How-to Monday: Property taxes
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Local property taxes range considerably in Maryland, as anyone who's moved to and from Baltimore knows. You might not want to make homebuying decisions based on taxes alone, but it doesn't hurt to understand the differences beforehand.
So I've broken it out for you. Here's what you'd be paying in county and state property taxes this fiscal year if you bought the median-priced home in various jurisdictions in 2007, and what you'd be paying for a $300,000 house.
(Squinting at the numbers? You can hit the plus button to make the chart larger.)
The home price data comes from the Maryland Association of Realtors, and the tax rates I used to calculate the bill are courtesy of the state Department of Assessments and Taxation. These rates are for July 2007 through June 2008, which means they could change come July 1.
Your home price and your "taxable assessment" aren't necessarily one and the same, but for the purposes of this example I'm assuming that they are. Also, keep in mind that the county rates really are the county rates: If you live in a municipality that adds an additional property tax, such as Annapolis, you'll pay more. (Click HERE to look at all the rates.)
Baltimore City's property tax rate -- $2.268 per $100 of taxable assessment -- means a tax bill that's far and away the highest when you're comparing costs for a $300,000 house across the state. (In fact, it's almost $5,400 more than the cheapest county, Talbot.) It looks better if you're comparing what you'd pay in taxes for the typical city home vs., say, the typical Howard County home.
What you get for your taxes is harder to sum up in a neat jurisdictional chart. That's always a heated topic.