Baltimore mayor proposes relief for historic tax credit errors

BALTIMORE - Baltimore residents who received unexpectedly higher property tax bills after the city uncovered the allocation of erroneous historic tax credits could receive relief under a recompense program unveiled Monday by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

 "During these tough fiscal times, it is incredibly frustrating for families who were told their tax bills would be one thing, only to find out now that they are expected to pay thousands more," said Rawlings-Blake in a statement. "But rather than point the finger and play a blame game with state officials, this administration is going to help families impacted by this hardship through no fault of their own."

Rawlings-Blake said city officials became aware of numerous discrepancies over the Historic Tax Credit after take calculations over from the state Department of Assessments and Taxation. City officials said some taxpayers were left with excessive credits and others with credits that were too low.

Rawlings-Blake said she will introduce a supplemental appropriation to the City Council. Once the appropriation is approved, nearly 1,300 affected property owners will receive a letter that details the tax credit recompense program and explains how to apply.

According to a city news release, in order to determine eligibility for the option, impacted residents will be required to provide all documentation received from the state pertaining to their property tax and tax credit eligibility.

For residents who believe they relied on inaccurate information from the state but no longer have documentation, the City will make an official public records request from the state to recover relevant documents that might assist residents in receiving relief.

The mayor said the program is a part of several reforms her office has implemented to improve Baltimore's tax system—including the establishment of the Billing Integrity Unit, which has identified and corrected thousands of errors that she said were allowed to persist prior her taking office.

Recent audits completed by the City's finance department identified more than $11 million in tax revenue that was lost over the past decade.

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