With the calendar quickly marching toward the end of the year, we know that we will soon be in full blown holiday mode. In the hustle and bustle that lies ahead, there is an important deadline to which I would like all of the homeowners in District 6 to be aware.
Beginning on December 31, 2012, homeowners will no longer have the opportunity to verify they are eligible for the Homestead Property Tax Credit. This credit was created to help homeowners deal with large assessment increases on their principal residence. The program caps yearly increases to 10% or less each year for Maryland property taxes, and to no more than a 4% annual increase in Baltimore County. Because of the program, homeowners pay no property taxes when market value increases make home values worth more than the limits imposed by the program – saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually.
Changes were made to state law requiring a verification process when it became evident that a large number of individuals were abusing this program by claiming more than one credit. Prior to this verification program, there were limited methods to ensure that only one credit was being claimed. Thus today, anyone purchasing a new home now goes through program authentication at the point of purchase. For those already living in their homes prior to when the verification process began, forms to verify the Homestead Tax Credit should have been sent along with the tri-annual property tax assessment. It is especially important that, if you did not take the time to verify your Homestead
Credit during your re-assessment cycle, that you do so promptly. For many, the failure to register your home as “Homestead Tax Credit”- eligible could result in significant property tax increases.
If you are uncertain about whether or not your home has already been approved for this tax credit, you can visit http://dat.state.md.us/, and click on “Real Property Data Search.” From there, you should use the drop down box to choose “Baltimore County” and then click on “Street Address.” This will open a dialogue box that will allow you to type in your address (street number and name only – do not use words like “lane, street, avenue”). Doing this will pull up a review of state assessment data on your property, including information at the very bottom entitled “Homestead Application Information.” This section will either say “Approved” or “No Application.” If this section reads “No Application” and you are in an owner-occupied house and are not claiming the credit on another property, you should apply for the credit immediately. It can be accessed electronically at http://www.dat.state.md.us/sdatwe /Homestead_application.pdf.
If you have additional questions, I encourage you to contact the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation. Their website is www.dat.state.md.us and their phone numbers are 410-767-2165 and toll-free 1-866-650-8783. As with any other issue, you may always contact my office with questions, as well.
In the meantime, I would like to wish everyone in the district a very merry Christmas and safe and happy holiday season.