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New homestead exemption application rules become effective Sept. 1

The recent session of the Texas Legislature imposed new standards of mandatory disclosure for those property owners wishing to apply for any one of several kinds of homestead exemptions, starting Sept.1, advises Wendy M. Grams, interim chief appraiser with the Central Appraisal District of Bandera County.
“These rules apply to new applicants only,” said Grams. “Property owners who already have their homestead exemptions will not have to re-apply.”
The new application process requires that anyone wishing to obtain a homestead exemption for property tax purposes must now submit a copy of a Texas Driver’s License or Texas state-issued identification card, along with a copy of their vehicle registration receipt and their application for a homestead exemption. The addresses on the documents must be the same as the address for which the exemption is being sought.
Those that do not own a vehicle must submit a notarized affidavit certifying that fact, and provide a copy of a current utility bill showing the address of the property for which the exemption is being requested.
This new legislation is designed to close loopholes that allowed property owners to obtain homestead exemptions on more than one property. The law also allows appraisal districts to access the Texas Department of Public Safety database to audit the addresses for differences electronically, for property tax purposes.
The new requirement takes effect on Sept. 1, 2011, and affects application for any one of several exemptions such as: homestead exemption, over 65 exemption, disability exemptions, 100 percent disabled veterans exemptions, extension of exemption for surviving spouse and, exemption for manufactured (mobile) home.
Each of these exemptions have additional requirements to qualify, so check with the Central Appraisal District. For those property owners seeking a homestead exemption on a manufactured (mobile) home, the applicant must also provide the following:
• Statement of ownership and location, issued by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs,
• Copy of the purchase contract or payment receipt verifying the applicant is the actual purchaser of the home, or a sworn affidavit that attests that the applicant is the owner of the manufactured (mobile) home, the seller of the manufactured (mobile) home did not provide the applicant with a purchase contract, and the applicant is unable to locate the seller after making a good faith effort.
The modified application for exemption and affidavit forms will be posted on the Bandera County Appraisal District website at www.banderaproptax.org.
For more information regarding these new regulations, please contact the Bandera CAD at (830) 796-3039, or the State Comptroller’s Office at www.window.state.tx.us.”