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'It wasn’t as intimidating as people might think': Avoid paying a third party to file your homestead exemption

Finding ways to save money as a homeowner can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be hard. You can file a homestead exemption for free.
Homestead Exemption
Posted at 5:02 PM, Mar 15, 2024

MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas — As a homeowner, you might be trying to pay less in taxes on your home. One way to do that is by filing a homestead exemption, and you don’t have to pay someone else to do it.

  • According to the McLennan county tax office, third-party companies are charging McLennan county residents hundreds of dollars to file homestead exemptions when a free option exists.
  • The office said they received multiple property tax refund delivery designation forms, which designate third-parties to receive refunds from the tax office.
  • The tax office said that homestead exemptions can be filed for free with Form 50-114 at the McLennan Central Appraisal District.

BROADCAST SCRIPT:

“I pretty much just wanted it to look cozy for me and the kids,” Cristina Weaver said.

Weaver and her family moved into her home in July, and as a new homeowner, one of the tasks she took on was filling out a homestead exemption.

“It wasn’t as intimidating as people might think. I can’t imagine having to pay someone to do something that seems not that hard,” Weaver said.

But yet many people do.

In fact, the McLennan County Tax Assessor, Randy Riggs, found many people are filing homestead exemptions through third party companies.

Kathy Hollomon is the Chief Deputy at the McLennan County Tax Office.

“They could have gotten $6,000 and they only net $3,000,” Hollomon said.

One they found left locals to miss out on hundreds of dollars for something you could do for free.

“They get 50% of the amount you save for 2021, '22, '23. And we found in their contract they’ll bill you for the savings in 2024. So for four years they get 50%,” Hollomon said.

Mike Stone is the Executive Director with Grassroots Development told me he’s seen similar situations with his clients.

“People get mailings all the time to do that and they are expensive and it’s not necessary,” Stone said.

Weaver told me her exemption form took 10 minutes to fill out.

It was a simple as adding her name, address, and a few other lines of information. Now she’s expecting a couple grand in a refund.

“Just don’t be afraid to ask questions. And if it is intimidating just reach out to someone that you can trust to help you through the process. But it’s really not that long, and it’s not that hard,” Weaver said.

To file a homestead exemption, you can visit the McLennan County Tax Appraisal District website for Form 50-114. You can also call their office Monday through Friday at (254) 752-9864 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for any questions you may have.

Grassroots Development also provides resources to help with your Homestead Exemption. They can be contacted at (254) 235-7358.