Incorporated and unincorporated businesses are charged a tax for furniture, fixtures, and equipment utilized in the operation of a business. Property is assessed by the State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT) and forwarded to the County for billing. Most businesses must file a personal property tax return each year. If you are unsure whether you are required to file, please contact SDAT at 410-767-1170.

Recordation Tax


Forms and online filing of returns are available on the SDAT Website.

The SDAT determines the taxable assessment (assessed value) of your personal property based on the original cost less an annual depreciation allowance. It is important to verify any assessment notices received from SDAT for accuracy.

Mailing Personal Property Tax Bills

Personal Property tax bills are mailed throughout the taxable year (July – June), depending on when personal property tax returns were filed by a business. A bill mailed in July that is paid prior to August 1st receives a ½% discount on the County Tax. Personal Property taxes billed in July, August, or September are due September 30th. Personal Property taxes billed in any other month are due by the last day of the month. For any taxable year, the taxes billed are based on personal property located in Howard County as of January 1 of that same year.

Personal Property Fee Disclaimer

Govolution charges a convenience fee of $1.50 for e-check transactions, $3.95 for VISA Consumer Debit transactions, 2.45% for all other debit and credit card transactions for payments of Personal Property Taxes. These are automatically added during your transaction. 

Due to bank and credit card processing times, please allow 3-5 business days for your transaction to process.

Payment by credit card does not give Howard County Government access to your credit card number. That information is retained strictly by Govolution.  Govolution takes full advantage of internet security in the handling of your credit card information.

Look Up and Pay Bills Online

Additional Personal Property Tax Information

Tax Rates

Tax Rates are set by the County Council each fiscal year. The rates are based on $100 of assessed value (taxable assessment). Taxes are calculated by dividing the taxable assessment by $100 and then multiplying by the Tax Rates.

Levy Type Rate per $100 assessment
County Tax                 $ 2.535
Fire Tax-Metro                 $ 0.59


Assessment Questions

Questions regarding the personal property tax return, your assessment, business closings, and other related issues should be addressed to SDAT at 410-767-1170.

Questions regarding tax rates, due dates, interest charges, and payments should be addressed to Howard County Taxpayer Services at 410-313-0796 or email us.

What happens if I do not file?

Personal Property Tax Returns are due to the SDAT by April 15th each year. Extensions of the filing deadline up to 60 days can be granted if the requests are made on or before April 15th. Visit SDAT to file an extension.

A business which files an annual return after the due date of April 15 (June 15 for those with approved extensions), will be assessed penalties by the State of Maryland. Businesses which do not file a return are subject to an estimated assessment of up to twice the estimated value of the personal property owned.

What happens if I do not pay?

Delinquent taxes are subject to interest and penalty at the rate of 1.5% per month on all County taxes. Personal property taxes that are more than 90 days delinquent are turned over to the County Office of Law for collection. Howard County will pursue all legal means to collect taxes due. Business licenses will not be renewed for any business that fails to pay its Personal Property tax.

Business Licenses

Businesses which sell goods or merchandise within Howard County must obtain a business license from the Clerk of the Court. The Clerk of the Court can be reached at 410-313-2111.

Communities in Howard County

Often large corporations with sites in various states and counties, need to find out which of their business units are represented by the tax bill they have received. In an effort to make that process a little easier, the following are communities within Howard County:


Annapolis Junction                               Brookeville                                    Clarksville 
Columbia                              Cooksville                                   Dayton
Elkridge                              Ellicott City                                    Fulton 
Glenelg                               Glenwood                                    Hanover 
Highland                               Jessup                                    Laurel 
Lisbon                              Marriottsville                                    Savage 
Sykesville                              West Friendship                                    Woodbine 
Heavy Equipment Rental Gross Receipts Tax

The Heavy Equipment Tax Reform Act of 2010 took effect on December 31, 2010. This law requires the collection of a 2% Gross Receipts Tax on the short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment property. In return, that property is exempt from Personal Property Tax.

Specifically, this law affects businesses who meet the following two criteria:

  1. The business is described under Code 532412 of the North American Industry Classification System as published by the United States Census Bureau.
  2. The largest segment of total rental receipts of the business is from short-term lease or rental of heavy equipment property.

Heavy equipment property is defined as “construction, earth moving, or industrial equipment that is mobile including any attachment for the heavy equipment. Heavy equipment includes a self-propelled vehicle that is not designed to be driven on a highway; or industrial electrical generation equipment, industrial lift equipment, industrial material handling equipment, or other similar industry equipment.”

Short-term lease or rental means a lease or rental of heavy equipment property for a period of 365 days or less.


April 15 of each year – State of Maryland Personal Property Return Due – you should list any personal property that will be exempt under this law and on which you have been collecting Gross Receipts Tax on Line 11 of Form 4B.

July 31 of each year – Annual Report and listing of all exempt property due to the County.

Quarterly Gross Receipts Tax Return due to the Count on January 31, April 30, July 31 and October 31 each year.

February 28 each year – County will send Annual Balancing Statement and if necessary, a Gross Receipts Shortage Bill.

March 31 each year – Payment for Gross Receipts Shortage due to County.

Call 410-313-4087 for assistance.

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