Truth in (property tax) advertising
You may have run into this before: real estate ads trumpeting property-tax bills that aren't anywhere near what you -- the prospective buyer -- would pay, because they're what the seller is paying after years of homestead-credit protection.
Maryland's tax break for owner-occupants keeps the property tax bill from rising more than a certain amount each year. In Baltimore, for instance, the homestead cap is 4 percent. But the credit doesn't transfer from one owner to the next, so a new buyer will get a bill that reflects the full assessment.
This can be a nasty shock if you didn't realize it and weren't budgeting for it.
As Julie Bykowicz reports, city real estate ads will have to take that into account in about three months. That's when a new ordinance goes into effect to put the kibosh on "misleadingly low figures." (We could call it the "read my lips: no old taxes" rule.)
The ordinance, the story says, requires that "tax figures in ads must be a reflection of the property's most recent assessment multiplied by the city property tax rate of $2.268 per $100 of assessed value."
What do you think of that?