Special to the Register
One of the easiest ways a homeowner can lower his or her property tax bill in 2014 is to file a homestead exemption. A homestead is generally the house and land used as the owner’s principal residence on January 1 of the tax year.
Homestead exemptions reduce the appraised value of your home and, as a result, lower your property taxes. To apply for an exemption on your residence homestead, contact Cooke County Appraisal District.
Available homestead exemptions include:
• School taxes: All homeowners may receive a $15,000 homestead exemption for school taxes.
• County taxes: If a county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, a homeowner may receive a $3,000 homestead exemption for this tax.
• Age and disability exemptions: Individuals 65 or older or disabled as defined by law may qualify for a $10,000 homestead exemption for school taxes, in addition to the $15,000 exemption available to all homeowners. Also, any taxing unit may offer a local optional exemption of at least $3,000 for taxpayers age 65 or older and/or disabled. Older or disabled homeowners do not need to own their homes on January 1 to qualify for the $10,000 homestead exemption. They qualify as soon as they turn 65 or become disabled.
• Taxing units may offer a local option exemption based on a percentage of a home’s appraised value. Any taxing unit can exempt up to 20 percent of the value of each qualified homestead. No matter what percentage of value the taxing unit adopts, the dollar value of the exemption must be at least $5,000.
• Partial disabled veteran exemption: Texas law provides partial exemptions for any property owned by veterans who are disabled, spouses and survivors of deceased disabled veterans. This includes homesteads donated to disabled veterans by charitable organizations at no cost to the disabled veterans. The amount of exemptions is determined according to the percentage o service connected disability.
• 100 Percent Residence Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veterans: A disabled veteran who receives from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (1) 100 percent compensation due to a service-connected disability; and (2) a rating of 100 percent disabled or individual unemployability is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of the veteran’s residences homestead. Surviving spouses are also eligible upon the veteran’s death with certain restrictions. The residence homestead application must be filed if this exemption is claimed.
• Surviving Spouses of Members of the U.S. Armed Services Killed in Action: The surviving spouse of a member of the U.S. armed services who is killed in action is allowed a total (100 percent) property tax exemption on his or her residence homestead if the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the armed services member.
For more details on homestead exemptions and applications forms, taxpayer may go to Cooke County Appraisal District’s website www.cookecad.org and select Forms/Exemptions and follow the links or contact Cooke County Appraisal District at 201 North Dixon, Gainesville TX 76240.