Starting Thursday, new Texas homeowners applying for a homestead exemption must provide proof that they actually live in the house they’re claiming as their principal residence.
House Bill 252 requires a copy of the homeowner’s Texas driver’s license or state identification card and the homeowner’s vehicle registration receipt be sent with the homestead exemption application.
Don’t own a vehicle? You can send a copy of your current utility bill showing name and address, along with an affidavit provided in the application indicating non-ownership of a vehicle.
The address on the documents must match the address for which the homestead exemption is requested. The bill is designed to stop abuses of the homestead exemption law, including ensuring that out-of-state property owners can't claim the exemption for vacation properties here.
The new requirement does not apply to homeowners who already have homestead exemptions. It affects only new applications for exemptions sent to appraisal districts.
“As Comptroller, we implement laws passed by the legislature” the Texas comptroller, Susan Combs, says in a release. “The homestead exemption is intended to help relieve the tax burden of Texas full-time residents. This new legislation ensures that the system is working fairly and legally.”
The new law affects new applications for the general homestead exemption available to every homeowner as well as the over-65 exemption, the disability exemption, the disabled veterans exemption, the extended exemption for a homeowner’s surviving spouse and the manufactured home exemption.
In addition to proof of residency, beginning Thursday, homeowners applying for a homestead exemption on a manufactured home must also provide proof of purchase of the home and a statement of ownership and location issued by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.