The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) Property Assessment Workgroup held its third meeting on August 26 to begin laying the foundation for the work of two of its subcommittees, one focusing on the physical inspection of property and the other on timely property pick-up. According to the Charge, the Workgroup will examine and make recommendations on the following:
- Whether a physical exterior inspection of each property is necessary to properly assess real property for tax purposes;
- The Department’s ability to timely and adequately maintain changes in property status that may occur throughout the year and incorporate new properties in the system of accounts;
- The extent of discrepancies in the calculation of certain tax credits and exemptions and approaches for improving accuracy; and
- The feasibility of, and any legal impediments to, contracting with a third-party vendor to perform periodic audits of the property tax credit and exemption programs for which the Department calculates the credit or exemption or of other functions for which an external evaluation may provide greater accuracy.
The Workgroup will hold two meetings in September to review necessary documentation for the subcommittees focusing on tax credits and exemptions and contracting with a third-party vendor. It is anticipated that the other two subcommittees will begin meeting in the next couple weeks.
The three-hour presentation on August 26 provided an overview of the assessment process. It focused on the appraisal process, how value is determined through the use of different methods, the model that is used to assess property uniformly and how it is calibrated, and the ratios that are applied to ensure properties are assessed properly. The presentation also provided information on staffing ratios, the number of employees in each SDAT local office, work load and budget information. This information will be useful as the physical inspection of property and the timely property pick-up subcommittees assess whether technology will serve as a cost-effective tool for improving these processes.
The next two full Workgroup meetings are scheduled on September 15 and 29 at 1:00 pm at the Maryland Department of Transportation. Additional information on the formation of the Workgroup can be found on Conduit Street.