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Real Property Tax Information

Real Property Tax Look Up 

Types of Taxes Billed
Tax Rate Schedule
When Taxes Are Due
How to Pay Taxes
Mortgage Information
Tax Credits
Important!! New State Application Process for Homestead Tax Credit
Senior Tax Credit 
Homeowner's Property Tax Credit
Tax Deferrals
State Assessments
Change of Address 


Types of Taxes Billed 

General County Real Property Tax:  

This tax is levied on all property in the County and funds, in part, such basic services as education, public safety, public works, and community services.

State Real Property Tax: 

This tax is levied by the State of Maryland, but collected by Howard County and is used for the payment of principal and interest on State bonds.

Fire Tax: 

Prior to July 1, 2012, Howard County had two fire districts with separate fire tax rates for each district.  The two individual districts were combined as of July 1, 2012, into a single county-wide district with a single rate supporting all fire and emergency response operations. 

Trash Fees: 

The annual fee for the collection and disposal of residential trash is $225 for those households receiving trash, recycling and yard services, $210 for those households receiving trash and recycling services only and $39 for those households receiving recycling service only.

Trash Credit, Watershed Protection Fee and Bay Fee Hardship Program: 

Homeowners with limited income may qualify for a 60% credit against the Trash Fee and Watershed Protection Fee and 100% of Bay Fee. Income brackets for this credit have been expanded. A family of 4 can qualify with an income up to $61.300 For more information and an application call 410-313-4076. The deadline for filing is September 1, 2015.

Water and Sewer Charges: 

An ad valorem charge is levied on real property located within the Metropolitan District. Ad valorem charges are primarily used to fund the cost of new construction and/or replacement of the water and sewer system's infrastructure and may be used for operation costs as well. 

Front Foot Charge 

All owners of properties located on a street, road, lane, alley or right-of-way in which a water or sewer main exists, pay an annual front foot benefit assessment charge.

State Bay Restoration Fee 

The Maryland State Government enacted the State Bay Restoration Fund in 2004. Howard County is required to bill users of private septic systems a fee of $15.00 per quarter for a single residential dwelling. For additional information please visit the Maryland Department of the Environment web site at www.mde.state.md.us. For billing questions, please call 410-313-4076.

Bay Fee Hardship Exemption  

Howard County has a Hardship Exemption for low income homeowners to exempt them from payment of the State Bay Restoration Fee.  The eligibility requirements are the same as for the Trash Fee and Watershed Protection Fee Credit program and one application will be used to qualify you for all three programs. Click HERE for application and instructions. 

How the Tax Rate is Determined 

The real property tax rate, which is set each year by the County Council, is applied to the assessed value of the property. Real property tax is levied annually on all taxable land and improvements.

Tax Rate Schedule

Levy Type 

County Tax
State Tax
Fire Tax
Ad Valorem 


 Rate per $100 assessment  


When Taxes Are Due 

All taxpayers living in their principal residence pay their real property tax bills on a semi-annual schedule unless they opt out of the semi-annual scheduled by making an annual payment by September 30th. Taxpayers who are principal residents will receive a tax bill that will permit them to pay on either a semiannual or annual basis. Taxpayers who escrow their tax payments may choose to pay annually, but must notify their lenders by May 1st of their intent to pay annually.

Starting July 1, 2012, real property tax on small business commercial property can be paid on a semi-annual basis.  To qualify for semi-annual payments, the total of county taxes, state taxes and special taxing district taxes must not exceed $100,000.

Annual bills and the first installments of semiannual bills are due on or before September 30th and become delinquent on October 1st. Howard County allows a ½ percent discount on the General County Real Property Tax paid in the month of July. The second semiannual installment is due on or before December 31st and becomes delinquent January 1st.
Delinquent taxes are subject to interest and penalty at the rate of 1.5% per month on all County taxes and fees and 1.0% on State taxes. Interest and penalties are applied to the amount levied net of any credits.

