The appraisal district is mailing a confirmation postcard to all homeowners with a homestead exemption currently on file. Exemptions include Residence Homestead, Over-65, Disabled Person Exemptions, Disabled Veteran Exemptions, Over-55 Surviving Spouse Exemptions and Surviving Spouse Exemptions for spouses of members of the U.S. armed forces or first responders killed in the line of duty.
The postcard is an annual mailing by HCAD to homeowners confirming their homeowner exemption is in place. An exemption excludes all or part of a property from taxation, so homeowners with an exemption are eligible for the tax break that exemption provides.
“Homestead exemptions are one of the easiest ways a homeowner can lower their property tax bill,” said Roland Altinger, chief appraiser. “A homestead is generally the house and land used as the owner’s primary residence on January 1.”
Homeowners do not need to do anything if the type of homestead exemption listed on the postcard is correct. HCAD will automatically renew their homestead exemption unless the property owner informs HCAD differently or the postcard is returned as undeliverable. If the card is returned, HCAD will cancel the homestead exemption and send the owner a letter asking them to reapply if they believe they are still entitled to the exemption.
If the homeowner does not receive an exemption card by mid-January, they should check their online HCAD account to make sure the exemption is still in place. If it is not listed on their account, they should notify HCAD immediately.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for homeowners to get the exemptions they are entitled to,” Altinger said. “If all the information on the card is correct, the homeowner does not have to do anything. However, if one of the homeowners has had a 65th birthday or become disabled, they may be eligible for one additional tax exemption, and if that’s the case, they should contact our office. Similarly, if they have sold the home or established a different primary residence, they need to contact us so we can cancel the exemption.”
A change in ownership also includes the death of an owner or the transfer of ownership through divorce proceedings. If either event has occurred during the year, the survivor or new owner should contact the appraisal district. Not reporting changes could mean substantial tax penalty liabilities later on.
Homeowners who have recently turned 65 or have qualified for disability under Social Security should also contact the appraisal district and apply for the additional exemption available to over-65 or totally disabled individuals. They easily can do this by submitting the form on the HCAD website or using the HCAD mobile app.
For more information on homestead exemptions, over-65 exemptions, disabled person exemptions and disabled veteran exemption, call the HCAD Information Center at 713.957.7800, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the district’s website at www.hcad.org where exemption information and applications are available under the Forms tab on the top tool bar.