Cases lingering in Maryland Tax Court, state auditors say

The Maryland Tax Court has frequently failed to rule on residential property assessment cases as promptly as the law requires, according to a state audit made public Thursday.

The court, which hears appeals in cases involving state and local taxes, must hear and decide residential property assessment cases within 90 days. But 41 percent of the cases heard between July 2010 and mid-February took longer — as much as a year past the 90-day point, the Office of Legislative Audits said.

Auditors found the same problem in their previous audit three years ago, except then the delays affected more than 60 percent of cases.

Walter C. Martz II, the tax court's chief judge, said in a written response to the auditors that the improvement since then came despite a 25 percent decrease in staff and a 25 percent increase in property assessment appeals.

Martz said the court scheduled more hearings per day and made other procedural changes. He wrote that he expects "further declines in the number of processing days in future years."

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