Property Tax Exemptions For Disabled Veterans in Texas
Texas residents can be responsible for multiple types of property tax depending on where they live. Though Texas property taxes are designed to reallocate funds to support public works and increase the standard of living in the neighborhoods in which the taxpayers live, these property taxes can be a strain on some residents.
As a Texas resident, you may be wondering if there are ways to earn a tax exemption when it comes to your property taxes. In many states, there are tax breaks in place for former and current military personnel, disabled residents, and disabled veterans, and Texas is no exception. Let’s take a closer look at how disabled veterans, in particular, can access property tax exemptions in Texas.
Do Veterans Pay Property Taxes in Texas?
Tax exemption options vary from state to state depending on a variety of factors, and not all states in the U.S. offer full tax benefits to disabled vets. However, Texas is proud to be on the list of 18 American states that do provide 100% exemption on property taxes for veterans that qualify.
In order to achieve complete property tax exemption status, Texas veterans need to show proof of an Individual Unemployability VA status, a 100% schedular/disability VA rating, or 100% Permanent and Total VA disability status. Additionally, surviving spouses can be eligible for the same tax exemptions as long as they remain unmarried and on the property that was exempt.
Veterans who don’t quite qualify for 100% exemption can still qualify for partial exemptions on top of the standard Texas homestead exemption.
How Much Is the Texas Veteran Property Tax Exemption?
Now that you understand the qualifications you need to meet in Texas in order to be exempt from property tax, just how much is the exemption worth? The type of Texas disabled veteran benefits you can receive depends on the type of exemption, which is related to disability level.
100% Disabled Veteran Exemption
A 100% VA disability rating means that the veteran is legally considered totally disabled. The 100% score may be from one disability or multiple disabling conditions under a combined rating. Veterans with a 100% disability rating are eligible for the highest level of compensation: total elimination of property taxes.
This exemption is also available to veterans meeting the criteria for Individual Unemployability. Generally, these veterans must be able to show proof of one service-related disability rated 60% or higher or two or more at a combined rating of 70%, as well as the inability to financially support themselves with a steady job (odd jobs aren’t included, only steady employment is recognized).
Partial Disabled Veteran Exemption
If you are a disabled veteran but don’t meet the disability ratings required to qualify for 100% disability or Individual Unemployability, you can still take advantage of some property tax exemptions in the state of Texas.
Veterans with a disability ranking from as high as 99% to as low as 10% can reduce their property taxes significantly. The exemption amount per category of disability ranking is as follows:
- 10–29%: $5,000
- 30–49%: $7,500
- 50–69%: $10,000
- 70–99%: $12,000
Additionally, disabled veterans that are over the age of 65 can stack their disability exemptions with their senior exemptions to reduce their living costs even further.
How to Apply for a Property Tax Exemption as a Disabled Veteran
In order to apply for a property tax exemption as a 100% rated disabled military vet, you’ll require three important documents:
- A VA disability letter proving a 100% disability rating according to the VA
- Form 50-114 (the Residence Homestead Exemption Application), completed and notarized
- A copy of your ID with an address that matches the residence seeking property tax exemption
If your disabled status is between 10% and 99% according to the VA, you can apply for two different types of exemptions: the Residence Homestead Exemption and the Disabled Veteran Partial Exemption.
Forms 50-114 and 50-135 (the Application for Disabled Veteran’s or Survivor’s Exemption) are required in order to apply for both of these exemptions, as well as your VA proof of disability letter and a copy of your ID with an address matching the property seeking exemption. In order to receive an exemption during the current tax year, applications need to be submitted between January 1 and April 30. Otherwise, they will be applied to the following tax year.
The deadline to apply for a disabled veteran exemption is looser than for other exemptions. While the deadline is normally April 30, you may file for total exemption up to five years after the taxes have gone delinquent. If you become qualified for the exemption mid-year, you may receive the exemption immediately for the applicable part of that tax year.
Texas Veteran Spouse Exemption
What if you’re the surviving spouse of a veteran who was fatally wounded during their service? According to the Texas tax code, surviving spouses of U.S. armed services personnel fatally injured while in the line of duty qualify for a full property tax exemption. However, this only remains in effect as long as the surviving spouse continues to live on the same property and remains unmarried. Unmarried spouses may be able to transfer the dollar amount of their exemption to a new property, but it might not be a total exemption.
Another portion of the Texas tax code promises that the surviving spouses of U.S. armed forces members who die while actively serving can also qualify for a specific exemption of $5,000. This exemption is limited to a specific amount but can be applied to any property owned by the surviving spouse, not just the property on which they live.
Is the Disabled Veteran Exemption the Same as the Disabled Person Exemption?
Disabled veteran tax exemptions are different from those offered to non-military disabled persons. One of the key differences is the fact that disabled person exemptions can only be applied to the property on which the person resides, while disabled veteran exemptions can be applied to an owned property of the individual’s choosing.
Disabled veterans can often qualify for tax exemption based on disabled veteran status as well as non-military disabled person status, which allows them greater access to tax benefits based on their service. Additionally, the surviving spouses of military personnel that die during active duty can gain access to their property tax exemptions in a way that the surviving spouses of non-military disabled persons cannot.
Other Property Tax Exemptions Disabled Veterans Can Apply For
While disabled veteran property tax exemptions can significantly reduce or even eliminate a homeowner’s property taxes, veterans may qualify for other exemptions as well.
In the state of Texas, if a homeowner is both disabled and 65 years or older, they can qualify for either a $10,000 senior homeowner exemption or a $10,000 disabled homeowner exemption. In some cases, they may qualify for both exemptions, so long as they’re applied to different taxing units.
Additionally, homeowners in these categories can apply for property tax deferment, which allows homeowners to postpone the repayment of current and/or delinquent property taxes past their typical due date until the homeowner sells the property or no longer lives there.
Both of these property tax exemptions can be added to the benefits that an individual already receives as a disabled veteran.
How Tax Exemptions Benefit Disabled Veterans and Others in Texas
Property taxes can be a significant consideration for current and potential Texas homeowners. Though property taxes go to good use in Texas through community improvement, tax exemptions for former service members provide relief for those whose service has caused them potential financial stress. Veterans in Texas should collaborate with their appraisal district and the VA to ensure that they receive the financial relief they’ve earned.