submitted by the deadline.
  6. Solar panels are not taxed. If the exemption is approved, the solar panel value is added to the property and then made exempt.
  7. The application is available here: https://www.wcad.org/forms-and-applications/ 

Tip # 10 – 100% Disabled Veteran Exemption Section 11.131

·       Disabled veterans who receive disability benefits of 100% may qualify for the 100% total property tax exemption

·       Disabled veterans who receive a disability rating less than 100% BUT are compensated @ 100% due to unemployability, may qualify for the 100% total property tax exemption

·       Must own and occupy property as their homestead

·       If the Veteran Affairs disability letter states it is a total & permanent rating, the exemption will stay on property if the veteran owns & occupies property

·       If the Veteran Affairs disability letter does not state total & permanent, the veteran must submit an updated letter 3years after exemption is granted

·       The veteran and spouse are the only ones that can qualify, if there are other owners on the property, the exemption will be based on the % of ownership of the veteran and spouse

·       The 100% Disabled Veteran application can be submitted online at www.wcad.org simply search for your property and access the online form by selecting the HS Exemption icon 

Tip # 11 – 100% Surviving Spouse Disabled Veteran Exemption Section                11.131(c)

·       A surviving spouse may qualify for the 100% surviving spouse disabled veteran exemption if the spouse still resides in same property as the veteran who received the 100% disabled veteran exemption

·       A surviving spouse may qualify for the 100% surviving spouse disabled veteran exemption if they receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits if the property was the disabled veteran’s homestead

·       The surviving spouse cannot be remarried

·       If the veteran was receiving the 100% disabled veteran exemption on another property in Texas and the surviving spouse moves to another property in Texas, the surviving spouse qualifies for a transfer equal to the dollar amount of the exemption from taxation of the former homestead under subsection 11.131 (c), a Transfer Certificate will be needed from the previous appraisal district per subsection 11.131 (d), this must be requested by the surviving spouse

·       The 100% Surviving Spouse Disabled Veteran application can be submitted online at www.wcad.org simply search for your property and access the online form by selecting the HS Exemption icon  

Tip # 12 – Donated Residence Homestead of Partially Disabled Veteran Section 11.132

·       Disabled veterans who receive disability benefits less than 100% are entitled to an exemption of a percentage of the appraised value on their residence homestead equal to the disabled veterans rating IF the home was donated by a charitable organization

·       Charitable organization is described as an organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(a) and described by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

·       Disabled veteran must own and occupy property as their residence homestead

·       A surviving spouse of a disabled veteran who qualified for this exemption when the disabled veteran died is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the same percentage of the appraised value of the same property on which the disabled veteran’s exemption applied if (1) the surviving spouse has not remarried, and (2) the property must have been, and remain, their residence homestead since the death of the disabled veteran

·       Exemption is effective January 1st and gets prorated off at time of sale or move out

·       An application for this exemption can be submitted online at www.wcad.org. Simply search for your property and access the online form by selecting the HS Exemption icon 

Tip # 13 – Residence Homestead of Surviving Spouse of First Responder Killed in the Line of Duty Section 11.134

·       First responder means an individual described under Section 615.003 of the Gov Code

·       A surviving spouse who was married to a first responder killed or fatally injured in the line of duty is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of the surviving spouse’s residence homestead if (1) the surviving spouse is an eligible survivor as determined by the Employees Retirement System of Texas under Chapter 615 of the Gov Code, and (2) the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the first responder

·       First responder did not have to own or occupy the property as their residence homestead but it must be the surviving spouse’s residence homestead

·       Exemption is effective January 1st and gets prorated off at time of sale

·       A surviving spouse of first responder killed or fatally injured in the line of duty may transfer this exemption to their subsequent residence qualified as their homestead. See Texas Tax Code Section 11.134(d) for more details about transferring this exemption

·       An application for this exemption can be submitted online at www.wcad.org. Simply search for your property and access the online form by selecting the HS Exemption icon  


More useful information can be accessed here: https://support.wcad.org/portal/homeMost questions can be addressed by the various articles stored here or by calling us at 512-930-3787.

625 F.M. 1460, Georgetown, Texas 78626

(512) 930-3787   www.wcad.org




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