Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ February 2008

Oh, Those Taxing Assessments!

By Linda S. Perlman

My house at 1203 Caddington Avenue is worth $432,730, according to the State of Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (“SDAT”) reappraisal of my property as of 1 January.  Only three years ago, the market value of my property, according to SDAT, was $340,180.  This means that my property has appreciated about 27.2 percent since 1 January 2005.  This is less than the statewide average property value increase of 33.2 percent in the reassessed areas, but is substantially higher than the average Montgomery County assessment rise of 16.2 percent over three years.

Approximately one-third of Montgomery County properties are reassessed each year.  All of the houses in the NFCCA area were reassessed this year and property owners should have received an Assessment Notice dated 28 December 2007.  Assessment increases are phased-in over the next three tax years.  However, if you occupy the property as your principal residence, then your annual assessment increase is capped at 10 percent because of the Homestead Tax Credit.

The Homestead Tax Credit is a state law that limits increases for property tax purposes to no more than 10 percent per year for owner-occupied properties.  For the first time this year, homeowners in the NFCCA area (whose properties were reassessed as of 1 January 2008) must submit a one-time application in order to receive the benefit of the homestead tax credit.  Previously, this tax credit was granted automatically if the property was listed in the assessment records as the taxpayer’s principal residence.  The application requirement was instituted because some property owners were improperly receiving this tax credit on rental property and vacation homes.  Your Assessment Notice included an Application for Homestead Tax Credit Eligibility which can be filed online (at and then click on the Homestead Eligibility Application link) or by mail.

Do not ignore the Application for Homestead Tax Credit Eligibility.  If your house is your principal residence and you fail to apply for the homestead tax credit, then your property taxes will increase.  For my house, SDAT estimated that, because of the homestead tax credit, I will not pay county property taxes on $135,897 of assessment.  This assessment amount, multiplied by the Montgomery County tax rate, divided by 100, equals the amount of my tax savings due to the homestead tax credit.  Based on the levy year 2007 County property tax rate ($0.916, per my property tax bill), I calculate that the homestead tax credit will save me $1,244.82 in property taxes for the tax year beginning 1 July 2008.

If you think the New Market Value of your house is too high, then you have the right to appeal by completing the appeal procedure form on the back of your Assessment Notice or by filing an online assessment appeal form.  For assessment notices dated 28 December 2007, an appeal must be filed or postmarked by 11 February 2008.  Please note that it won’t be enough to simply claim that “my assessment is too high.”  You will need facts to back up your case as to why the Total New Market Value of your house does not reflect the actual market value of the property.  This should include supporting evidence, such as examples of sales of comparable properties which support your assertion of the value of your house.  You can obtain a copy of the assessor’s worksheet for your property, and also copies of worksheets for other comparable properties, from the local assessment office (phone 240.314.4510 or email   ■

   © 2008 NFCCA  [Source:]