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Programs help homeowners save on property taxes

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Posted on: June 6, 2024

By SAM GAUNTT

Multiple programs offered by the city, county and state could take some of the sting out of paying property taxes, especially now that College Park has raised its residential tax rate by 11%.

Here’s a look at some of the credits that could lower your property tax bill — but only if you apply for them. 

Homestead property tax credit

When the value of a home increases, so does the amount of property tax the homeowner owes. The state’s Homestead Property Tax Credit limits how much that bill can increase.

This state program limits the increase in property taxes after a change in the property’s assessed value to 10% per year. To be eligible for this credit, the homeowner must claim the property as their primary residence and must have lived there for more than six months. 

Counties and cities may place stricter limits on the increase, however, and College Park does, setting the limit at 0% per year — which means the homeowner does not owe additional property taxes based on an upward assessment.

“I would say without hesitation that College Park has some of the most generous property tax credits of any municipality in Prince George’s County and some of the strongest in the entire state,” College Park City Councilmember Stuart Adams (District 3) told College Park Here & Now. 

To apply to the Maryland Homestead Property Tax Credit Program, go to tinyurl.com/yttnb9r4.

Homeowners’ property tax credit

Another state program, the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit, gives a break to homeowners who earn less than $60,000 a year.

This program limits the amount of property taxes residents have to pay on a sliding scale, depending on their income. The lower the combined household income, the lower the total property tax bill. 

To be eligible for this credit, the homeowner must declare the property as their primary residence, and the homeowner’s net worth, not including their property value or retirement savings, must not exceed $200,000. 

College Park offers a further discount under this program for homeowners approved for the state credit, supplementing the state credit with an additional 15% credit. 

To apply, go to tinyurl.com/yttnb9r4

Elderly tax credits

Both Prince George’s County and College Park offer property tax credits to homeowners age 65 and up.

The county’s Elderly Property Tax Credit offers residents a credit of up to 20% of their county property tax bill. This credit incorporates discounts from the Homestead and Homeowners’ credits, meaning for residents who are already receiving a 20% or more decrease on their county property tax bill, the Elderly Property Tax Credit will not provide any further advantages. 

To be eligible for the elderly tax credit, the homeowners must have lived on their property for more than 10 years and the value of their property must not exceed $515,000.

College Park has an additional Elderly Property Tax Credit, separate from the county’s. City homeowners can save an additional $150 on top of the credit offered by the county. To be eligible, the homeowner must be older than 65 and have resided on the property for at least 10 years. The value of the property must not be greater than $500,000. 

To apply for the county’s credit, go to tinyurl.com/5n8dpwsh 

To apply for College Park’s credit, go to tinyurl.com/52zdwp7p 

Accessibility features credit

County residents who have installed an accessibility feature on their property, such as a wheelchair ramp or a chair lift, can apply for the Accessibility Features Tax Credit. This credit covers either 50% of the cost of the feature or $2,500 – whichever is less. 

To apply for this credit, go to tinyurl.com/yk98eu44 

Solar and geothermal energy credit

The Alternative Energy Property Tax Credit is for county homeowners who have installed solar or geothermal energy devices, such as heating or hot water systems. The credit will give homeowners the least of three amounts: 50% of the costs of installing the devices, $5,000 for a heating system or $1,500 for a water heater. 

To apply for this credit, go to tinyurl.com/5n8dpwsh

Surviving spouse of a fallen officer credit 

The county’s Surviving Spouse of a Fallen Officer property tax credit covers the entire property tax for the spouse of a law enforcement officer or emergency rescue worker who died in the line of duty. This credit extends for 20 years, or until the homeowner remarries or moves. 

To apply for this credit, go to tinyurl.com/5n8dpwsh princegeorgescountymd.gov/departments-offices/finance/property-tax-credits/residential 

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