Homeowners Tax Credit Deadline Extension & More
From Delegate Al Carr
August 29, 2009
In This Issue
Homeowners Tax Credit
Appealing your Tax Assessment
Sept 1st deadline for Renters Tax Credit
Prescription Drug Help
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More about me
Property tax bills online
As I listen to members of our community, one of the concerns I hear mentioned often is high property tax bills.
Counties and municipalities set their property tax rates each spring and homeowners receive their annual property tax bill in July. Property tax revenue pays for many essential local services.
However, one of the side effects of the real estate boom and bust is that Maryland homeowners have taken on a bigger share of the property tax burden than in past years. Even when tax rates are held constant, homeowners are being hit with large increases in their annual tax bill. Tax increases of 8% or more are common this year. In these difficult economic times, this can be especially hard on elderly residents on a fixed income or on families with moderate income.
Homeowners Tax Credit
To help provide relief, the state of Maryland and Montgomery County offer the Homeowners Tax Credit Program.
The state and county Homeowners Property Tax Credit are administered by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). These tax credits are granted to eligible homeowners of all ages, with the exception that taxpayers age 70 and older may file for three years of credits, retroactively. The application deadline for this program has been extended to November 2, 2009. The program provides tax credits for homeowners who qualify on the basis of their household income as compared to their tax bill. The maximum property assessment amount used for computing the tax is $300,000.
For further information or to obtain an application form, contact SDAT at 1-800-944-7403, or visit their website at http://www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/htc.html
Montgomery County also offers a property tax credit for senior residents. The credit is based on 25% of the combined State and County Homeowners Tax Credits. The credit is available to residential property owners, when one of the property owners is at least 70 years of age. Since SDAT has the information to determine eligibility, there is no need to apply for this credit. If you have specific questions about this program, please call SDAT at 1-800-944-7403 or call Montgomery County at 240-777-8950.
Appealing your Property Tax Assessment
In Maryland, properties are assessed on a staggered basis every three years. If your new assessment is an increase, it is phased in over three years. If your new assessment is a decrease, it is phased in immediately. Also, the Homestead Tax Credit further caps the amount that your assessment can increase every year. You need to have lived in your home for two successive Julys to qualify for this cap. In Montgomery County, the County Council last set this cap at 110% in 1992. Each local government has an annual opportunity to set this assessment cap in November. Many other Maryland jurisdictions have set their caps low, to better protect homeowners.
If you believe your property is assessed to high, you have the right to appeal your assessment. Click here to learn more about the appeal process. In the off-years, the deadline to appeal is normally January 1st.
Commercial real property owners appeal their assessments much more often than do residential property owners.
Renters Tax Credit - Deadline September 1st!
Maryland has another tax relief program for renters depending on income, age and disability status, called the Renters Tax Credit. For more information, click here. The deadline to apply is September 1st.
Help with Prescription Drug Costs
My office has received information from several pharmaceutical companies about programs to provide prescription drugs at a greatly reduced price for those who are without health insurance. Please contact my Annapolis office for more details. We can be reached at 301 858-3110 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the interim. 
I hope this information was helpful.
Please let us know what you would like to hear more about or if you would like me to meet with you or your group to discuss issues of concern.

My Annapolis office can be reached at 301 858-3110 or alfred.carr@house.state.md.us.

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Alfred Carr
Maryland State Delegate
18th Legislative District

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