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It pays to check property tax exemptions

Homeowners, disabled veterans, over-65 exemptions mean tax savings

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Most Bexar County homeowners are seeing the first significant property appraisal increase in years.  If you're not taking advantage of all of the exemptions you're entitled to, you're paying more in property taxes than you have to.

"I'm willing to pay my fair share, but I don't want to feel like I'm doing more than I should," said homeowner Rayford Shaw. He paid a visit to the Bexar Appraisal District to be sure he was getting his over-65 exemption.

The Bexar Appraisal District recently mailed letters about exemptions to homeowners.

"We wanted to make sure they were still eligible, and if they were, are they eligible for any other exemptions," said Chief Appraiser Mike Amezquita.

Many homeowners fail to claim their exemptions.

The biggest is the homestead exemption, available to all homeowners who occupy and own the home.

"A homestead exemption takes the first $15,000 of taxable value off the tax bill, off the appraised value,"  Amezquita said. "That reduces the tax bill by about $300 or $400 dollars."

People over the age of 65 can also claim an exemption that cuts another $10,000 off the taxable value and it essentially freezes taxes.

People who are disabled can claim an exemption.

Disabled veterans can claim up to a 100 percent  exemption, and exemptions extend to a surviving spouse.

Homeowners can check their exemption status by looking up their property at ww.bcad.org.

Forms to apply for most exemptions are downloadable or property owners can visit the District offices at 411 N.  Frio  for customer service help.

Applying for exemptions is free.

"There are companies that have been in our area that charge you a $35 filing fee," Amezquita said. "I assure you , you can download the application online and simply mail it in, and we'll process it for free."

For a list of recent stories Marilyn Moritz has done, click here.

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