Anyone who owns property knows that paying property taxes is a given. Sometimes property taxes are difficult to pay, particularly when an individual’s income is not reflective of the amount of property taxes they owe. What’s more, as property values increase every year, taxable assessments can increase every year as well. This means that year-over-year, a property owner may be liable for paying a sizable percentage more in property taxes.
To reduce the financial burden that is placed on property owners, the state of Maryland has adopted a homestead tax credit. This blog post goes over what the homestead tax credit is, how to apply for it, and what happens if your applications is denied, as well as your right to appeal a denial.
What Is the Homestead Tax Credit?
The homestead tax credit is a program that caps the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage. The program is statewide and requires that all cities and counties throughout Maryland limit the taxable assessment increase to 10 percent or less annually.
As a note, the state also maintains a Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit program which limits the amount of taxes a person owes on their property to a percentage that is based on the homeowner’s income. This is a separate program that should not be confused with the homestead tax credit.
Applying for the Homestead Tax Credit
To receive the tax credit, homeowners must submit a one-time application. The application can be accessed online, and includes questions about the property and the property owners. To qualify for the homestead tax credit, there are a number of conditions that must be satisfied. These include:
- The property must not have been transferred to new ownership during the previous tax year;
- There was no change in the classification of zoning;
- The home must be the applicant’s primary residence;
- There has been no substantial change in the use of the property; and
- If the property is being vacated in order to renovate or replace the current home (on the existing property), eligibility is still possible if the applicant lived in the home for at least three tax years prior to vacating, and the building/renovation will be completed within the next succeeding tax year.
Appealing a Denied Homestead Tax Credit Application
If you have applied for the homestead tax credit, you should be informed of your eligibility via writing. You can also check the status of your application online.
If your application is denied, you have 30 days from the date of receiving a final denial notice to appeal the decision. If you wait longer than 30 days, your right to appeal may be forfeited. You will appeal the decision with the Property Tax Assessment Board in your jurisdiction. You will need to call the central office for the homestead tax credit program to initiate your appeal.
Working with an Experienced Attorney
Understanding the homestead tax credit and your eligibility can be confusing. Knowing what action to take if your application has been denied, or the best method for successfully appealing a denial, may be challenging. To help you understand your rights, working with an experienced attorney is advised.
An attorney can review your initial homestead tax credit application to ensure that it contains the information that the board is looking for. If your application is denied, you should contact an attorney immediately (remember, you only have 30 days to initiate your appeal). Your attorney can guide you through the appeals process and represent you during any appearances before the board and all other interactions.
Call the Law Offices of Matthews S. Evans, III LLC Today
For skilled legal counsel that you can count on, contact the Law Offices of Matthews S. Evans, III LLC today. Our experienced Maryland attorneys are well-versed in homestead tax credit law, and can help you to understand your rights. To schedule a consultation, please send us a message using the online form found on our website, visit us in person, or call 410-626-6009 today.