Taxes which remain delinquent on March 1 of each year receive a final legal notice. Additional penalties are imposed on April 1 of each year and payments made after this date must be in the form of cash, certified check, or credit card. Delinquent taxes will result in the sale of the property tax lien through public Tax Sale

How to Pay Taxes 

Taxpayers have several options for paying their property taxes.

  • Taxpayers can arrange to have their taxes paid by their mortgage company from an escrow account.
  • Taxpayers should mail their check or money order made payable to Director of Finance along with their payment coupon, if available, to Howard County Maryland, PO Box 37237, Baltimore, MD 21297-3237.
  • If taxpayers do not have a payment coupon, they can pay by check or money order made payable to Director of Finance mailed to Howard County Maryland, PO Box 3370, Ellicott City MD 21041-3370.
  • For a fee taxpayers can pay by credit card (VISA, Master Card, American Express, or Discover) on line (click here). See note below.
  • Taxpayers can pay in person at the Department of Finance, Cashier’s Office on the 1st Floor, 3430 Courthouse Dr, Ellicott City, MD. The office is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM except for Howard County Government holidays. Payments in person can be made by cash, check, or money order.  See note below.
  • Taxpayers can also use the drop box located to the left of the doors at 3430 Courthouse Drive to deposit their payments. Payment left in the drop box should be in the form of check or money order. Drop box payments will be processed effective the next County business day.

PLEASE NOTE: Payments made by credit card are assessed a convenience fee. This fee is levied by the Credit Card processor and cannot be waived by Howard County.

Payments made via the website are charged with a convenience fee that varies with the amount of the charges. See payment website for exact convenience fee for your payment amount.


Mortgage Information 

All taxpayers in Howard County receive an original tax bill and are responsible for ensuring that their taxes are paid on time. Howard County also provides a full listing of taxes due on all properties in the County to mortgage companies who request it. These mortgage companies will match the properties for which they hold escrow accounts and make payment to the County. These payments are made effective July 31 (1st installment semiannual and annual) and December 31st (2nd installment semiannual), but may not be posted until early the following month because of the volume of payments at that time.

Property owners may wish to contact their lender to ensure that the lender retrieved the tax bill and has included that bill in the payment process. If the lender does not have the correct billing information, you should forward a copy of your bill to your lender.


If you are refinancing your mortgage around the due dates for property taxes, you should take care that the taxes are not paid by both lenders or by the lender and the title company at settlement. Be sure to notify the old mortgage company well in advance of settlement that you are closing the escrow account and advise them not to make payment if payment will be made at settlement.

Tax Credits

Important!! New State Application Process for Homestead Tax Credit 

Attention: Homestead Application due by December 31, 2012

If your property in Howard County is your primary residence, then your property is eligible for the Homestead Credit during any year when your assessment increases by more than 5%.  You need to submit the one-time Homestead Application by December 31, 2012 to the Department of Assessments and Taxation. If an application is not submitted by December 31, 2012, then the Homestead Credit will be dissallowed beginning with the July 1, 2013 tax year bill.

To determine if you are already filed,  go to the Department's website www.dat.state.md.us and click on the Real Property page for your specific property address.  At the bottom of the page for your property, you will see the Homstead Application Status and the date an application approved if received.

If you have not filed an application, you can call the Department's Homestead Program at 410-767-2165 from the Baltimore Metropolitan area or (toll free) 1-866-650-8783 elsewhere, where a special application with an "Access Code" will be mailed to you so that you can file the form electronically on the website. Filing electronically gets the form proccessed immediately and you will receive an E-mail electronic confirmation of the form's receipt. You may also request an "Access Code" by sending an email to Hcredit@dat.state.md.us.

Alternatively, you can go to the Deparment's website of  www.dat.state.md.us   and click on the Homestead Application heading. There you can print a fillable application in PDF format that you will have to mail to the Department at the address shown. You will NOT later receive a written acknowledgment that the paper form was received.

Any homeowner needing special assistance may call the Homestead Program of the Department of Assessment and Taxation at 410-767-2165 from the Baltimore Metropolitan area or (toll free) 1-866-650-8783 elsewhere.  


