Brooks County Appraisal District is responsible for appraising all real and business personal property within Brooks County. The district appraises property according to the Texas Property Tax Code and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP).
As a homeowner, you may apply for a homestead exemption on your principal residence. Homestead exemptions remove part of your home's value from taxation, so they lower your taxes. For example, if your home is appraised at $35,000, and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption, you will pay taxes on the home as if it was worth only $10,000.
What Homes Qualify
Not all homes qualify for a homestead exemption. Only the homeowner's principal residence qualifies. The home's owner must be an individual (for example: not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as his or her principal residence on January 1st of the tax year.
A homestead can be a separate structure, condominium or a mobile home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it. A homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is used as a yard or for another purpose related to the residential use of the homestead.
If you temporarily move away from your home, you may continue to receive the exemption if you do not establish a principal residence elsewhere, you intend to return to the home, and you are away less than two years. You may continue to receive the exemption if you do not occupy the residence for more than two years only if you are in military service or live in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity or aging from the two-year period.
Homestead School Tax Ceiling
The homestead tax ceiling is a limit on the amount of taxes you must pay on your residence. If you qualify your home for a 65 and older or disabled person homestead exemption for school taxes, the school taxes on that home can't increase as long as you own and live in that home. The tax ceiling is the amount you pay in the year that you qualified for the 65 - and - older or disabled person exemption.
The school taxes on your home may go below the ceiling but not above the amount of the ceiling. If you improve the home (other than normal repairs or maintenance), the tax ceiling may go higher for the new additions. For example, if you add on a garage or game room to the house, the tax ceiling will be adjusted to a higher level for the addition.
If a 65 and older, disabled, or 55 and older surviving spouse homeowner moves to another home they can transfer the percentage of the 65 - and - older or disabled person tax ceiling to a different home in the same or another school district. The ceiling on the new home would be calculated to give the same percentage of tax paid as the ceiling on the original home.
To transfer the school tax ceiling, you may request a certificate from the chief appraiser in the last appraisal district in which you received the tax ceiling. You present the transfer certificate to the chief appraiser in the district where the new home is located, when you apply for homestead exemptions on the new home.
There are several types of homestead exemptions you receive . . .
All residence homestead owners may receive a $25,000 homestead exemption from their home's value for school taxes.
Who Qualifies for a Disabled Persons Exemption
To qualify, you must meet the Social Security definition for disabled. You qualify if you receive disability benefits under the federal Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Program administered by the Social Security Administration. For further information, contact the Brooks County Appraisal District at (361) 325-8122.
How do I apply?
You must file an Application for Residential Homestead Exemption with the Brooks County Appraisal District between January 1st and April 30th of the tax year-up to one year after you pay your taxes. You may also read over the Guide for Homestead Exemption Application. to help in completing the application. The form covers the most common exemptions, including over 65 and disabled exemption.
During the year, if you turn 65 or become disabled, you must apply for the 65 or older or disabled exemption no later than one year from the qualification date. Once you receive the exemption, you do not need to reapply unless the chief appraiser sends you a new application. In that case, you must file the new application. If you should move or your qualifications end, you must inform the appraisal district in writing before the next May 1st.