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property tax exemptions

Laws vary from state to state, but property tax is often a locally assessed and locally administered tax (by counties)—and in those states there is no state property tax. Property tax brings in the most money of all taxes available to local government to pay for schools, roads, police and firemen, emergency response services, libraries, parks, and other services provided by local government.

Most states offer a variety of partial or total (absolute) exemptions from appraised property values used to determine local property taxes. A partial exemption removes a percentage or a fixed dollar amount of a property's value from taxation. A total (absolute) exemption excludes the entire property from taxation. Taxing units (government entities) may be required by the state to offer certain (mandatory) exemptions and have the option to decide locally on whether or not to offer others (local option).

Exemptions from property tax usually require the taxpayer to apply for the exemption. Applications for property tax exemptions are filed with appraisal districts, and deadlines may vary. Appraisal district chief appraisers are responsible for determining whether a property qualifies for an exemption.
Exemptions are usually located in a state’s tax code (statutes) and exemption requirements are often extensive. Property owners should read these statutes carefully.

Common exemptions are for properties that qualify as a residence homestead or are eligible for charitable, religious, or agricultural exemptions, as provided by the state’s tax laws. Disabled persons, senior citizens (age 65 or older), veterans, and surviving spouses of veterans who were killed in action (KIA) are also eligible for exemptions in some states.

In Texas, property tax is primarily a local government revenue source, used to fund services such as schools, roads, and emergency services. There is no state property tax. Texas law provides for a variety of property tax exemptions, which can be partial or total. Partial exemptions reduce the taxable value of the property by a certain percentage or dollar amount, while total exemptions completely remove the property from the tax rolls. Mandatory exemptions are required by the state, and local governments have the discretion to offer additional local option exemptions. Property owners must apply for exemptions through their local appraisal district, and the chief appraiser determines qualification for exemptions. Common exemptions in Texas include those for residence homesteads, charitable, religious, or agricultural properties, as well as exemptions for disabled persons, senior citizens, veterans, and surviving spouses of veterans killed in action. The requirements for these exemptions are detailed in the Texas Tax Code, and property owners should review these statutes carefully to understand eligibility and application procedures.

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