Senior Tax Credit 

Attn: Application Due Date is September 1, 2015  

 A County Tax credit is available for homeowners who are at least 70 years old and have a combined household income that does not exceed 500% of the Federal poverty guidelines for a household of 2. For Tax year 2015, that limit is $79,650.

The combined net worth of the household must not exceed $500,000. Net worth means, after deducting outstanding liabilities, the sum of the current market value of all assets including real property, cash, savings accounts, bonds, and other investments; but not including the dwelling for which a property tax credit is sought, the cash value of any life insurance policies on the life of the homeowner, and tangible personal property.

The amount of credit is 25% of the County property tax due in the current year after applying the Homestead Credit authorized under 9-105 of the Tax Property Tax Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The amount of the credit shall be calculated after all other credits granted for the property have been applied. Applicants for the Senior Tax Credit are required to apply for all other credits that may be available for that property.

To complete the application, click on the link below. You must save a copy of the application to your computer. Close the internet. Open the saved file on your computer, fill in the required information, print the form, sign it and mail it to the Howard County Department of Finance per the instructions on the application.

Download Application 
Download Frequently Asked Questions 


Homeowner's Property Tax Credit 

Click Here:  http://www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/taxcredits.html 


Maryland’s Homeowner’s Property Tax Credit program is administered by the State and granted to eligible homeowners of all ages. The program provides tax credits for homeowners who meet certain household income and net worth limits.

Beginning in Tax Year 2006 (July 1, 2006), the following changes were made which will make this credit available to more taxpayers and will increase the total amount of the credit for those who qualified in the past.

1) The calculation of the credit has changed so that eligible maximum household income to qualify has increased to $60,000.

2) The maximum assessment to which the credit applies has increased from $150,000 to $300,000.

3) The cash value of any qualified retirement plan or individual retirement account no longer is considered in the Net Worth calculation for the purpose of eligibility for the credit.

You may qualify for a tax credit if your property taxes exceed the amounts shown in the following table:


Annual Gross Income:
$ 8,000
$ 9,000
  Property Taxes on the first $300,000 of assessed value that exceed:
$ 0
$ 10
$ 20
$ 30
$ 40
$ 85
$ 130
$ 175
$ 220
$ 285
$ 350
$ 415
$ 480
$ 545
$ 610
$ 675
$ 740
$ 820
$ 900
$ 980


To receive the County and/or State Homeowner's Credit, you must file an application before September 1st. To apply for both homeowners credits you only need to file the State Homeowner Credit Application.

For more info and to download an application, visit their website at SDAT Property Tax Credits or call 410-767-4433.

Homeowner’s Credits are displayed on the tax bills. The amount of the credit will appear on the bill and reduces the tax amount due. If the credit is issued after the taxes are paid, a refund will automatically be made to the taxpayer. If you are anticipating a tax credit, but it has not been granted as of the due date of your taxes, pay the taxes in full to avoid interest and penalties.


The State of Maryland provides for exemptions including those for disabled veterans and blind persons. More information is available at SDAT Tax Credits.

Energy Conservation Credits 

High Performance Building Credit


A High Performance Building Credit is available for owners of a Commercial building that achieves at least a silver rating according to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system or an R-2 or R-3 building that achieves at least a silver rating under the LEED for Homes Rating System or a comparable rating system that the Director of Inspections, Licenses and Permits may adopt by regulation.

Comparable systems currently recognized by the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits are the silver certification level of the National Green Building Standard ICC-700 and the Green Neighborhood score of at least 136.

