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Overlooked Property Tax Discounts for Senior Homeowners

Property tax discounts for senior homeowners (and more)

If the government offered to lower your tax rate would you accept the offer?  Would you be surprised to know that many seniors, you, your parents or grandparents are paying more property tax than they need to simply because they are unaware of property tax credit programs they may be eligible for.  For many seniors (and low income homeowners) the savings could amount to thousands of dollars annually.  We work with senior homeowners and home buyers on a daily basis and estimate that fewer than 10% of those that are eligible are receiving or have even applied for the credit.

How it works in Maryland

In Maryland for example the 2013 Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program offers all Maryland homeowners credits against their property tax bill if the taxes exceed a fixed percentage of a persons gross income.   The program has been around since 1975 and while there is no age restriction on the program it is of particular benefit to senior homeowners who have seen property taxes rise while income remains fixed.  Eligibility is based on four basic requirements:

  1. You must own or have legal interest in the property (ie: you can’t be a renter).
  2. The home you are seeking a tax credit for must be your primary residence at least six months of the year.
  3. Your net worth, NOT including the value of the property OR any qualified retirement accounts must be less than $200,000
  4. Your combined gross household income cannot exceed $60,000

There are some other restrictions and it is important to note that there is no automatic granting of the credit.  Homeowners MUST apply each year by September 1, but should submit applications on or before May 1 to receive credits due before tax bills are issued in July.

More information on the Maryland Program

More information including a chart showing how the credits are figured and an application is available on the Homeowner Tax Credit page of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) web site.  The current year application is available for download here.

What about in other states?

We are using the Maryland tax credit program as an example here but most states, county and/or local governments have similar programs.  For more information on programs in other locations, try a web search or contact your local tax authority.

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