Residents over 65 years old and those with disabilities in Fort Worth can apply for and claim a $60,000 property tax exemption from the city this year, after the City Council approved an increase to its current exemption June 27. 

Previously, the senior and disabled homestead tax exemption was capped at $40,000. Council members floated the idea of increasing that amount in May, as a way to help residents with rising property appraisals and subsequent property tax bills. Optional homestead exemptions must be approved before July 1 in order to apply to the year’s property tax bills.

In effect, the updated exemption will exclude $60,000 of a home’s appraised value from taxation. About 45,000 residents currently claim the senior tax exemption, accounting for 16% of all tax exemptions in the city. 

“That’s good news for elderly like me, and disabled,” District 5 council member Gyna Bivens said.

How much will the exemption save homeowners?

  • Under the former $40,000 senior homestead exemption, a resident with a $200,000 home would save $285.
  • Under the new $60,000 senior homestead exemption, a resident with a $200,000 home would save $427.

The city was closely watching debates at the capitol over property tax relief plans, Mayor Mattie Parker said. But when a deal to give Texans relief failed to materialize, Fort Worth decided to take action.

“We believe strongly this is the right move and the right direction,” Parker said. “…We waited as long as we possibly could.”

This is the first time Fort Worth’s senior homestead exemption has been increased since 1984. The increase comes after the Tarrant County Commissioners Court passed two new homestead exemptions, for the county and the JPS Health Network. 

“I think of folks like my dad, who’s a retired teacher on a fixed income, and I know what this will mean for folks like him,” District 6 council member Jared Williams said.

Multiple council members also promised property further tax relief efforts during city budget planning over the next few months. 

In addition to passing tax exemptions, council members can also maintain or lower the tax rate, which dictates how much residents pay to the city in property taxes. Even when city leaders lower the tax rate, as was the case last year,  it doesn’t necessarily translate to a lower tax bill because of increased property values. 

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Emily Wolf is a local government accountability reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Originally from Round Rock, Texas, she spent several years at the University of Missouri-Columbia majoring in investigative...