ID required to qualify for homestead exemption
CAMERON—Effective Sept. 1, a person applying for a residential homestead exemption will be required to include a copy of the applicant’s drivers license (or DPS identification card) and a vehicle registration receipt. If no vehicle, an affidavit that the applicant does not own a vehicle accompanied by a current copy of a utility bill of the residence subject of the homestead is required. The Chief Appraiser is prohibited from granting the exemption unless the address of the property matches the address on the driver’s license and registration receipt or utility bill.
This change may require some applicants to update their driver’s license and the address on their vehicle registration receipt. The associated cost will be offset by the benefit of the exemption. Texas law already requires a person to change the address on their driver’s license within 30 days.
A property owner who files for a residential homestead is legally required to notify the appraisal district that he/ she no longer qualifies for an exemption on another property. Exemptions that remain on the residence will remain as an erroneous assessment and are subject to back assessment when the error is discovered.
Persons who own multiple houses can only claim the homestead on the home they live in. A husband and wife who own more than one house can only claim the residential homestead on the house they live in. When the owner(s) dies, the property will no longer qualify for the exemption and the exemption will be removed for the next year or is subject to back assessment upon discovery.
To ensure the appraisal dis- trict is in compliance with the law, the district will audit the homestead exemptions. Texas courts have ruled that the county appraisal district and chief appraiser have a non-discretionary duty to back appraise property that has been erroneously exempted for up to five years.