CCGA(LEGAL) - AD VALOREM TAXES: EXEMPTIONS AND PAYMENTS
Note: For more information on property tax exemptions, see the Texas Comptroller's Property Tax Exemptions website.
An adult is entitled to exemption from taxation by a district of $25,000 of the appraised value of the adult's residence homestead, as defined by Tax Code 11.13(j), except that only $5,000 of the exemption applies to an entity operating under former Education Code Chapters 17, 18, 25, 26, 27, or 28, as those chapters existed on May 1, 1995, as permitted by Education Code 11.301. Tax Code 11.13(b)
Persons 65 or Older or Disabled
In addition to the mandatory exemption above, an adult who is disabled, as defined by Tax Code 11.13(m)(1), or 65 or older is entitled to an exemption of $10,000 of the appraised value of the individual's residence homestead. Tax Code 11.13(c)
A district may not increase the total annual amount of ad valorem tax it imposes on the residence homestead of an individual 65 years of age or older, or on the residence homestead of an individual who is disabled, above the amount of the tax it imposed in the first tax year in which the individual qualified that residence homestead for an applicable exemption. Tax Code 11.26(a)
If an individual subject to a tax limitation makes improvements to the individual's residence homestead, other than improvements required to comply with governmental requirements or repairs, the district may increase the tax on the homestead in the first year the value of the homestead is increased on the appraisal roll because of the enhancement of value by the improvements. A limitation then applies to the increased amount of tax until more improvements, if any, are made. Tax Code 11.26(b)
An improvement to property that would otherwise constitute an improvement discussed above is not treated as an improvement if it is a replacement structure for a structure that was rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage. For purposes of appraising the property in the tax year in which the structure would have constituted an improvement, the replacement structure is considered to be an improvement only if the square footage of the replacement structure exceeds that of the replaced structure as that structure existed before the casualty or damage occurred or the exterior of the replacement structure is of higher quality construction and composition than that of the replaced structure. Tax Code 11.26(o)
Portability of Tax Limitation
If an individual who receives a tax limitation, including a surviving spouse, discussed below, subsequently qualifies a different residence homestead for the same exemption, a district may not impose ad valorem taxes on the subsequently qualified homestead in a year in an amount that exceeds the amount of taxes calculated in accordance with Tax Code 11.26(g). Tax Code 11.26(g)
If an individual who qualifies for the exemption at Persons 65 or Older or Disabled, above, dies, the surviving spouse of the individual is entitled to the limitation applicable to the residence homestead of the individual if the surviving spouse is 55 years of age or older when the individual dies, and the residence homestead of the individual is the residence homestead of the surviving spouse on the date that the individual dies and remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse. Tax Code 11.26(i)
In addition to other exemptions in Tax Code 11.13, an individual is entitled to an exemption from taxation by a district of a percentage of the appraised value of the individual's residence homestead if the exemption is adopted by the board before July 1 in the manner provided by law for official action by the board. If the percentage set by the district produces an exemption in a tax year of less than $5,000 when applied to a particular residence homestead, the individual is entitled to an exemption of $5,000 of the appraised value. The percentage adopted by the district may not exceed 20 percent. Tax Code 11.13(n)
Disabled or 65 or Older
An individual who is disabled or 65 or older is entitled to an exemption from taxation by a district of a portion of the appraised value of the individual's residence homestead if the exemption is adopted either by the board or by a favorable vote of a majority of the qualified voters of the district at an election called by the board, and the board shall call the election on the petition of at least 20 percent of the number of qualified voters who voted in the preceding election of the district.
The amount of an exemption adopted as provided at Disabled or 65 or Older is $3,000 of the appraised value of the residence homestead unless a larger amount is specified by the board if the board authorizes the exemption or the petition for the election if the exemption is authorized through an election. Once authorized, an exemption adopted may be repealed or decreased or increased in amount by the board or by the petition and election procedure. In the case of a decrease, the amount of the exemption may not be reduced to less than $3,000 of the market value.
