This is the flip side of the Homestead Credit, which caps annual property tax increases. When home prices are skyrocketing, your taxes reflect only part of that rise. But you'll be catching up with the unpaid part of the increase later when prices stagnate -- and even when they drop. (It's only when your property assessment and your tax burden equal out that your tax bill figure stays put.)
As Larry Carson reports, "a house that jumped 50 percent in value when it was reassessed in 2005, for example, would take 10 years to reach full value if the annual cap is 5 percent or less, as it is in 15 of Maryland's 24 jurisdictions." His article notes that "virtually all" of the 700,000-plus property owners recently reassessed will have a bigger tax bill this year.
Carson, property tax reporter extraordinaire, reports in another story that Baltimore City's reassessed neighborhoods saw a big increase in taxable values even as some parts of the state declined:
While appraisals were nearly flat statewide for property overall - and even dipped in the more prosperous suburbs - values for homes in the third of Baltimore that will receive the notices rose 21.4 percent since their last assessment in 2005.
State assessors said home values rose 9.7 percent in eastern Baltimore County, 5 percent along the U.S. 40 corridor in Harford County, and 2 percent in the reassessed area of Carroll County. Home values dropped 4.2 percent in Anne Arundel, 7 percent in Howard and 16.3 percent in Montgomery County.
Think your reassessed value is wrong? You can appeal.
Read a How-to from the end of '07 on property tax appeals or go to the state's appeal page for information.