How to save money on your property taxes

Here’s where to find the money available to help with past due property tax, mortgage, and utility bills.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Reduce your property tax bill by lowering your home’s valuation with a homestead exemption. In San Antonio, you get $5,000 or 10% off your home’s valuation. In Bexar County, you can get $5,000 or 20% off.

“Basically the more expensive your home, the bigger the homestead exemption is that you’re going to get,” said Albert Uresti, the Bexar County tax assessor-collector.

You must own your own home and live in it to qualify for the exemption. Plus, the address on your driver’s license or state identification must match the address for the property. The Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office estimates about 90,000 homes qualify for the exemption.

A homeowner living in Bexar county and the City of San Antonio with a $300,000 home will save on average $800 with a homestead exemption. Plus, you will continue to save for years to come.

“It limits the increases in your values,” Uresti said.

Your home’s value can increase no more than 10% annually if you have a homestead exemption. 

You can apply for a homestead exemption at any time, but apply by April 30th to get the largest refund. You will get money back for the prior two years. Apply after April 30, and you will get a refund for one year.

There are services that will charge you to apply, but do it yourself for free.

“You don’t want to use them to apply because they are going to get 50% of whatever money you have,” Uresti said. “Worse yet, they get 50% for years in advance.”

There are other exemptions you may also qualify for that will lower your property tax bill including exemptions for homeowners 65 or older, disabled people, 100% military disabled veterans, and surviving spouses of an armed services member killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.

Plus, homeowners struggling with past due property tax, mortgage, or utility bills can also apply for the Homeowner’s Assistance (HAF) Program. It is a grant for up to $65,000 of assistance. To be eligible, you must be:

  • Late on one or more payments including mortgage, property tax, property insurance or HOA/condo fees
  • Your household income must be at or below $79,900
  • You must own and occupy the home as your primary residence
  • You must have experienced financial hardship after January 21, 2020 and lost income or increased expenses resulting from the pandemic

Required documents include:

  • Approved form of ID such as driver’s license, social security card, military ID, state ID, or birth certificate
  • Verified income statement such as a W2, IRS Form 1099, tax return, pay stub, or employer attestation
  • Evidence of delinquency such as a delinquent tax statement or notice from a tax attorney

You can only apply for the HAF program online, but the following locations can assist with your application if you do not have a computer:

  • BiblioTech East: 1203 N. Walters St., San Antonio, 78202
  • BiblioTech West:  2003 S. Zarzamora St., San Antonio, 78207
  • BiblioTech South:  3505 Pleasanton Rd., San Antonio, 78221

Or you can apply for a homestead exemption and the HAF program at the Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office at 233 N. Pecos La Trinidad, San Antonio, 78207.

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