City Council Approves San Antonio’s First Homestead Exemption

San Antonio property owners who have consistently seen their annual property tax bill increase, saw a small victory on Monday evening as San Antonio City Council voted unanimously to provide a small property tax exemption for qualifying homeowners.

It’s the first time the City of San Antonio will provide a homestead exemption. The 0.01 percent exemption which is the minimum allowance in the state will shave $5,000 off the appraised values of homes that are the primary residence of a property owner, saving the average homeowner an estimated $28 per year. The result will be slightly decreased tax bills from the City, which accounts for roughly 20 percent of total tax bills.

The exemption will remove nearly $6 million from the City’s budget – $3.6 million from the general fund, which the City uses to fund programs and services across San Antonio, and $2.2 million from the City’s debt service.

Source: City of San Antonio

Of Texas’ five largest cities – Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and Fort Worth – San Antonio is the only one that had not offered a city homestead exemption. San Antonio’s tax rate is the second-lowest, after Austin, and it offers a valuation freeze for residents who are 65 and over as well as an exemption of up to $65,000. Disabled residents can receive a $12,500 exemption.

Homestead exemptions in other cities provide more substantial relief than San Antonio’s 0.01 percent; Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth have a 20 percent exemption – the maximum allowed by the state. Austin’s is 10 percent. Those cities, however, do not provide a valuation tax freeze for senior citizens as San Antonio does.

San Antonio City Council and City staff plan to continue to enhance tools for affordable housing and work with the state to create new avenues for property tax relief.

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