Real Property Tax FAQs

Where and how can I make payment?

Taxpayers have six options for paying their property taxes.

  • Taxpayers should mail their check or money order made payable to Director of Finance along with their payment coupon 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.

  • Online Taxpayers can pay by credit card (VISA, Master Card, American Express, or Discover) . 

  • Taxpayers can pay in person at the Department of Finance, Cashier’s Office on the 1st Floor, 3430 Court House Dr., Ellicott City, MD 21043. 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.

  • Taxpayers can also use the drop box located to the left of the doors at 3430 Court House Dr., Ellicott City, MD 21043 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. 


Whom should I make my check payable to?

Checks should be payable to Director of Finance.

What if I don't get my bill?

Bills are mailed in early July. Likewise, second installment reminders are mailed in early December. If you do not receive a bill by mid-month of the mailing date contact Taxpayer Services at 410-313-2062 to obtain a duplicate bill.

How much are my taxes?

Information regarding the amount of taxes due can be obtained online for your convenience.

What is the taxable year?

The taxable year is from July 1 to June 30th. Property tax bills mailed in July are for the coming year.

Do I pay my taxes in two installments?

Effective July 1, 2000, a semi-annual tax payment schedule became mandatory for all owner-occupied residential property owners. Under the semi-annual payment schedule, the first installment consisting of one-half of County, State, Fire, Ad Valorem levies and the full amount of Front Foot, State Bay Restoration, Watershed Protection and Trash Fees is due by September 30th. The second installment consisting of the other half of the levies is due December 31st. Taxpayers may opt to pay annually by making the full tax payment by September 30th. While the State of Maryland allows the County to impose a service charge for semi-annual payments, Howard County does not impose a service charge.


In addition, effective July 1, 2011, small businesses with tax bills less than $100,000 are also on a semi-annual payment schedule.

The County and mortgage lenders will assume that taxes are being paid semi-annually. To have your lender make annual payments, they must be notified prior to May 1 of the upcoming tax year. The County does not need to be notified, the County will accept both semi-annual and annual payments.

What is Ad Valorem?

Ad valorem charges help to pay for the operation of the water and sewer system and help cover debts for the system.

Does Howard County send out the Columbia Association Assessment (CPRA)?

The Columbia Association (CA) is a private non-profit community service corporation and is not related to Howard County Government. The CA Assessment is an annual assessment made by CA on property in Columbia to fund its operations. While CA uses the same State Assessment values that Howard County uses to compute your real property tax, Howard County does not bill or collect the CA Assessment. For information regarding your CA Assessment call 410-715-3137.

How will tax credits be paid to taxpayers?

Homeowner’s Credits are displayed on the tax bills. The amount of the credit will appear on the bill and will be subtracted from 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.

All other credits will be listed on the tax bill in the detail section of the bill and will be shown as a subtraction from the amount due.

What if my taxes are not paid on time?

Annual bills and the first installments of semiannual bills are due on or before September 30th and become delinquent on October 1st. 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 net amount of the bill after any credits are applied.

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 or certified check. Credit card payments may be made online. Delinquent taxes will result in the sale of the property tax lien through public Tax Sale.

If I cannot pay my entire bill, can I pay in installments? Do you have a payment plan?

While Howard County does not formally enter into payment plans for Real Property Taxes, any amount will be accepted as payment at any time. Interest and penalties will still be assessed against the unpaid portion of your bill, but you can reduce these charges by paying as much as possible by the due date and by making payments when you can. It is important to note however, that your tax bill must be paid in full prior to the Tax Sale date, or the County will sell the property tax lien through public Tax Sale

How can I receive a duplicate bill?

A duplicate bill can be received by contacting Taxpayer Services at 410-313-2062.

There is a credit balance on my account or I know that there has been a duplicate payment. What is the process of requesting a refund?

Obtain a copy of the canceled check that created the overpayment and mail it along with a letter requesting a refund to:

Howard County
Division of Taxpayer Services
PO Box 3370
Ellicott City, Maryland 21041-3370

Mark the envelope –“REFUND REQUEST”

I am working on my Federal Income Tax Return. How can I find out how much I paid last year?

This information is available by calling Taxpayer Services at 410-313-2062 or by looking up your payments online.

Does Howard County accept credit cards? Is there a charge for this service?

The County accepts Credit Cards and e-checks only online. Govolution charges a convenience fee of $1.50 for e-check transactions, $3.95 for VISA Consumer Debt transactions, 2.45% for all other debit and credit card transactions for payments of Personal Property Taxes and Real Property Taxes.  These are automatically added during your transaction.

Are there any programs to assist taxpayers in paying their tax bills?

A property tax credit is available to residential homeowners, regardless of age, who qualify on the basis of a comparison of their tax bill to household income. Applications for this program must be filed by September 1 of each tax year. For more info and to download an application, visit the State website or call 410-767-4433.

The State of Maryland provides for other exemptions including those for disabled veterans and blind persons. More information is available at the State website

Howard County provides tax credits for the following. For more information 410-313-4076


Day Care Provider
Surviving spouse of an emergency worker
Community Associations
Property lease or occupied by a religious group
Renovation of Historic Property
Sprinkler system in historic building
Green building energy conservation devices
Therapeutic Riding Facilities
Agricultural Land
Commercial or Industrial businesses
Brownfields Enterprise Zone

Should I send a copy of my bill to my mortgage company?

Many but not all mortgage companies utilize a Tax Service to pay property taxes via mass payment. The County creates a file of tax bills that is accessed by these Tax Services to determine how much to pay. If your lender does not use one of these Tax Services, they will require that you send them a copy of your bill. If you are in doubt, you should contact your lender to ask if they need the bill.

How do I correct the name and/or address on my bill?

If you wish to change your address, you must notify SDAT. Here is a Change of Address Form for your convenience. Please mail the form to:

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

I'm having trouble getting through to Customer Service. What can I do?

At certain times of the year, when bills or notices have just been mailed, or a due date is approaching, the County's Tax Customer Service line at 410-313-2062 is extremely busy. Customer Service is available to answer questions between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding County holidays. If you cannot wait for a Customer Service Rep, leave a voicemail and your call will be returned.

What should I do with a bill that I received for property that I no longer own?

Return the bill to Howard County, Division of Taxpayer Services, PO Box 3370, Ellicott City, MD 21041-3370. Please include a short note explaining why the bill is being returned and the name and address of the new owner, if known.