Tax Code 11.13(d)–(f)
Continuation of Exemption during Construction
If a qualified residential structure for which the owner receives a homestead exemption under Tax Code 11.13 is rendered uninhabitable or unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage, the owner may continue to receive the exemption for the structure and the land and improvements used in the residential occupancy of the structure while the owner constructs a replacement qualified residential structure on the land in accordance with Tax Code 11.135. Tax Code 11.135(a), .26(n); 34 TAC 9.416
Surviving Spouse of First Responder
The surviving spouse of a first responder who is 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 the surviving spouse is an eligible survivor for purposes of Government Code Chapter 615 as determined by the Employees Retirement System of Texas and has not remarried since the first responder's death. Tax Code 11.134
100 Percent Disabled
A disabled veteran who receives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or its successor 100 percent disability compensation due to a service-connected disability and a rating of 100 percent disabled or of individual unemployability is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of the veteran's residence homestead. Tax Code 11.131(b)
Partially Disabled with Donated Residence
A disabled veteran who has a disability rating of less than 100 percent is entitled to an exemption from taxation of a percentage of the appraised value of the disabled veteran's residence homestead equal to the disabled veteran's disability rating if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization at no cost to the disabled veteran, or at some cost to the disabled veteran in the form of a cash payment, a mortgage, or both in an aggregate amount that is not more than 50 percent of the good faith estimate of the market value of the residence homestead made by the charitable organization as of the date of the donation. Tax Code 11.132(b)
Surviving Spouse of Veteran
The surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, as defined by Tax Code 11.22(h)(3), is entitled to the same exemption from taxation of the same property to which the disabled veteran's exemption applied or would have applied if it had been in effect on the date of death if:
- The surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the disabled veteran; and
- The property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died and remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.
Tax Code 11.131, .132
Surviving Spouse of Individual Killed in Action
The surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed in action is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of the surviving spouse's residence homestead if the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the member of the armed services. Tax Code 11.133
Tex. Const. Art. VIII, Sec. 1-b (Residence Homestead Tax Exemptions and Limitations)
A disabled veteran is entitled to an exemption from taxation of a portion of the assessed value of a property the veteran owns and designates under Tax Code 11.22(f). Tax Code 11.22
Exemption for Subsequent Residence
The surviving spouse of a first responder, disabled veteran, or armed services member killed in action who receives an exemption for a residence homestead is entitled to receive an exemption from taxation of a different property that the surviving spouse subsequently qualifies as the surviving spouse's residence homestead in an amount equal to the dollar amount of the exemption from taxation of the first property for which the surviving spouse received the exemption in the last year in which the surviving spouse received that exemption if the surviving spouse has not remarried. Tax Code 11.131(d), .132(d), .133(c), .134(d)
Temporary Exemption for Property Damaged by Disaster
A person is entitled to an exemption from taxation by a district of a portion of the appraised value of qualified property, as defined by Tax Code 11.35(a), that the person owns in an amount determined by the chief appraiser under Tax Code 11.35(h). Tax Code 11.35(b)
A person who qualifies for an exemption under this provision must apply for the exemption not later than the 105th day after the date the governor declares the area in which the person's qualified property is located to be a disaster area. Tax Code 11.43(s)
Notwithstanding the provisions above, if the governor first declares territory in a district to be a disaster area as a result of a disaster on or after the date the district adopts a tax rate for the tax year in which the declaration is issued, a person is not entitled to the exemption for that tax year unless the board adopts the exemption in the manner provided by law for official action by the board.
An exemption adopted by the board must:
- Specify the disaster to which the exemption pertains; and
- Be adopted not later than the 60th day after the date the governor first declares territory in the district to be a disaster area as a result of the disaster.
Not later than the seventh day after the date the board adopts the exemption, the district shall notify the chief appraiser of each appraisal district in which the school district participates, the assessor for the school district, and the comptroller of the adoption of the exemption.
