Unclaimed Tax Credits in Maryland: Thousands May Miss Out on Millions in Savings

Posted on 08/22/23 | News Source: WMAR2NEWS

Thousands of people may be eligible for significant tax savings, and don't even know it.

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is mailing 145,000 postcards to homeowners and renters who may qualify for these “forgotten” tax credits but haven’t yet applied.

The deadline to apply for the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit program and the Renters’ Property Tax Credit is October 1.

“These programs are designed to help individuals that have limited income, and also just the average day Marylander that is trying to save money,” said Jamila Blake, SOAR (Securing Older Adults with Resources) financial counselor, with Economic Action Maryland.

The homeowners’ and renters’ property tax credits date back to the 80s, and yet many people eligible for this tax relief aren't aware of it.

“So, a lot of people that apply for the renters' or homeowners' tax credit program, they can save thousands of dollars, which is so beneficial, especially with what we're going through now in the economy,” said Blake.

Last year, more than 37,000 homeowners received an average of $1,501 in tax relief and 6,004 renters received an average of $450 in tax relief. Combined, Marylanders saved more than $58 million, according to SDAT.

To qualify, renters need to be over 60, 100 percent disabled, or under 60 with a dependent under 18 living with them and did not receive federal or state housing subsidies in the previous year.

Homeowners must be over 60, have a net worth of less than $200,000, not including their home, and a combined household income under $60,000.

For more information on eligibility requirements, click here.

Denise Briscoe learned about these programs while searching for financial resources for her sister.

“I've been helping her since her husband died, but I didn't know she was so bad until around October,” said Briscoe.

Her sister's mental and physical health declined as well as her finances. Briscoe said the credit is now helping her afford household essentials.

“How much in the tax credit did she receive?” WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii asked Briscoe.

“Over $1,400 tax credit,” Briscoe responded. “Her tax bill is $1,600 something.”

These significant savings can be used to pay for medications, groceries, and to prevent tax sale or evictions.

Economic Action Maryland is now working with applicants on completing the required paperwork, including seniors and anyone without internet access.

“We make sure to walk hand-in-hand with them. Sometimes, we go to their homes, sometimes we meet them at the library, we meet them wherever they are comfortable so that way we can provide them with the assistance that they need,” said Blake.

However, the non-profit can only help so many ahead of the October 1 deadline, which is quickly approaching. Blake warns not to let this opportunity pass by.

“Never disqualify yourself from these programs. Give us a call, let us see if you qualify for them. And then if you do, then we will be able to walk you through the process,” said Blake.

Applicants need to put in for this credit every year. If you've already paid your tax bill, applicants will receive a refund check after they’re approved for the tax credit.

Click for a link to the application for the Homeowners' Property Tax Credit program and the Renters’ Property Tax Credit program.

Anyone who needs help applying for these credits, can request an appointment with Economic Action Maryland by calling 443-961-6220 or emailing Jamila Blake at jamila@econaction.org.

Or contact the Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation's Tax Credits Telephone Service at 410-767-4433 (Baltimore area number) or 1-800-944-7403 (toll free).