WAXAHACHIE

Historic property owners could see up to a 75-percent exemption on their city property taxes if they apply for its incentive programs by Mar. 15.

Since 2000, the city has provided an appraised tax value exemption of 25 percent on city property taxes for historic properties. According to the ordinance, a property must be at least 50 years old in near its original condition to qualify for the exemption.

Heritage preservation officer Anita Brown said the exemption was previously capped at $25,000.

“That was for the first $25,000 of your valuation,” Brown said. “Whether your house was worth $100,000 or $500,000, the most you could get was $173. That was the max of the exemption.”

But, on Feb. 5, 2018, the Waxahachie City Council passed a resolution giving even more of a tax exemption to historic property owners. Not only did they vote to remove the previous cap on the appraised tax value exemption — but the city council also passed an ordinance that entitled historic property owners to a reinvestment tax incentive of up to 50 percent for restorations that amount to $1,250.

“We’ve never had a maintenance incentive before,” Brown stated. “The only way you can get an incentive was if you were going to restore a feature of your home that had been inappropriately altered, like if columns were taken from being big columns to skinny columns, and you were going to put the original look – then you could get an incentive. If you have to paint, or put a new roof, or repair your porch boards, those kinds of things would not have been covered before.”

Brown said the reason for these incentives was to protect the quality of historic properties, as well as increase property values. Brown said the exemptions do not cover interior restorations, such as heating or electrical, but exterior restorations on the structure itself.

Brown said the reinvestment tax incentive is separate from the appraised tax value exemption, meaning historical property owners could get exempted from up to 75 percent of their city property taxes.

“That could cut your city portion of your property taxes by more than half,” she said.

Brown said in previous years when they only had the appraised tax value exemption, the city has seen anywhere between 190-210 applications for properties each year.

This tax season, however, she said the city is currently on track to exceed that record by two or three times.

“A bunch of people are hearing about it for the first time,” she said. “We’re seeing a great increase.”

Brown said it is free to apply for either tax exemption, but historic property owners would have to reapply annually for both exemptions.

Brown said as appraisals continue to go up, the cap on the tax exemption will also increase, meaning property owners are entitled to more incentives.

“There’s no limit to how many years you can claim either of those,” Brown said.

Applications are available through Brown’s office. To apply or find out if you are eligible, call 469-309-4111 or email abrown@waxahachie.com.