Baltimore and Howard counties report problems with property tax bills

Government finance administrators in two suburban counties said this week they have discovered errors in their counties' property tax bills.

In Baltimore County, officials told taxpayers to disregard bills that were arriving this week because they could be erroneous.

Meanwhile, Howard County administrators said Friday that property tax bills in that county — scheduled to go out this week — were being delayed because of "software-generated errors."

Baltimore County spokeswoman Stacie Burgess said in an email to The Baltimore Sun that officials there discovered "mathematical errors" in a random sampling of the county's 280,000 tax bills.

Baltimore County is sending letters to taxpayers and trying to spread the word through social media and the county website, she said. She said the county had "contacted the majority of mortgage companies regarding the error" and also urged taxpayers to alert their mortgage companies directly about escrow accounts.

The county says it will refund any taxpayer who pays the wrong amount because of the errors.

Burgess said the county is currently rerunning reports and will analyze the new bills to ensure they are accurate. The reprinting and mailing process is expected to take an additional four weeks, according to a letter that budget finance director Keith Dorsey sent to taxpayers.

In Howard County, finance director Stanley Milesky said in a statement that as county employees there prepared bills, "we detected some software-generated errors that mostly involved incorrect addresses." Tax bills are usually mailed July 1 and are now expected to be mailed by July 12. Those whose taxes are paid through escrow accounts won't notice the delay, he said.

The Howard County software is provided by Tyler Technologies, based in Plano, Texas. A spokeswoman for the company said support teams have been in daily contact with Howard County to work out the problems.

Both Baltimore and Howard counties are extending their deadline for discounts for taxpayers who pay their bills in a timely manner.

Anne Arundel County also uses Tyler Technologies for its property taxes but hasn't experienced any problems, according to county spokesman Owen McEvoy. There, bills typically are mailed toward the end of the first week of July.

Tyler Technologies provides tax software for a total of nine Maryland counties, but the company said it has not received any other reports of problems in the state.

Baltimore County uses a different vendor for its tax software but emphasized that its tax bill errors were not the result of any software problems.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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