The Automatic Exemption
Texas tax law says seniors can use form 50-114 to apply for a $10,000 school property tax exemption. If your property is worth $120,000, say, that would cut your assessed value -- the basis for the tax -- to $110,000. Your exemption can apply to up to 20 acres of land. If your property is 25 acres, for example, you pay regular taxes on the extra five. Receiving the exemption automatically gives you the tax freeze as well. You must submit a copy of your driver's license showing your address along with the form. If your name isn't on the property deed, you have to submit a notarized affidavit that the house is yours.
If your spouse is 55 or older when you die, he gets to keep the tax freeze on your house. Also, if you buy and move into a new house, Texas lets you keep some of your exemption. For example, suppose the frozen taxes on your old house were 85 percent of what you'd pay if not frozen. The tax bill for your new home would likewise be 85 percent of the normal rate. Again, this only applies to school district taxes.