[Fox News] Maryland property tax assessment error could cost $250M

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Maryland lawmakers are looking at a legislative solution to address a missed mailing deadline for property tax assessments, a mistake that affected about 107,000 notices and could cost local governments roughly $250 million over three years if nothing is done, a state official said Thursday.

Maryland reassesses the value of one-third of all property in each county every year. The State Department of Assessments and Taxation must send the notices by Jan. 30.

This year, however, the agency learned of an error that resulted in notices not being sent, according to Michael Higgs, the agency’s director. That has interfered with the timeline for property owners to appeal the new assessments.

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State Sen. Guy Guzzone, who chairs the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, said attorneys are working to find the best solution that will be fair.

“We’re trying to resolve a mistake, and what it will essentially look like would give the department the ability to get the mail out now, which they are in the process of doing, and from the time period that people receive it, that they then continue to get every bit of an opportunity, the full, same opportunity, to appeal assessments,” Guzzone said in an interview Thursday.

Guzzone, a Howard County Democrat, said lawmakers are considering a provision that would extend the expired mailing deadline.

The error in the mailing process was first reported by Maryland Matters.

Higgs said the agency uses the state’s preferred vendor, the League of People with Disabilities, to print and mail reassessment notices. In a statement, he said the vendor has since resolved an error, and the missed recipients will receive notices in the coming weeks.

Higgs said the agency has been working with the General Assembly to draft legislation that will enable a temporary timeline adjustment to distribute the reassessment notices.

“The legislation will ensure that the State reassessment can be completed fairly and accurately and that all appropriate revenues are collected,” Higgs said. “Every account in this group will receive a notice in the coming weeks and will be provided with the full 45-day time frame for appealing the reassessment.”

David Greenberg, the president of the League for People with Disabilities in Baltimore, said a social enterprise division of the group has been processing, printing and mailing the notices with timeliness, proficiency and integrity for more than 10 years.

“In Fall of 2023, SDAT made significant changes to the format of the assessment,” Greenberg wrote in an email. “SDAT later discovered duplicate and missing notices. Since then, The League has been working closely with SDAT staff to fix the issues.”

In December, the department announced there was an overall average increase in value of nearly 26% for all residential property in the state’s 23 counties and the city of Baltimore.

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