STATE DEPARTMENT OF ASSESSMENTS & TAXATION

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


Functions of the State Department of Assessments and Taxation began in 1878 when the office of the State Tax Commissioner was established (Chapter 178, Acts of 1878). The State Tax Commission replaced the office of State Tax Commissioner in 1914 (Chapter 841, Acts of 1914). Quasi-judicial appeal responsibilities of the State Tax Commission were assigned in 1959 to the Maryland Tax Court (Chapter 757, Acts of 1959). The Commission's administrative duties were assumed at that time by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. In 1973, the State took over administration of local assessment offices and bore their full operational costs as well (Chapter 784, Acts of 1973). Maryland is the only state where the assessment process is centralized fully at the State level.

Appointed by the Governor, the Director of Assessments and Taxation administers and enforces the property assessment and tax laws of Maryland. The Director supervises assessment of all property in the counties and cities so that similar kinds of taxable property are assessed alike. For both real and business personal property, the Director must establish a continuing method of assessment (Code Tax - Property Article, Title 2).

For each county and Baltimore City, the Director of Assessments and Taxation appoints a Supervisor of Assessments nominated by the Mayor of Baltimore City, the County Commissioners, or, under charter government, by the County Council or the County Executive with Council approval.

Under the State Department of Assessments and Taxation are four divisions: Finance and Administration; Management Information Services; Real Property Valuation; and Taxpayer Services.

FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION DIVISION

The Finance and Administration Division formed in 1992 as the Business Services and Finance Division from the merger of the Corporate Charter Division and the Corporate Assessments Division. It received its present name in 1998 when responsibilities of these two divisions (along with Franchise Taxes, and Utility and Railroad Valuation) were transferred to the Taxpayer Services Division.

Under the Division are two units: Accounting, and Administrative Operations.

MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SERVICES

Management Information Services was created in 1993 under the Taxpayer Services Division. In July 1998, Management Information Services was made a separate division.

The Division administers and maintains the automated data systems of the Department. For each county and Baltimore City, the Division designs and maintains systems for real property, corporate charters, local personal property and tax credits.

REAL PROPERTY VALUATION DIVISION

By this division, real property is reassessed on a three-year cycle by reviewing one-third of all property in Maryland every year. The review includes an exterior physical inspection of the property. The Real Property Valuation Division participates in all court proceedings where assessment questions are involved. The Division also provides clerical assistance to several local Property Tax Assessment Appeal Boards. Brochures explaining the assessment process and related matters, such as appeals and tax credits, are available at each local assessment office and from the State office in Baltimore.

Under the Real Property Valuation Division are the local assessment offices. These include an office in each county and an office in Baltimore City.

TAXPAYER SERVICES DIVISION

The Taxpayer Services Division began as Special Programs and was reorganized under its present name in 1992. The Division oversees the annual reassessment of business personal property, including operating property of railroads and public utilities. The Division also is custodian of domestic charters for Maryland corporations and of qualifications and registrations for limited partnerships and foreign corporations. Specified fees are collected, and the personal property of such corporations is assessed by the Division. Thereafter, the values are certified to the subdivisions for application of local tax rates. The Division also administers franchise taxes applicable to the net income of savings and loan associations and other financial institutions, and to the gross receipts of public service corporations. In addition, the Division administers the Home Owners' and Renters' Property Tax Credit Programs, and Personal Property Assessments.

The Home Owners' Property Tax Credit Program and the Renters' Property Tax Credit Program provide more than $58 million in State-funded property tax credits to home owners and renters who qualify based on an income test. The Home Owners' Program is available to all home owners in Maryland, regardless of age. The Renters' Program applies to the permanently disabled; renters aged 60 or over; or renters who are under age 60, with dependent children, and who meet certain income requirements.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2000

July 18, 2000   
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