Residents of Texarkana, Texas, have reported receiving a document in their mail from Homestead Designation Services based out of Austin, Texas, requesting individuals remit a $45.00 fee for filing on the homeowner’s behalf. The local appraisal office warns that the document is not an official file and the organization has no authority with the state.
Even the Better Business Bureau warns of these creatively crafted documents that aren’t official, but merely an advertisement of services.
“What appears to be a letter from a government agency is really a craftily designed solicitation. Homestead Recording Service is not a government agency, nor is it associated with any taxing authority.”New Homeowners. Watch Your Mail.” BBB Business Profile , Reviews and Complaints.
The Texas Property Code Designation of Homestead provides equity protection for homeowners and is free to file at the Bowie County Appraisal Office in Texarkana, Texas, at your convenience.
Bowie County Chief Appraiser, Mike Brower, was asked to clarify what the recipients of this document should do. Brower said, “Taxpayers that want to file a Homestead exemption can come by the Bowie CAD offices at 122A Plaza West.” Further explaining, “ It normally takes about 10 min to file.”
In Section 28 of the Texas Constitution and the Texas Property Code section 42.001(b)(1) states that the homestead is protected from forced sale for purposes of paying debts and judgments, within limitations.
A homestead is simply the possession and use of property, but can also include property that is not yet occupied if intent to occupy can be proven. It can also include rental property and even mineral rights.
Property tax purposes and for protection from creditors are the primary reasons for designating a homestead. Texas Property Code states in Chapter 42 that personal property valued at $60,000 for a family or $30,000 for a single adult (exclusive of liens) is exempt from garnishment, attachment, execution or other seizures. (Willis, David. “Homestead Protections In Texas.” Houston Real Estate Attorney – Texas Real Estate Attorney)
- 42.002. Personal Property
(1) home furnishings, including family heirlooms;
(2) provisions for consumption;
(3) farming or ranching vehicles and implements;
(4) tools, equipment, books, and apparatus, including boats and motor vehicles used in a trade or profession;
(5) wearing apparel;
If you would like to file a homestead designation, visit Bowie County Tax Appraisal Office or call 903) 793-8936 and save yourself the $45.00
Willis, David. “Homestead Protections In Texas.” Houston Real Estate Attorney – Texas Real Estate Attorney, www.lonestarlandlaw.com/Texas-Homestead.html.
“New Homeowners. Watch Your Mail.” BBB Business Profile | 10 Fitness of University | Reviews and Complaints, www.bbb.org/abilene/news-events/news-releases/2017/06/NewHomeownersWatchYourMail/.