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New process for homestead exemptions to take effect

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Beginning next month, individuals seeking to apply for any type of homestead exemption in Texas will need to comply with a new application process.

The recent session of the Texas Legislature imposed rigorous new standards of mandatory disclosure for those property owners who apply for any type of homestead exemption starting Sept. 1.

In order to receive a homestead exemption for property tax purposes, applicants must now provide a copy of their Texas driver’s license or Texas state-issued identification card and a copy of their vehicle registration receipt with their application for a homestead exemption. Additionally, the addresses shown on each of the documents must be the same as the address for which the exemption is sought, according to Deputy Chief Appraiser Rudy Durham.

Those who do not own a vehicle will be required to submit a notarized affidavit certifying that fact and provide a copy of a current bill received from a utility company. The address of the utility bill must be the same address as stated on the application for the homestead exemption.

This new requirement takes effect Sept. 1 and is required on all residential property homestead exemptions:

* General Residence Homestead Exemption

* Over-65 Residence Exemption

* Disability Residence Exemption

* 100 percent Disabled Veterans Residence Exemption

* Extension of exemption for a surviving spouse

* Exemption for manufactured (mobile) home

Each of the exemptions cited above could have additional requirements for qualifications. However, the common standard is that all such applicants must provide the additional documentation as noted above.

The Legislature has closed loopholes in disclosure that allowed some citizens to obtain homestead exemptions on more than one property. The Legislature has also authorized central appraisal districts to gain access to the database of the Texas Department of Public Safety so that differences in addresses reported for driver’s license and property tax reasons can be audited electronically.

The modified homestead exemption form will be posted on the effective date of the new legislation (Sept. 1) on Denton Central Appraisal District’s website at www.dentoncad.com.

Applications dated and submitted to DCAD by Aug. 31, 2011 will be processed under the pre-Sept. 1 guidelines.

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