What Is a Homestead Tax Exemption?

Learn How You Can Lower Your Property Taxes

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A homestead tax exemption is the amount of tax the state excludes from your real property tax assessment on your principal place of residence (your “homestead”). Most states offer some form of a homestead tax exemption but only certain homeowners qualify. Therefore, it’s important to understand how the programs work and who can qualify, as the exemption could provide you significant property-tax savings.

Don't confuse a homestead tax exemption with a homestead exemption, which protects a portion or all of your primary residence from creditors after the death of a spouse or declaration of bankruptcy.

Key Takeaways

  • Applying the homestead tax exemption to your property tax assessment could save you significant money. 
  • You can apply for the exemption through your state’s website or local tax offices in most cases.
  • Some states limit homestead tax exemptions to seniors, disabled, or veteran homeowners.
  • Many exemptions are calculated based on a variety of factors, including local tax rates, your income, and your home’s assessed value.

What Is a Homestead Tax Exemption?

The homestead tax exemption is a tool that states use to limit the amount of property tax you owe by lowering your property tax bill. Therefore, to understand what the homestead tax exemption is, you will need to first understand what property taxes are.

Property taxes are taxes you pay based upon the assessed value of your home. In most cases, your municipality assesses your home's value annually and then applies a property-tax rate to that value to calculate how much you have to pay. And what you have to pay will be less than usual if you’re eligible for a homestead tax exemption. 

In some states, you can appeal the property-value assessment. 

How Does a Homestead Tax Exemption Work?

Your homestead tax exemption is typically a dollar amount or a percentage of the home’s value. Most states offer a general homestead tax exemption as well as some specific homestead tax exemptions (i.e. persons with disabilities, veterans, or seniors). 

While the exemption is common, each state has its own exemption amount. For example, in Florida, homeowners can claim up to a $50,000 homestead tax exemption. This means that if you live in Florida and your home's value is assessed at $250,000, you could receive an exemption of $50,000. The exemption lowers your home’s taxable value to $200,000. Florida’s average property tax rate is 0.98%, which means your property tax would be $1,960, based on the average rate. Your $50,000 exemption would save you $490.

Who Qualifies for a Homestead Tax Exemption?

Qualifications for the homestead tax exemption vary by state. In general, homeowners who live in a primary residence can get the exemption. States tend to have rules about the exemption in relation to when you made the property your primary residence. Illinois requires some homeowners to live in the state for 10 years to get certain exemptions, while others only require that the home became your primary residence in the past year. And in many states, there are special exemptions for seniors, the disabled, veterans, and surviving spouses of veterans or first responders.

To take advantage of your state’s exemption, you’ll typically need to apply either online or by mail to your state’s property tax division. In most states, you only have to apply once to get an ongoing tax exemption.

