Real Property Taxes
All real property located within the town limits is subject to taxation, except that which is specifically exempt. Each property is reassessed every three years by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). The property assessment used by the town to calculate the tax represents 100% of full cash value. The real property tax is levied annually on all taxable land and improvements. The tax rate, which is set each year by the Board of Town Commissioners, is currently $0.50 per $100 of assessed value.
All property within the town limits is located in Harford County, District 03. The town uses the same property identification number as Harford County, in a format such as “03-123456”.
Semi-Annual Tax Payment Plan
As of July 1, 2000, the State of Maryland authorized a mandatory semi-annual tax payment plan, whereby a property owner of an owner-occupied property can pay 50% of their property tax by September 30 and the remaining 50% (with an additional service charge) by December 31. The service charge calculated by the town must be approved by the state and is approved by the Board of Town Commissioners each year as part of the final budget resolution.
In the event that the second installment is not timely paid by December 31, interest, at the rate of 1.5% per month, will start to accrue on the unpaid balance. Property owners not wishing to pay on a semi-annual basis must expressly opt out by notifying their mortgage company. The department mails reminder notices for the second installment during the first week of December each year.
As of July 1, 2012, the State of Maryland passed a bill that gave businesses with a cumulative (town, county, and state) real estate tax less than $100,000 an option to pay the taxes semi-annually.
Real property taxes are assessed and billed in advance on a fiscal year basis, commencing July 1 of each year, and the town bills and collects its own real property taxes. The town offers a 1% discount on both annual and semi-annual tax bills that are postmarked by July 31. Interest will start to accrue, at the rate of 1.5% per month, on October 1 of each year for annual and for the first installment for semi-annual payers.
You can pay by credit card, VISA or MasterCard, and a convenience fee of 2.95% will be charged.
E-checks are also accepted, and a convenience fee of $.95 per check will be charged.
Taxes shall become delinquent on April 1, nine months after they have been levied. Properties with delinquent taxes will be advertised six times between April and June and will be taken to tax sale on the third Monday of June if they remain unpaid. Taxpayers whose accounts have been advertised and/or go to tax sale will be responsible for advertising costs. The department mails delinquent notices for unpaid taxes during the first week of March each year. After March 31, checks will no longer be accepted as a form of payment for delinquent accounts. The liability for timely payment is the responsibility of the property owner, irrespective of whether a mortgage lender customarily makes payment from an escrow.
The town provides for exemptions under state law for disabled veterans and blind persons, as well as credits certified by the town’s Historic District Commission. The state also administers a Homeowner’s Property Tax Credit Program and the Homestead Tax Credit Program. For the state’s credit or exemption programs, please visit the State Department of Assessments and Taxation website.