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News Maryland Harford County Bel Air

Harford homeowners have until Dec. 31 to file for key state property tax break

Harford County homeowners who have not yet taken advantage of the Maryland Homestead Tax Credit must postmark their application to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation by Dec. 31 or lose that benefit.

"The four year grace period allowed by the state for homeowners to apply for that tax credit is coming to an end," Harford State Sen. Nancy Jacobs said last week. "If you miss this critical deadline, you will not be able to claim that credit for the 2013 tax year."

Legislation enacted by the 2007 session of the General Assembly requires homeowners to submit a one-time application in order to continue their eligibility for the homestead tax credit; the final deadline set for the application was Dec. 31, 2012.

The homestead credit limits the amount of assessment increase on which a homeowner will pay property taxes if thehomeis the owner's principal residence.

Jacobs, who co-hosted a briefing on the credit application process last week, said in 2007 it was discovered that too many people were claiming the Homestead Tax Credit for vacation homes or investment properties that were not their principal residences, and thus denying the counties needed tax dollars.

This brought about thelawrequiring an application for the principal residence, Jacobs said. Since 2007 homeowners have received two mailings alerting them to the new law and providing an application.

Jacobs said she is concerned some homeowners may be taken by surprise if they didn't read the mailings and then they cannot claim a credit next year.

"You wouldn't believe how many people don't know about this," she said.

To avoid losing their credit, homeowners can go to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation web page at http://www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/homestead.html and find out if they have already filed a Homestead Tax Credit application. If their home is not listed, they can download an application and mail it in before the end of December.

If you have questions, Jacobs said to call Assessments and Taxation, 410-767-2165 or 1-866-650-8783.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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