Homestead Exemption Rules by State

State  Program name  Eligible homeowners and exemption limits
 Alabama Homestead Exemption  Homeowners under 65 get a maximum exemption of $4,000, while those aged 65 and older have no maximum on their exemption. Source
 Alaska Residential Exemption  Homeowners, veterans, the disabled, and seniors. The exemption amount ranges from $50,000 to $150,000 of the assessed value of the home, depending on where you live. Source
 Arizona Senior Property Valuation Protection Option Only available to homeowners age 65 or older. The exemption amount is based on age, income, and residency. Limits tax credits to $375. Source
 Arkansas Homestead Tax Credit Homeowners can earn a property-tax credit of up to $375, with additional credits available to those 65 and older and those who are disabled.  Source
 California Homeowners Exemption Homeowners can earn up to a $7,000 reduction in their property taxes. Source
 Colorado Homestead Exemption Senior citizens and disabled veterans can earn an exemption of up to 50% of the first $200,000 of the actual value of the property. Source
 Connecticut Veterans Tax Exemption Program  Veterans with at least 90 days of wartime service (including Merchant Marines who served during WWII) can get a $1,500 exemption, with opportunities for bigger exemptions based on income and disability.  Source
 Delaware Senior School Property Tax Credit Seniors 65 and older can get a tax credit against school property taxes up to 50%, or $400. To be eligible, you have to live in Delaware for at least 10 consecutive years.  Source
Florida Homestead Property Tax Exemption  Exemptions up to $50,000. The first $25,000 of this exemption applies to all taxing authorities. The second $25,000 excludes School Board taxes and applies to properties with assessed values greater than $50,000.  Source
Georgia  Homestead Exemption  Most homeowners get a $2,000 exemption. Those over 62 get bigger exemptions. Disabled vets and some surviving spouses of servicemembers killed in war or conflict could get a $60,000 exemption, while an non-remarried spouse of a peace officer or firefighter killed in duty can get a full exemption. Source
Hawaii Property Tax Homestead Exemption Varies by county. The exemption applies to homeowners, seniors, the disabled, and veterans. In Honolulu County, for example, the basic exemption starts at $100,000.  Source
Idaho Homeowner’s Exemption The homeowner's exemption will exempt 50% of the value of your home and up to one acre of land from property tax, up to $100,000. Additional reduction programs exist for disabled servicemembers. Source
Illinois  Homestead Exemptions  Up to a maximum of $10,000 in Cook County and $6,000 in all other counties. Additional exemptions exist for those who’ve lived in their home for at least 10 consecutive years, the disabled, veterans, and senior citizens. An exemption exists for natural disasters and home improvements made because of a catastrophic event. Source
Indiana  Names vary based on program Exemptions vary based on the homeowner’s age, type of structure, and veteran status. Standard exemption for most homeowners is 35% of value up to $600,000 and 25% of assessed value above $600,000.  Source
Iowa Iowa Homestead Tax Credit There are various exemptions in Iowa, with the basic homestead tax credit equal to the tax levy on the first $4,850 of actual home value. The state offers homestead tax exemptions for seniors and disabled citizens, too. Source
Kansas Homestead Refund Available to homeowners who make $35,700 or less, lived in Kansas the entire year, and meet one of the following criteria: born before 1964, totally disabled or blind, or have a dependent child born before 2019 that was under 18. The maximum refund is $700. Source
Kentucky Homestead Exemption The exemption is available to seniors and the disabled.  Exemption is $39,300. Source
Louisiana Homestead Exemption Homeowners who live in their home by Dec. 31 of the previous year can get an exemption of up to $75,000, which results in tax savings of $750-$800. Homeowners are not exempt from municipal taxes. Disabled vets can get exemptions from parish ad valorem taxes. Source
Maine Property Tax Exemption  Available to certain individuals who have owned homestead property in Maine for at least a year and make the property they occupy on April 1 their permanent residence. Exemption is $25,000. Additional exemptions exist for the blind, certain veterans, and renewable energy equipment. Source
Maryland Property Tax Exemption For veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability rated 100% by the Veterans Administration. Exemption amounts may vary. Source
Massachusetts Property Tax Exemption The exemption is limited to those 65 and over, veterans and surviving spouses, the blind, surviving spouses of firefighters or police officers, and those facing severe hardship due to “age, infirmity, and poverty.” Source
Michigan Disabled Veterans Exemption A property tax exemption for real property owned and used as a homestead by a disabled veteran or the disabled veteran’s non-remarried, surviving spouse. Source
Minnesota Names vary based on program Minnesota has various homestead exemptions that cover homeowners, commercial landowners, and the disabled.  For many homeowners, the exemption is 1% of up to $500,000 of your home’s taxable market value. Source
Mississippi Homestead Exemption Limited to the first $7,500 of a home's assessed value. Source
Missouri Missouri Property Tax Credit A tax credit of $1,100 is available for certain seniors and 100%-disabled individuals who are homeowners. Source
