Confusion over county tax credit generates hundreds of calls to Maryland tax agency

Maryland’s State Department of Assessments and Taxation fielded more than 924 calls from Montgomery County residents who were confused about their eligibility for the county’s Income Tax Offset Credit.

That’s the $692 tax credit, often referenced in county materials as ITOC, tied to a homeowner’s primary residence.

WTOP reported on the county’s news release that urged residents to make sure they had a Homestead Tax Credit, or HTC, on file with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, or they could lose their county tax credit.

No further action was needed for taxpayers who had an HTC on file, but for people applying for the first time, there’s a May 1 deadline.

According to callers to Maryland’s SDAT, the hitch was that to apply for the state homestead credit, they’d need an access code, which could take up to three weeks to obtain.

WTOP contacted Meghann Malone, public information officer for the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation, and she confirmed that her office has been flooded with calls about the issue. She offered some helpful information:

Q: How can residents check to see the status of their state Homestead Tax Credit?

A: “People can look up their property on the real property search, and people can then verify whether or not they’ve already applied for the Homestead Tax Credit.”

After typing in your county and street name, you can select your address. Then, scroll to the bottom of the page, and on the left-hand side, you’ll find “Homestead Tax Credit status,” where you can see whether and when your application was approved.

Q: Do homeowners have to do this every year to be eligible for the Montgomery County ITOC credit of $692?

A: “People should understand that you only have to apply once. You don’t have to apply multiple times,” for the Homestead Tax Credit.

Q: For first-time applicants, will it really take three weeks to get an access code? If so, for Montgomery County residents who won’t make the May 1 deadline for the county’s ITOC, what should they do?

A: “We are pooling resources from all over the department to make sure that people are going to have their access codes by May 1,” Malone said.

Malone explained that her office had not seen the Montgomery County news release urging residents to check their HTC status. “We’re thrilled that there’s so much attention” being paid to tax credit eligibility. “That’s our priority,” Malone said.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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