Beware of ‘designation of homestead’ offers, Texas AG warns

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AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Friday warned consumers to beware of so-called “designation of homestead” offers, which residents across much of Central Texas have received.

(Photo by Alex Cano)

The official-looking documents offer a “designation of homestead” for a $45 fee, and some homeowners may be confusing them with the standard homestead tax exemptions that counties offer for free.

The attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division has received more than 100 complaints from residents who received the solicitations, some of whom sent back money for what they thought was a homestead exemption, Paxton said.

"My office is actively reviewing all of the complaints and we will take whatever legal steps are necessary to stop unlawful activity by any company trying to take advantage of Texans," Paxton said.

Temple resident David Henderson received the letter on July 6.

He has lived in Temple for two years and says the letter raised a red flag.

He immediately forwarded it to the Bell County Tax Appraisal office.

“I sent a copy to our tax collector here. I also put it on our Facebook (Home Owner Association) page. This area is about eight new square blocks there's a lot of younger people may or may not know about it and I put it on there” said Henderson.

Tax appraisers in Coryell, Lampasas and McLennan Counties confirm people have called about the letter seeking clarification.

Falls County officials say they have not yet received calls about the letter.

Limestone County officials were not available for a comment.

Officials say some residents have been confused by the wording on the document and believe it's an application for property tax homestead exemption, but it's not, and there is no fee to fill out that application.

Paxton urged anyone who has received a “designation of homestead” offer that appears to be deceptive to call the attorney general’s office consumer hotline at 1-800-621-0508.

Complaints may also be filed online.