As a result of the recent November election passage of Propositions 7 and 8 as amendments to the Texas Constitution, the surviving spouse of (1) a disabled individual (who received a homestead property tax exemption) if the surviving spouse is at least 55 years of age; or (2) a military member who dies while serving in the military (even if non-combat related) will receive a homestead property tax exemption.

Presently a surviving spouse (if age 55 or older) continues to receive the over 65 age homestead property tax exemption if the over age 65 spouse dies. As a result of Proposition 7’s passage, the surviving spouse (if age 55 or older) will continue to receive the homestead property tax exemption as a result of the death of the disabled spouse (even if the disabled spouse was not 65). The homestead property tax limit applies to school district property taxes. If someone is disabled (as determined by federal law) property taxes are not increased annually.

The passage of Proposition 8 no longer limits a homestead property tax exemption to the surviving widow of a military member who died in combat (“killed in action” under previous law). Proposition 8 extends the homestead property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a military member even if the death did not occur during combat (“killed or fatally injured in the line of duty” under the new law). So, for example, if the military member died in a fire at their base, training accident or in a car accident, the surviving spouse would now be entitled to the homestead property tax exemption.

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