The equivalency is as follows:


LEED Level  

ICC 700 Level  

Green Neighborhood Equivalent  



191 to 251 points  



164 to 190 points  



136 to 163 points  



Tax Credits will be granted against the County Tax imposed on the building as follows:

Commercial Core & Shell or New Constructions (for five years)

LEED Silver or equivalent 25%
LEED Gold or equivalent 50%
LEED Platinum or equivalent 75%


Commercial Existing Building (for three years)

LEED Silver or equivalent 10%
LEED Gold or equivalent 25%
LEED Platinum or equivalent 50%

Click HERE for the Commercial Application  


R-2 or R-3 Building

LEED Silver or equivalent

Year 1 –75% Year 2 – 56% Year 3 –38% Year 4 –19%

LEED Gold or equivalent

Year 1 –90% Year 2 – 68% Year 3- 45% Year 4 – 23%

LEED Platinum or equivalent

Year 1 –100% Year 2 –75% Year 3 – 50% Year 4 – 25%


R-2 and R-3 credits may not exceed $5,000 per building in any one fiscal year, except that each owner occupied unit is allowed a credit not to exceed $5,000.

Click HERE for the R-2 and R-3 Application  

Registration for High Performance Building (HBP) Property Tax Credit


Effective July 1, 2012, property owners whose intention is to construct a building that would be eligible for the High Performance Building Property Tax Credit under Howard County Code §20.129B may register their intention with the County prior to beginning construction by completing a High Performance Building Property Tax Credit Registration form.


In order to register, if the property owner intends to use the standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the property owner must have already registered their project with the USGBC. If they are using ICC 700 or Green Neighborhood standards, such designations should be included on their building plans. In either case, they must have obtained a building permit from the Howard County Department of License and Permits. Failure to maintain an active building permit will result in removal from the list of registered properties.

Upon completion of the project, the property owner must present a completed HPB Tax Credit Application along with documentation of the LEED or equivalent certification to the Howard County Department of Finance. A property owner is not prevented from applying for the HBP Property Tax Credit if they fail to register for the program prior to beginning construction.

Click HERE for the Registration Form  


For more information on these credits or registration form call 410-313-3196. 

Green Building 

Those buildings that do not meet the criteria for the High Performance Building Credit, may be able to receive a credit under our Green Building Tax Credit program. This credit is a percentage of the amount spent to install an energy conservation device in a LEED certified building for a period of three years. The credit may not exceed the amount of the County taxes owed on the building.

LEED Certification
LEED Silver Certification
LEED Gold Certification
LEED Platinum Certification



For more information, call 410-313-4075.


Other County Credits 

Howard County provides tax credits for the following. For more information click on the appropriate credit below or call 410-313-4076.

Day Care Provider 

Surviving spouse of fallen law enforcement or rescue workers 

Disabled law enforcement or rescue worker 

Community Associations 

Property leased or occupied by a religious group 

Renovation of Historic Property 

Sprinkler System in historic building 

Therapeutic Riding Facilities 

Agricultural Land 

Commercial or Industrial businesses 

Brownfields Enterprise Zone 

Shared Equity 

Amateur Sports Athletic Fields  

Conservation Land 

Livable Home Tax Credit  


Tax Deferrals

Tax Deferral Program for Elderly or Disabled Homeowners  


A new tax deferral program is now available that will allow qualifying homeowners the option of deferring that protion of county property tax currently due which is in excess of the county property tax paid the previous year. To be eligible for the deferral homeowners must be:

1) 65 years of age or older OR permanently and totally disabled

2) AND have an annual income of $75,000 or less

3) AND have resided in the current dwelling for at least 5 consecutive years.

For instructions, click here  
For application, click here  


State Assessments

The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) determines the taxable assessment of your real property. The taxable assessment equals the full cash value, determined by the Assessor’s Office. It is important to verify any assessment notices received from SDAT for accuracy. Assessments may be appealed.

Online assessment information is available at SDAT.

Anyone desiring more precise details about an assessment, or the appeal process, should call SDAT at 410-480-7940 or visit its website at www.dat.state.md.us.


Change of Address

In Maryland, SDAT is the official central file of all addresses relative to State and County taxes. If you wish to change your address, you must notify SDAT. We have provided a Change of Address Form for your convenience. Please mail the form to:

Supervisor of Assessments and Taxationbr /> Howard County Office
District Court Multi-Service Center
3451 Courthouse Drive
Ellicott City MD 21043