City Floating Idea of City Homestead Exemption to Cut Property Tax

Notebook with property tax sign on a table.

San Antonio City Council is taking the first steps toward considering whether to add a local homestead tax exemption, to help homeowners deal with sharply higher property taxes caused by increased valuations, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The beginning of the process was a briefing from Bexar Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Michael Amezquita on how property is appraised.

In April, the City Council will receive the mid-year financial report and the Five Year Financial Forecast, to provide insight into how a potential homestead exemption might affect future tax revenue, and what size a possible exemption should be.

A homestead exemption exempts a certain amount of a property's value from ad valorem taxes.  For example, if the City decided to enact a $25,000 homestead exemption, that would mean that only $175,000 in value would be taxed on a $200,000 home.  It would only apply to homes which are occupied by the homeowner, not rental or investment property, or buildings which are used for commercial purposes.

There are three homestead exemptions currently offered by the City.  They include an over-65 exemption of $65,000, a disabled veterans exemption of between $5,000 and $12,000 based on the level of the homeowner's disability, and a general disabled residence homestead exemption.

There are also homestead exemptions approved by the Texas Legislature.

Back in 2005, San Antonio voters approved a proposition freezing property taxes on homes owned and occupied by people over the age of 65.

The City says it is already losing $47 million in property tax revenue per year due to the exemptions currently offered to 92,000 senior citizens and 9,000 disabled homeowners, in addition to the senior citizen tax freeze.

Councilman Clayton Perry has been arguing in favor of a City homestead tax exemption, arguing that hard pressed homeowners deserve a break from continually rising property taxes.

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