Applications for the various Real Property Exemptions can be found by clicking on the link below:
Disabled Veteran Exemption
Tax-Property Article § 7-208 provides an exemption for the dwelling of a veteran who has a disability that the Veterans' Administration (“VA") has determined is 100% service-connected, permanently, and totally disabling. The disability cannot be due to the misconduct of the veteran. The exemption is for the disabled veteran's dwelling, which must be their principal residence. The dwelling includes the lot or curtilage and structures necessary to use the property as a residence, such as a garage or utility shed. The disabled veteran must own the dwelling. An Attorney General's Opinion further provides that the exemption may be granted where the rating is less than 100% disability provided the VA finds that the veteran is permanently unemployable.
A VA certification can be completed on our application or a copy of the veteran's final disability rating decision from the VA may be submitted. The VA's letter must reference that the individual's disability rating is 100% service-connected permanent and total, provide the VA rating decision date, and the disability rating effective date.
The veteran must provide the dd-214 form that shows that the veteran has an honorable discharge or release under honorable circumstances.
A Maryland Driver's License or copy of the previous year's Maryland Tax Return can be used to demonstrate the applicant is a Maryland Resident.
Surviving Spouse of a Disabled Veteran
There is an exemption for the dwelling (principal residence) of a surviving spouse of a disabled veteran who received a 100% service-connected permanent and total disability rating prior to or after the disabled veteran's death.
A. The dwelling will qualify for a surviving spouse exemption if:
1) the disabled veteran had a 100% service-connected permanent and total disability;
2) the disabled veteran owned the dwelling at the time of their death;
3) the dwelling received a disabled veteran's exemption; and
4) the surviving spouse owns and resides in the dwelling.
The dwelling will also qualify for a surviving spouse exemption if the spouse now owns and resides in a dwelling that was occupied by the disabled veteran but was not owned by them as long as the disabled veteran resided and died in Maryland.
The unmarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran is entitled to the exemption on any subsequently acquired dwelling in an amount equal to the exemption allowed on the preceding dwelling. Local assessment offices should check the martial status of surviving spouses once during each triennial reassessment.
A surviving spouse who remarries but later obtains a divorce is not entitled to the exemption. However, the exemption can be reinstated when the surviving spouse obtains an annulment that makes the subsequent marriage void
ab initio. (Void from the beginning)
Disabled Active-Duty Service Member
Title 7-208 of the Tax-Property Article provides an exemption for a disabled active-duty service member who has a service-connected physical disability that is reasonably certain to continue for the life of the service member and was not caused or incurred by misconduct of the service member. The General Assembly intended to grant a complete exemption from taxes for disabled active-duty service members who must live with a physical disability that is most certain to remain a disability for the life of the service member. The disabled active-duty service member shall apply for the exemption and present certification of the disability from a physician licensed to practice medicine in Maryland or certification of the disability from the Veterans Administration. A disabled active-duty service member must also present proof of “active duty" as verified by their Commanding Officer. Each year the
Certification of Active-Duty Status must be provided to the Department to continue receiving this exemption.
The service-connected disability criteria require that the disability was not incurred through misconduct, likelihood of disability to continue, active military duty, and legal residency in the State of Maryland.
Surviving Spouse of a Military Casualty
Tax-property article, section 7-208(b)(1)(iii) provides for an exemption for the dwelling (principal residence) of a surviving spouse of an individual who died in the line of duty. The surviving spouse must fill out an application which shall contain a certification that the individual died while in active service as a result of an injury or disease incurred in the line of duty.
The exemption criteria are as follows:
A) the dwelling is owned by the surviving spouse;
B) the dwelling was:
1) owned by the individual who died in the line of duty at the time of the individual's death;
2) acquired by the surviving spouse within 2 years of the death of the individual who died in the line of duty, if the individual or the surviving spouse was domiciled (had their principal residence) in Maryland as of the date of the individual's death;
3) acquired by the surviving spouse after the surviving spouse qualified for the exemption for a former dwelling under item 1 or 2 above, to the extent of the previous exemption.
Prior Tax Year Refunds
Disabled Veteran, Surviving Spouse, and Active-Duty Service Member Exemptions
Tax-property article, § 7-208(g) provides for mandatory refunds of state, county, and municipal taxes for the period when an exemption was authorized but not granted for disabled active-duty service members, disabled veterans and surviving spouses.
The request for refund must be made during the 3-year period beginning with the calendar year in which the disabled active-duty service member, disabled veteran, or surviving spouse initially became eligible for the exemption. A disabled veteran becomes “initially eligible" for the exemption as of the date of the Veterans Administration (VA) rating decision establishing the 100% service-connected permanent and total disability. "Initially eligible" for the exemption is defined as when the VA issues a rating decision that grants a 100% service-connected permanent and total disability rating to a veteran and states the disability's "effective date".
A disabled active-duty service member becomes “initially eligible" as of the date the VA or the member's physician determined that they had a physical disability. The "effective date" of disability is used to determine the veteran's refund.
If a disabled veteran timely applies based on the date of the rating decision establishing the 100% permanent and total disability, or a disabled active-duty service member timely applies based on the date the VA or the member's physician determination that they had a physical disability, they can obtain a refund from the effective date of the disability.
A surviving spouse becomes “initially eligible" for the exemption on the date the disabled veteran died.
Refunds for the any of the above exemptions start with tax year 2018-2019. No refunds can be provided for tax years prior to 2018-2019.
