City asks state to strip homestead credits from 2,157 homes
Heads up, city residents: If you're receiving a property-tax credit you're not entitled to, your days of artificially lower tax bills could be numbered.
Baltimore's Finance Department is asking state assessors to strip homestead credits from 2,157 properties, saying the owners don't live there even though they're collecting a tax break meant for owner-occupiers. The city intends to bill for the $1.3 million in additional taxes for the current year, plus back taxes for up to seven years.
The homestead program has for years been plagued by the problem of people receiving credits on homes they don't live in, or homes they spend some time in but don't occupy as their primary residence. Sometimes property owners collect homesteads they're ineligible for knowingly, sometimes not.
Buyers in the last few years have had to specifically apply for the credit, but longer-term owners have until the end of next year to follow suit. Until the 2007 application law, the state granted homestead eligibility based on whether the land records indicated that the property would be the purchaser's principal residence.
If you're confused about whether you're getting the homestead credit on your property, you can look at your tax bill. Baltimore bills are available online here.