Tax Code 11.35(c)–(e)
A person who qualifies for an exemption adopted by the board under this provision must apply for the exemption not later than the 45th day after the date the board adopts the exemption. Tax Code 11.43(s)
Among others, a board may grant additional tax exemptions in accordance with applicable law for:
- Residential property owned by the United States or an agency of the United States and used to provide transitional housing for the indigent under a program operated or directed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Tax Code 11.111
- Land and housing units on the land owned by a community land trust. Tax Code 11.1827
- Certain historic structures or archeological sites and the land necessary to access and use the structure or archeological site. The board may not repeal or reduce the amount of an exemption for a property that otherwise qualifies for the exemption unless the property owner consents to the repeal or reduction or the district provides written notice of the repeal or reduction to the owner not later than five years before the date the board repeals or reduces the exemption. Tax Code 11.24
- Property on which approved water conservation initiatives, desalination projects, or brush control initiatives have been implemented. Tax Code 11.32
If a district adopts, amends, or repeals an exemption that the district by law has the option to adopt or not, the district shall notify the appraisal office of its action and of the terms of the exemption within 30 days after the date of its action. Tax Code 6.08
A person is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the appraised value of that portion of the person's property that consists of goods-in-transit, as defined in Tax Code 11.253(a)(2).
A board, by official action, may provide for the taxation of goods-in-transit exempt under Tax Code 11.253(b) and not exempt under other law. The official action to tax the goods-in-transit must be taken before January 1 of the first tax year in which the board proposes to tax goods-in-transit. Before acting to tax the exempt property, a board must conduct a public hearing as required by Texas Constitution Article VIII, Section 1-n(d). If the board provides for the taxation of the goods-in-transit as provided by this provision, the exemption stated above does not apply to that district. The goods-in-transit remain subject to taxation by the district until the board, by official action, rescinds or repeals its previous action to tax goods-in-transit, or otherwise determines that the exemption will apply to that district.
Notwithstanding official action that was taken before October 1, 2011, to tax goods-in-transit, a district may not tax such goods-in-transit in a tax year that begins on or after January 1, 2012, unless the board takes official action on or after October 1, 2011, to provide for the taxation of the goods-in-transit.
If a board, before October 1, 2011, took action to provide for the taxation of goods-in-transit and pledged the taxes imposed on the goods-in-transit for the payment of a debt of the district, the district tax officials may continue to impose the taxes against the goods-in-transit until the debt is discharged, if cessation of the imposition would impair the obligation of the contract by which the debt was created.
Tax Code 11.253(b), (j)–(j-2)
The board may adopt, by official action, one or both of the discount options below. Tax Code 31.05(a)
A district may adopt the following discounts to apply regardless of the date on which the district mails its tax bills:
- Three percent if the tax is paid in October or earlier.
- Two percent if the tax is paid in November.
- One percent if the tax is paid in December.
Tax Code 31.05(b)
This discount does not apply to taxes that are calculated too late for it to be available. Tax Code 31.04(c)
A district may adopt the following discounts to apply when the district mails its tax bills after September 30:
- Three percent if the tax is paid before or during the next full calendar month following the date on which the tax bills were mailed.
- Two percent if the tax is paid during the second full calendar month following the date on which the tax bills were mailed.
- One percent if the tax is paid during the third full calendar month following the date on which the tax bills were mailed.
Tax Code 31.05(c)
If a board adopts both discounts, the discounts described at Option 1 apply unless the tax bills for the district are mailed after September 30, in which case only the discounts described at Option 2 apply. Tax Code 31.05(a)
The board may rescind a discount lawfully adopted by the board. The rescission of a discount takes effect in the tax year following the year in which the discount is rescinded. Tax Code 31.05(d)
The board of a district that collects its own taxes may provide, by official action, that a person who pays one-half of the district's taxes before December 1 may pay the remaining one-half of the taxes without penalty or interest at any time before July 1 of the following year.
If a board contracts with the appraisal district for collection of taxes, the split-payment option does not apply to taxes collected by the appraisal district unless approved by resolution adopted by a majority of the governing bodies of the taxing units whose taxes the appraisal district collects and filed with the secretary of the appraisal district board of directors. The split-payment option may be revoked in the same manner as provided for adoption.