A disabled veteran applies for the exemption on July 15, 2022. They were initially eligible for the exemption on July 15, 2019, which is the date of the disability rating decision wherein the veterans' administration determined that the veteran had a 100% service-connected, permanent and total disability. The rating decision states that the disability is effective July 25, 2017. The disabled veteran requests any refunds to which they are entitled. They receive the exemption effective July 15, 2022. The disabled veteran is eligible for refunds beginning with the 2018-2019 tax year because they applied within 3 years from the calendar year, 2019, in which they were first eligible for the exemption. (Three years from calendar year 2019 is 2022). See footnote 1 below that explains why the disabled veteran is not eligible for a refund for the 2017-2018 tax year.)
A surviving spouse of a disabled veteran applies for the surviving spouse exemption on July 15, 2022. The surviving spouse was eligible for the exemption on July 15, 2020, the date the disabled veteran died. The surviving spouse requests any refunds to which they are entitled. They receive the exemption effective July 15, 2022. The surviving spouse is eligible for a refund from July 15, 2020 to July 14, 2022 because they applied within 3 years from the calendar year, 2020, that they were first eligible for the exemption. (Three years from the calendar year 2020 is 2023)
A disabled active-duty service member (“member") applies for an exemption on July 15, 2022. The member was eligible for the exemption on July 15, 2019, which is the date the VA determined that the member had a physical disability. The disability was effective July 15, 2018. They receive the exemption effective July 15, 2022. The member is eligible for a refund from July 15, 2018 to July 14, 2022, because the member applied within 3 years from the calendar year, 2019, that the member was first eligible for the exemption, and the disability was effective July 15, 2018. (Three years from calendar year 2019 is 2022)
Charitable, Religious, and Educational Real Property Exemptions
To receive an exemption for the taxable year, the property must be owned by the organization prior to the beginning of the tax year (July 1) for which the exemption is sought. The organization owning the property prior to the taxable year may apply for the exemption by September 1 following the beginning of the taxable year for which the exemption is sought (see Tax-Property Article 7-104). However, the granting of the exemption must be based upon actual and exclusive use tests as described below.
Every applicant seeking either a charitable, educational, or religious exemption pursuant to Section 7-202 and Section 7-204 of the Tax-Property Article must meet two fundamental requirements. First, there is an "ownership" test whereby the property on which the exemption is sought must be owned by the applicant charitable, educational, or religious organization. The exception to the titled ownership requirement involves a 99-year or perpetually renewable lease which, nevertheless, is the legal equivalent to ownership under Section 6-102 of the Tax-Property Article.
Second, the property must be "actually used" and "exclusively for" the exempt purposes. The terms "actually used" and "exclusively for" have been the subject of a significant amount of judicial review and interpretation. A religious or charitable organization which begins construction of a new building structure is entitled to exemption in the current taxable year if the building permit has been issued as of July 1, assuming the exemption application filing deadline of September 1, has been met. However, vacant land is not entitled to the exemption despite attempts by religious and other organizations to establish temporary uses of the property such as for tent revivals, open prayer services or congregation picnics and athletic programs. Such temporary uses have been held by the Maryland courts as failing to meet the legal requirements of "actually using" the property to the full extent required by the statutorily specified exempt purposes. Thus, the earliest stage at which "actual" use can begin is with the commencement of construction of permanent structures or the renovation of existing improvements intended to carry out the exempt purposes. Once an exemption is granted based on the issuance of a building permit, the applicant organization must make "continual progress" in the building of the permanent improvements, or the exemption may be withdrawn at a later date.
The "exclusively for" language in the statutory "use" test resulted in a judicial standard for granting exemptions which requires that the property must be used primarily for only certain specified purposes. For example, the Court of Appeals held in Supervisor of Assessments v. Trustees of Bosley Methodist Church Graveyard, 293 Md. 208, 443 A.2d 91 (1982) that caretakers' houses intended to protect churches and graveyards from vandals and to maintain the building and grounds are not being used "exclusively for the statutorily stated purpose of public religious worship" and therefore, are fully taxable.
To receive a Blind Exemption the applicant must own and reside in the dwelling. The blind exemption entitles an owner to an exemption in the amount of $15,000 of the property's assessed value. The applicant must obtain a physician's certification on the Department's application. To be eligible the applicant must have permanent impairment in both eyes meeting one of the following two criteria: (1) central visual acuity, with corrective glasses, of 20/200 or less in the better eye; or (2) central visual acuity of more than 20/200 if there is a field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted so that the widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees in the better eye. The $15,000 exemption is prorated for any part of the remaining taxable year for which the individual applies for the exemption.
A surviving spouse is entitled to continue receiving this exemption after the blind individual dies as long as they have not remarried.
Improvement Required for Health or Medical Condition of a Resident
Any new improvements, changes, or additions to residential buildings necessitated by the health or medical condition of a resident may not be considered taxable in the valuation of that building [See Tax-Property Article, Section 8-233]. Sufficient evidence of the medical necessity or required physical convenience must be presented to the Department with the application.
No exemption is to be given for any improvement, change or addition that does not add to the value of the property. For instance, a window air conditioner that is presently not assessable as real property would not result in an exemption. In addition, on residential real estate, a wheelchair ramp which is not valued and assessed would not be allowed as an exemption.
Any exemption made under this section of the law is based upon the application prepared by the physician of the property owner. Upon approval of application, the exemption shall be given for the current tax year in which the application was received.
Medical necessity exemptions shall be removed for the next full tax year after a transfer or notification that the individual whose medical condition required the improvement(s) no longer resides in the building.
The exemption amount may not exceed ten percent (10%) of the total market value of the property (10% of Land and Improvement).