Ann Harris Bennett
Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar

Tax Breaks & Exemptions
Overview

Texas law provides for certain exemptions, deferrals to help reduce the property tax obligations of qualifying property owners. These tax breaks are administered by the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD).

You must apply to HCAD for any exemptions for which you qualify. HCAD will subsequently notify the Harris County Tax Office of any resulting changes to your tax statement.

Please refer to the website www.hcad.org for all applicable forms and any additional information.

How to Apply for a Homestead Exemption

To apply for a Homestead Exemption, you must submit the following to the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD):

  1. A copy of your valid Texas Driver’s License showing the homestead address.
    This requirement may be waived if you are:
    1. a resident of a facility that provides services related to health, infirmity, or aging; or
    2. certified for participation in the address confidentiality program administered by the AG.

  2. The license must bear the same address as the property for which the homestead exemption is requested (homestead address) unless you are:
    1. active duty military or their spouse, showing proof of military ID and a utility bill.
    2. a federal or state judge, their spouse or a peace officer whose address information has been omitted from your driver’s license. You must provide a copy of your application for the driver’s license.

  3. If you do not have a driver’s license, you may submit a copy of a state issued personal ID showing the homestead address.
    1. A completed Homestead Exemption Application showing the homestead address.
    2. Proof of disability, for those who are applying for an exemption due to disability.

  4. Specific question about exemptions, values or name and address changes should be directed to HCAD at: 713-957-7800 or online at www.hcad.org.
Military Tax Deferral

In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that provides qualified active duty military personnel serving during a war or national emergency outside the State of Texas, a deferral of the taxes and a waiver of penalties and interest. The deferral applies only to property owned or co-owned by the servicemember on the date transferred out of Texas or acquired later by inheritance or gift.

Active military personnel not qualifying for the State’s deferral and waiver of penalties and interest may qualify for property tax relief under the Federal War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Under the Act, servicemembers that qualify pay only 6% interest on delinquent taxes. No penalty applies.

To request relief under the Federal law, please send a letter identifying the property owned with your active military orders along with the completed waiver of penalty and interest form indicating the period of current service.
Mail to:
Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
Attn: Customer Service Dept. Room 100-02
1001 Preston
Houston, Texas 77002
or
You may fax your orders to 713-274-2219.

Over 65/Disabled Deferral

If you are a homeowner age 65 or over or disabled, you can stop a judgment or tax sale, or defer (postpone) paying delinquent property taxes on your homestead for as long as you own it and live in it. To postpone your tax payments, file a tax deferral affidavit with your appraisal district. The deferral applies to delinquent property taxes for all of the taxing units that tax your home.

You should be aware that a tax deferral only postpones payments, it does not cancel them. Interest will be added at the rate of 8% annually. Once you no longer own your home or live in it, all the taxes, pre-deferral penalties and interest, together with the 8% deferral interest become due after 180 days. If the taxes remain unpaid, regular penalties and interest accrue and the taxing units may proceed with a lawsuit to collect delinquent taxes through a tax sale.


Click here for the Tax Deferral FAQ
Quarter Payment Plan

If you have an over 65 or disabled exemption or are the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, you may request to pay your property taxes in 4 equal payments without penalty and interest.

To apply, you must provide:
  1. Payment in the amount of at least one-fourth (25%) of the total amount of current taxes due.
  2. A written request to pay in installments. This can be in the form of a letter, email, or signature on a check or on your tax statement.

In order to avoid penalty and interest, the request and initial payment must be submitted by January 31st.

Requests will be accepted after January 31st and before March 1st. However 6% penalty and 1% interest will be assessed for the month of February and the next payment will be due by March 31st.

Requests should be sent to: Special Tax Services Dept. - P.O. Box 3746 Houston, TX 77253-3746.

The remaining taxes, after the first installment, may be paid without penalty or interest if submitted in a timely manner, as follows:

  1. The second installment must be paid by March 31st.
  2. The third installment must be paid by May 31st.
  3. The fourth installment must be paid by July 31st.

For help regarding this payment plan, call Special Tax Services at: 713-274-8120.

Installment Payment Plan
For Disaster Victims

In accordance with Section 31.032 of the Property Tax Code, taxpayers who sustained property damage as a result of a declared natural disaster may be eligible to split their property tax payments into 4 equal interest free installments, to be paid in full by July 31st.

Qualifications

This only applies to taxes imposed between the date of the disaster and exactly one year after that date for tangible personal property that is owned or leased by a business entity or real property that:

  1. Is either:
    1. the residence homestead of the owner or consists of property that is used for residential purposes and that has fewer than five living units; or
    2. owned or leased by a business entity that had not more than the amount calculated as provided by Subsection (h) in gross receipts in the entity's most recent federal tax year or state franchise tax annual period, according to the applicable federal income tax return or state franchise tax report of the entity;
  2. is located in a declared disaster area; and
  3. has been damaged as a direct result of the disaster.

Requirements

By January 31st, you must provide:

  1. Payment in the amount of at least one-fourth (25%) of the total amount of taxes due
  2. A completed “Request for Installment Agreement for Taxes on Property in Disaster Area” form obtained from the Tax Office.
  3. Proof of the property damage in the form of insurance claims; photographs of damage, copy of repair estimate or paid invoices.

Note: You will be notified if the request is not approved.

Payments

  1. The remaining taxes, after the first installment, may be paid without penalty or interest as follows:
    1. The second installment must be paid before the first day of the second month after the due date.
    2. The third installment must be paid by the first day of the fourth month after the due date.
    3. The fourth installment must be paid by the first day of the sixth month after the due date.
  2. If you pay more than the amount due for an installment, then the excess will be credited to the next installment.
  3. If payment is not made before the deadline (delinquency date), the unpaid amount of the specific installment payment due is delinquent and incurs a penalty of 6% and interest as provided by Section 33.01(c) of the Property Tax Code.

For inquiries regarding Installment Payment Plans for Disaster Victims, call 713-274-8120.

Related Forms
Military Property Owner’s Request For Waiver of Penalty and Interest
Application for Residential Homestead Exemption
HCAD Tax Deferral Affidavit
Request Installment Payment Agreement for Property in Disaster Area
HCAD Resources
Homestead Exemption Info
Disability Homestead Exemption Info
Tax Deferral Info
Tax Deferral FAQs
100% Disabled Veteran Info
Military Tax Deferral Info
Over-65 and Disabled Benefit Info