If you own any type of property in Maryland, you must pay property tax. This tax collected by the county is typically earmarked for a number of uses from roads and parks to schools. In Maryland, county governments collect an average of 0.87 percent of a property’s assessed fair market value as property tax each year. It is interesting to note that our state has among the highest property tax rates in the nation, ranking 11th highest.
While property taxes provide infrastructure and economic nourishment to communities, it is also important that you are not paying more in real estate taxes than you should be. Property taxes should be accurate and fair. In Maryland, property tax assessments are performed once every three years. Every jurisdiction has its own unique process. Some of the factors that affect property values include lot size, the square footage of the property and other amenities such as swimming pools, finished basements and larger garages. Typically, a tax assessor will not visit your property for the assessments. When it comes to residential assessments, a “mass appraisal” process is used.
The assessment of property values isn’t always accurate or fair. This is because local assessment offices often are not properly staffed and assessors tend to be overworked. So they may have a hard time handling assessments of thousands of properties. There is the potential for mistakes to happen. Regardless of what caused assessment errors what doesn’t change is that the money comes out of your pocket.
If you believe that the property assessment you received is unfair and inaccurate, you should absolutely challenge it because, as we pointed out, this is money out of your pocket. When you receive the assessment notice and you don’t agree with the number on that notice, don’t waste any time. Contact the county assessor or state office depending on where you live.
Find out the deadline to file your appeal and make sure you file it well within that date. In Maryland, you must file an appeal within 45 days of receiving your new assessment notice. When you file the appeal on time, you have the right to a mail-in appeal phone hearing or in-person hearing with an assessor. Our Baltimore tax attorneys advice clients to have a face-to-face meeting with the assessor as we believe this type of meeting will be most effective.
Once you file an appeal you need information to support your appeal that could include architectural drawings of your property, site plans, surveys, recent sale prices in the neighborhood of comparable properties and so on. It is important during the process to have a tax attorney who is well versed in these issues to give yourself the best shot at success. A knowledgeable tax attorney will help you avoid likely pitfalls and navigate the appeal process successfully. Call our Baltimore tax attorneys, or fill out our contact form for a free and comprehensive consultation.