Maryland Appeals May Require More Work

Tom Branham, Vice President and Managing Consultant 571.366.4632 |

New legislation opens the door to additional obstacles for property owners attempting to minimize their assessed values and property taxes in Maryland. Just because a taxpayer has won an appeal, it may not be the end of the story. Local governments can fight certain assessment reductions in hopes of keeping increased tax revenues.

House Bill 69

HB 69 says that state appeal authorities must notify local governments when commercial values are lowered by more than 20% in a successful appeal. Counties and municipalities can then appeal the lower valuation within 90 days after receiving the notice. This means taxpayers may have more cases to win after their appeal is initially approved to realize any tax savings.

Appeal Considerations

HB 69 also strikes “the assessment value of comparable properties” as criteria in making a final appeal decision. However, the change doesn’t necessarily mean that taxpayers can’t still use the information in an appeal.

The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) submitted written testimony objecting to the comparable properties provision in the law. SDAT contended that the provision violated the Maryland Constitution.

A property owner submitted written testimony in support of this provision, stating that considering sales values alone did not provide the big picture of the market that should include comparable property assessments. Rather than try to solve the constitutional objection, the Legislature chose to take the comparable properties provision out.

The last subparagraph of HB 69 allows consideration of any other criteria relevant to the valuation and assessment of real property. Therefore, a property owner may still be able to raise the assessed value of comparable properties to prove their assessment is too high.