Tax Code 31.03
This payment option does not apply to taxes that are calculated too late for it to be available. Tax Code 31.04(c)
In Certain Counties
The board of a district located in a county having a population of not less than 285,000 and not more than 300,000 that borders a county having a population of 3.3 million or more and the Gulf of Mexico that has its taxes collected by another taxing unit that has adopted the split-payment option may provide, by official action, that the split-payment option does not apply to the district's taxes collected by the other taxing unit. Tax Code 31.03(d)
An individual who is disabled or at least 65 years of age and qualified for a homestead exemption under Tax Code 11.13(c), or an individual who is a disabled veteran or the unmarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran and qualified for an exemption under Tax Code 11.132 or 11.22, may pay district taxes imposed on the person's residence homestead property in four equal installments without penalty or interest if paid by the applicable dates set out in Tax Code 31.031. Tax Code 31.031
A person may pay district taxes imposed on certain property the person owns in four equal installments without penalty or interest if paid by the applicable dates set out in Tax Code 31.032. This option applies to real or personal property described in Tax Code 31.032(a) and taxes that are imposed on the property by a district before the first anniversary of the disaster, as defined by Government Code 418.004. Tax Code 31.032
Services in Lieu of Paying Taxes
The board by resolution may permit certain individuals or business entities to perform certain services for the district in lieu of paying the district property taxes. While performing services for a district, the individual is not an employee of the district and is not entitled to any benefit, including workers' compensation coverage, that the district provides to its employees. Tax Code 31.035, .036, .037
Persons 65 and Over
Subject to the requirements of Tax Code 31.035, the board by order or resolution may permit an individual who is at least 65 years of age to perform service for the district in lieu of paying taxes imposed by a district on property owned by the individual and occupied as the individual's residence homestead. Property owners performing services for a district under this provision may only supplement or complement the regular personnel of the district. A district may not reduce the number of persons the district employs or reduce the number of hours to be worked by employees of the district because the district permits property owners to perform services for the district under this provision. Tax Code 31.035(a), (g)
An individual is qualified to perform teaching services for a district under the provisions below only if the individual holds a baccalaureate or more advanced degree in a field related to each course to be taught and:
- Is certified as a classroom teacher under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter B; or
- Obtains a school district teaching permit under Education Code 21.055.
Tax Code 31.036(h), .037(i)
Subject to the requirements of Tax Code 31.036, the board by resolution may permit qualified individuals to perform teaching services for the district at a junior high school or high school of the district in lieu of paying taxes imposed by the district on property owned and occupied by the individual as a residence homestead. Tax Code 31.036
By Employee of Business Entity
Subject to the requirements of Tax Code 31.037, a board by resolution may authorize a corporation or other business entity to permit a qualified individual employed by the business entity to perform teaching services in a high school or a junior high school for the district in lieu of paying taxes imposed by the district on property owned by the business entity. Tax Code 31.037
Except as provided by Tax Code 31.02(b) (payment by certain eligible persons on active duty in the armed forces), 31.03 (split payments), and 31.04 (postponement of delinquency date based on mailing date of tax bills), taxes are due on receipt of the tax bill and are delinquent if not paid before February 1 of the year following the year in which imposed. Tax Code 31.02
Note: Delinquent taxes incur penalties and accrue interest in accordance with Tax Code 33.01, subject to any waiver by the board pursuant to Tax Code 33.011.
Delinquent Tax Collection
A board may contract with any competent attorney to represent the district to enforce the collection of delinquent taxes. The attorney's compensation is set in the contract, but the total amount of compensation provided may not exceed 20 percent of the amount of delinquent tax, penalty, and interest collected. Tax Code 6.30(c) [See CH(LEGAL) regarding contingent fee contracts for legal services and Government Code 2254.102(e) for additional requirements.]
The board may provide, by official action, that taxes that become delinquent at a certain time incur an additional penalty to defray costs of collection if the board has contracted with an attorney as provided above. Tax Code 33.07, .08