Looking for a bit of extra tax season cash?

It could be hiding in your city property tax bill, if you own an historic property.

Just 10 percent or fewer of the property owners who could qualify for the City of Ennis is Historic Landmark Tax Exemptions apply for them, year after year.

The program allows owners of residential properties listed in the city’s roster of historic homes, the Hardy Heck Moore survey upgraded in 1995, or commercial properties in the historic district, to apply for an exemption of 25 percent of the structure’s appraised value up to a maximum of $25,000 per tax year.

There’s a cutoff to the exemption. The maximum exemption available would be about $173 on a home valued at $100,000 or more, said David Hodges, the city’s economic development coordinator, noting that for one reason or another, just a fraction of property owners who could be eligible actually bother with the 15-minute application process.

“Very few people do this, but it builds every year. One of my goals is to get more information out about it. The ultimate goal is to upkeep historic homes and maintain them,” Hodges said, holding up a sheaf of about 100 applications.

There are an estimated 1,300 properties in the HHM survey, which is on file at Ennis Public Library.

Not all of the recognized historic structures listed in the Historic and Architectural Investigations of Ennis, last updated in 1995, qualify for the exemption, either for disrepair or because the structures that once stood on them no longer exist.

So what would Hodges say to someone thinking about filling out the application?

That’s simple.

“What’s your address? … It will take you about 15 minutes.”

Hodges is the city’s liaison between the Historic Landmark Commission and city residents. The commission’s 11 members are appointed mayorally, and the commission has final approval of all applications for the historic tax abatement.

The commission reviews the application, and the approval rate on applications is almost 100 percent, Hodges said.

Application must be made for the exemption every year.

Time is running out for this year’s applicants. Completed applications with a current, concise, color front view photograph of the property must be received by the city of Ennis prior to 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2.

Blank historic tax abatement application forms are available at City Hall, 115 W. Brown St. For additional information, contact David Hodges at  972-878-1234.

E-mail J.Louise at jlouise.larson@wninews.com.