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Winter Storm Could Provide Property Tax Relief

  • After the Texas winter storm in February, Governor Abbott issued a disaster declaration for the state.

  • As a result, if you had significant property damage, you may be eligible for a temporary property tax exemption.

  • But do not delay – the deadline for filing the request is May 28.



Well its almost everyone’s favorite time of year again – property tax season! Don’t all cheer at once.


As you probably know, property appraisals in Texas should be coming out any day now. And that can be a stressful time for people. We think this year could see a pretty significant increase in values – especially in Travis County where TCAD did no reappraise residential properties last year. As a result, we will probably be property tax focused for the next few weeks in this blog.


There is some potential good news out there, however. Just after the winter storm in February, Governor Abbott declared Texas a disaster area and stated that the disaster exemption in the Texas tax code could apply to residential and commercial properties for 2021. So what does that mean and how might you take advantage? That’s what we talk about in this week’s blog entry.


Texas Tax Code Property Damage Exemption


The property tax exemption is codified in Texas Tax Code Section 11.35. That section allows for certain property that has been physically damaged to get a temporary property tax exemption. There are specific rule for what properties qualify and how an owner can apply for the exemption.


First, to qualify for the exemption, your property must:


  • Consist of a) tangible personal property used for the production of income, b) an improvement to real property, or c) a manufactured home;

  • Be located in an area declared by the governor to be a disaster area following a disaster; and

  • Be at least 15 percent damaged by the disaster.


On February 12, Governor Abbott issued a disaster proclamation as a result of the damage from the winter storm. As a result, if you had property that was significantly damaged during the storm, it is likely a qualified property under the statute.


Once you file a request for exemption (discussed more below), the chief appraiser of your county then assigns your property level 1-4 status. He or she assigns it based on the following:


  • Level 1 – if the property is at least 15% damaged but less than 30%;

  • Level 2 – if the property is at least 30% damaged but less than 60%;

  • Level 3 – if the property is at least 60% damaged but is not a total loss; and

  • Level 4 – if the property is a total loss.


The level the chief appraiser assigns to your property damage is very important because it determines how much of an exemption you will receive. As a result, its very important to provide extensive documentation of the amount of damages at the property. You do not want the chief appraiser to undervalue the amount of loss your property has.


The size of the exemption is equal to the amount of your appraised value multiplied by –


  • 15%, if the property has Level 1 property damage;

  • 30% if Level 2 property damage;

  • 60% if Level 3 property damage; and

  • 100% if Level 4 property damage.


Filing Exemption Form


I mentioned above that you have to file an application form to request the damage exemption. This is a very important step. The burden is on the property owner to make sure you get your request in on time. The application is from the Texas comptroller 50-312.


IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU GET YOUR APPLICATION IN ON TIME. The deadline is May 28 for damage from this year’s winter storm.


So if your property incurred significant damage from the winter storm, you may be eligible for a temporary property tax exemption. If you have any questions about how to apply for it, don’t hesitate to call Bukowski Law Firm at 512-614-0335.

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