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Renters, homeowners running out of time to apply for "forgotten credits"

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Posted at 5:59 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 11:41:38-04

BALTIMORE — Time is running out to apply for tax credits that could save Marylanders hundred of dollars. This year, the deadline to apply for the Maryland Renters' and Homeowners’ Property Tax Credits is October 31.

The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC) refers to them as “forgotten credits.”

RELATED: 2020 homeowner, renter property tax credit deadline extended

“Maryland passed them decades ago, but almost no one knows about them,” said Marceline White, executive director at the MCRC. “What we found is we can bring back $500-$1,000 to people who really, really need it.”

For several years, the MCRC has worked to get the word out about the programs, holding events, visiting senior centers, and partnering with other organizations to notify residents, especially older adults on low fixed incomes.

Not only does the MCRC direct consumers to the application, but they also help applicants fill-out the forms. Clients like Wayne Jiggets, a senior and retired nurse, who doesn't have a smart phone, computer, and during the pandemic, has been unable to meet with representatives from state agencies in-person.

Jiggets said he came across the MCRC by accident.

Earlier this year, he was struggling to pay his bills on time and called 2-1-1 for help tracking down his missing stimulus check. Through the phone system, Jiggets said he somehow connected to the MCRC.

“They assigned me to Jamila Blake,” said Jiggets.

Blake could've just sent him brochures and moved on to the next client, instead, she helped him find financial stability.

“She got me signed up for four different programs,” said Jiggets.

One of them being the Maryland Renters' Tax Credit.

“It was $870 returned like a rebate,” said Jiggets.

With rents rising much faster than earnings, the credit gives back some of the monthly rent that indirectly pays property taxes and helps renters, particularly seniors, afford other basic needs.

The Renters' Tax Credit along with the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit have income eligibility guidelines. The requirements are below.

To see if you qualify for these credits, visit MarylandTaxCredit.com. Consumers can also call 443-961-6220 to make an appointment to virtually sit down with a specialist who can help with filling out the correct forms.

READ MORE: The tax credit nearly half a million Marylanders are missing out on

“With the financial counseling, they do it all for you, you don’t even have to leave your house,” said Jiggets.

“We like the idea of being a one-stop shop. You come in the door for your Renters' Tax Credit but once you have that we really do a full assessment to say, ‘Okay, did you know you could get this? And get this?’ And really try to help them with their full financial picture,” White added.

Jiggets is now in the SNAP program, he gets around with MTA Mobility, and received $900 in energy assistance.

“She really took a lot of the weight off of me. I was able to put a few dollars aside, my rent is paid on time, I have diabetes so I’m able to buy the proper food, I mean wow, that’s all I can say is wow,” said Jiggets.

The Maryland Renters' and Homeowners’ Property Tax Credits are annual credits. Recipients need to file an application every year. White said once residents are in their system, they’ll reach out every year with a reminder to re-apply.