For Maryland homeowners who wish to submit their one-time application to confirm eligibility for the homestead tax credit, the deadline is finally approaching.
Every principal residence homeowner in Maryland should follow these steps to make sure that their property is registered and eligible for the homestead tax credit:
Step 1: CHECK YOUR STATUS
Visit the Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation (SDAT) Real Property Data Search page. Select the county and search either by Street Address, Map/Parcel, Property Account Identifier or Property Sales (typically Street Address is the easiest way to search).
Once you have entered the information, the tax record for your property will appear. At the bottom of the record, a separate category appears called Homestead Application Information, and beneath that category is the Homestead Application Status.
There are four status categories: Approved (with date of approval); Application received (but not yet processed); No application; or Application denied.
If your application is listed as approved, you previously filed the homestead and have nothing further to do. If it is "received," you should check back to make sure it is approved. If your status states "no application," continue to Step 2. If the application has been denied and you disagree with the denial, you should contact the Homestead Division to contest the denial:
Step 2: FILE THE HOMESTEAD ELIGIBILITY APPLICATION
There are three ways to file the Homestead Eligibility Application:
- File electronically. To file electronically, you will first have to send an email request to Hcredit@dat.state.md.us. In your email, make sure to include the following information: the purpose of the email (to electronically file the Homestead Eligibility Application), your name, property address and county.
You will receive an email response with your real property account number and an access number with a link to file electronically and will need to enter both the account number and the access number in order to use the link. It could take up to a week to receive a response back after you submit your request. Immediately upon filing through the link, you will receive back an automated email confirmation, which you should keep for your records.
- File by mail. To file by mail, print and mail the completed application to:
Department of Assessments and Taxation
Homestead Tax Credit Division
301 West Preston Street, 8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
File by fax. You can also print out the application using the above link and fax in the application to 410-225-9344. Make sure you keep a fax confirmation.
Do not print out the application, complete it and email it to SDAT. The only way to file electronically is to follow the above directions – they will not accept a scanned and emailed application.
After submitting your application, keep checking your SDAT records by following Step 1 above to make sure that your application is approved. It can take several weeks from the application submission before the status shows up as approved, so make sure to keep copies of all correspondence.
Maryland properties registered as a homestead cannot see their taxable assessed value increase beyond a certain cap, which is 10% or less depending on the county.
But as home prices were soaring in the mid-2000s, the Department of Assessments & Taxation became concerned that too many homes that were not eligible for the homestead were benefitting from the cap.
In the 2007 session of the Maryland General Assembly, lawmakers passed legislation that required homeowners to submit a one-time application to confirm their eligibility for the homestead tax credit – even if their home had been previously registered – in hopes of discovering homes that were no longer eligible for the cap.
The deadline for filing the application was set 5 years into the future – December 31, 2012.
The irony is that one of the main reasons for this legislation has mostly passed because assessments have steadily declined over the last five years.