The state of Texas offers several tax exemptions, including property tax breaks for seniors which citizens become eligible for at age 65. These property tax breaks are not automatic and interested parties must apply for them before May 1 to ensure that the exemptions are applied to that financial year. These are your options in terms of the over-65 homestead exemption and property tax deferral.
Qualifying for the Over-65 Homestead Tax Exemption
This property tax exemption can be granted to any homeowner of age 65+ on January 1, or who turns 65 after January 1 of that same year. If granted, you will receive a discount or even a complete exemption on your property taxes — as determined by your taxation entity.
The over-65 homestead exemption will reduce property taxes and create a cap on the amount of school taxes that qualified citizens are required to pay. This means that the amount of school tax you will pay in subsequent years will be locked at the same rate as the year you were first granted the homestead exemption.
How Property Tax Breaks for Seniors Apply If You Sell Your House
After the date that you are granted an over-65 homestead exemption, you can apply the exemption to one (not all) of your residential homesteads. If you sell your homestead and purchase a new one, subsequent property tax breaks are applied to your new homestead in lieu of the previous one. If you live in the greater area of Austin, Texas, you can apply online for the over-65 homestead exemption at https://www.traviscad.org/eservices.
Property Tax Deferral for Seniors
In addition to the other property tax breaks for seniors, the tax deferral option allows taxpayers with a senior exemption to defer their non-exempt property taxes for as long as they live in their residence homestead. This deferral ends when:
- The owner decides to remove the deferral.
- The owner moves to a new house.
- The owner dies.
In the third case, a surviving spouse can retain the deferral if they are at least 55 years old. Please note that a property tax deferral may not be honored by all mortgage providers.
Pros and Cons of Property Tax Deferral
In contrast to other property tax breaks for seniors, deferring your property tax comes at a cost. As soon as you file a Tax Deferral Affidavit and begin deferring your taxes, you will begin to accrue interest on the amount of taxes deferred at a rate of 5% per year. Once the deferral ends, you will have 180 days to pay all deferred taxes at 5% interest before regular penalty and collection activities begin.
Maximize Your Property Tax Breaks for Seniors at ML&R Wealth Management LLC
Contact us to schedule a free consultation and discuss the applicable property tax breaks with one of our wealth management advisors today.