Montana Property Tax Assistance Program Income and marital status determine your exemption amount. If you own a home on agricultural or forest land, the exemption applies to your home and one acre. The exemption applies to the first $200,000 of a home’s market value, and exemption rates are 30%, 50%, or 80%, based on income. Source
Nebraska Homestead Exemption In Nebraska, a homestead exemption is available to the following groups of persons: persons over 65, qualified disabled individuals, or qualified disabled veterans and their widow(er)s. Exemptions range from 0% to 100%, depending on income.  Source
Nevada Personal Exemption The State of Nevada offers tax exemptions to eligible surviving spouses, veterans, disabled veterans, and blind persons. The exemption ranges from $1,440 to $28,880, depending on your status.  Source
New Hampshire  Names vary based on program The exemption is available for the elderly, veterans, deaf, blind, and disabled. Exemption credits range from $50 up to $4,000, depending on your status, income, exemption type, and the municipality in which you live. Source
New Jersey Homestead Benefit Program The exemption was available in 2017 only.  Source
New Mexico Head of Family Exemption, New Mexico Property Tax Exemption Exemption of $2,000 available to heads of family, and $4,000 is available to qualifying veterans. Source
New York School Tax Relief Credit (STAR) The STAR credit is available to homeowners who earn less than $500,000. There are exemptions for senior citizens, veterans, persons with disabilities, and agricultural properties, too. Source
North Carolina Homestead Property Tax Exclusion  Reserved for residents aged 65 or older, or those totally and permanently disabled whose 2019 income does not exceed $31,000 annually. The exemption is the greater of $25,000 or 50% of appraised home value.   Source
North Dakota  Property Tax Exemption Homeowners who are 65 and up or are permanently and totally disabled can qualify for a homestead tax credit if their income is $42,000 or less per year and assets are $500,000 or less. Exemptions range from 10% to 100% of the property’s value. Source
Ohio Homestead Exemption Low-income seniors and the permanently and totally disabled can receive an exemption up to $25,000. Source
Oklahoma Homestead Exemption Homeowners who live in their primary residence on Jan. 1 can receive a property tax exemption of up to $1,000 for that year. The value of the exemption ranges from $87 to $134, depending on where you live. Source
Oregon  Property Tax Exemption More than 100 exemptions are available, including  for disabled veterans, surviving spouses of veterans, and public safety officers. Exemption amounts vary by type. Source
Pennsylvania Homestead Exemption Generally, your primary residence is eligible for a property tax reduction. The exemption is up to half of the median home value in the school district where the home is located. Source
Rhode Island  Homestead Exemption Most homeowners can receive a 40% homestead tax exemption. The state has special exemptions for seniors, the disabled, disabled veterans, the blind, and the indigent. Source
South Carolina Homestead Exemption Homeowners who are older than 65, are totally and permanently disabled, or legally blind can receive an exemption on the first $50,000 of their home’s fair market value. The exemption does not apply to school operating taxes.  Source
South Dakota Names vary based on program A variety of exemptions available for certain seniors, the disabled, paraplegics, and veterans. Exemptions range from 0% to 100% or $150,000 of the home’s assessed value, depending on the program. Source
Tennessee  Property Tax Relief The elderly (65 or older) and the disabled can get an exemption on up to $29,000 of their home’s value if they earn $30,700 or less. Disabled veterans and surviving spouses of veterans can get an exemption on the first $175,000 of a home’s value. Source
Texas Residence Homestead Most homeowners can earn a $25,000 exemption, but some school districts may opt for an exemption that’s 20% of the home’s appraised value. Exemptions are available for veterans and surviving spouses of first responders, too. Source
Utah Primary Residential Exemption Homeowners can get a 45% exemption on the fair market value of their primary residence and up to one acre of land. Source
Vermont  Homestead Declaration/Exemption To qualify, you’ll need to be a Vermont resident and occupy your home as a primary residence by April 1 of the year you apply for the exemption. Your exemption amount varies based on your home’s value, local tax rates, and your income. Source
Virginia Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption Exemptions are available for veterans who have a 100% service-connected permanent and total disability, and certain surviving spouses of disabled vets. Source
Washington Property Tax Exemptions and Deferrals Property tax exemptions are available for seniors, veterans, the disabled, surviving spouses of veterans, and those with limited income. Exemption amounts are based on income, the residence’s value, and local tax rates. Source
West Virginia  Property Tax Exemption Homeowners aged 65 or older and those who are permanently and totally disabled can get an exemption of $20,000 of the home’s assessed value. Source
Wisconsin Property Tax Relief Credits Certain homeowners who earn less than $24,860 in yearly income can apply for the credit.  Source
Wyoming Veteran’s Property Tax Exemption Program Available to Wyoming homeowners who’ve lived in the state for at least three years and who are: honorably discharged, served in certain military conflicts, surviving spouses, or possess an expeditionary medal. The exemption can reduce your property tax bill by as much as $3,000.  Source