BALTIMORE — Time is running out to apply for tax credits that saved Marylanders more than $63 million last year.
The Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit (HTC) sets a limit on the amount of taxes homeowners are required to pay based on their income, and it helped Elizabeth Vermillera save her home from going to tax sale.
“I’ve been here off and on for 25 years and I’ve never had a problem, but like a lot of people out here, I’m on SSDI, we don’t get the funds, and with COVID it’s taken the heck out of us,” Vermillera said.
A tax lien was placed on her property. She didn’t know what to do, so she contacted the Rose Street Community Center who then reached out to the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) on her behalf.
“They came right in time so my house wasn’t taken,” said Vermillera.
MVLS helped Vermillera apply for the HTC and Homestead Tax Credit.
“The tax credit can actually be the difference between someone being evicted from their home or keeping their home,” said Aja' Mallory, consumer staff attorney with MVLS.
In 2020, 42,300 homeowners in Maryland received an average of $1,422 in tax relief. And 7,500 renters saved an average of $445.64 through the Renters’ Tax Credit (RTC), which helps renters who indirectly pay for property taxes as part of their rent.
In total, Marylanders saved more than $63 million in 2020.
“We want you to be able to pay for medication, for food, for other basics and necessities and so that’s why we’re really hoping more people apply for the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit, it really is a great resource,” said Baltimore City Councilwoman Odette Ramos, who represents District 14.
Marylanders must submit an application every year. This year's deadline is on October `1. Taxpayers who are at least 70 years of age can apply retroactively up to three years.
Councilwoman Ramos and other city leaders are also urging residents to apply after seeing a dip in credits awarded last year. More than 1,500 Baltimore City homeowners didn’t receive the credit compared to the year before, resulting in $2.2 million less in tax savings.
“The applications were down last year simply because people could not get help with that,” Ramos said.
This year, many groups are letting people know they’re here to help.
“We want to do everything we can so we can help families save their homes, so it’s important this kind of information is shared,” said Walker Gladden, youth coordinator at Rose Street Community Center.
Gladden added that Vermillera is the perfect example of the resources available when residents seek them out.
“I understand it’s approximately two-thirds of the bill which will be a blessing because in the end I will definitely be able to pay the taxes this year,” said Vermillera.
There are different eligibility requirements for the two programs.
For the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit, you must meet four basic requirements:
- You must own or have a legal interest in the property.
- The dwelling on which you are seeking the tax credit must be your principal residence where you live at least six months of the year, including July 1, unless you are a recent home purchaser or unless you are unable to do so because of your health or need of special care.
- Your net worth, not including the value of the property on which you are seeking the credit or any qualified retirement savings or Individual Retirement Accounts, must be less than $200,000.
- Your combined gross household income cannot exceed $60,000the property needs to be your principal residence
Click here for more information.
Renters can qualify:
- If you are age 60 or over or 100% disabled and meet income thresholds
- Under 60, have a dependent, and meet income thresholds
Click here for more information.
Another easy way to check if you’re eligible is to visit MarylandTaxCredit.com and answer the prompts.
Also, it’s best if you apply online to avoid any mail issues.
If you’re having a hard time providing documents that show proof of income, Councilwoman Ramos recommends submitting the application and providing the documents at a later date.
Homeowners can also access the application and assistance in the following ways:
- Community Action Partnership (CAP) centers
- Call the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition’s Securing Older Adult Resources Program (SOAR) tax credit hotline at 443-961-6220
- Apply online at bit.ly/mdhomeowners
- Call the State Department of Assessments and Taxation at 410-767-4433.
- Get copies of the application from your local Enoch Pratt Free Library.