Baltimore City To Take Over Historic Tax Credit Calculations

The Baltimore City Council voted this week to give the City’s Office of Revenue and Taxation the authority to do the appraisals necessary to determine credits for the historic tax credit program.  This change, which was proposed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration, would address issues resulting from the inaccurate calculation of credits.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

The city’s historic tax credit program allows the full value of approved home renovations to go untaxed for 10 years. The program gives out thousands of dollars to those who renovate historic properties — and, the city says, spurred $560 million in renovations over the years. But it was dogged by inaccurate tax bills that city officials blamed on the state.

“While it would have been easy to ignore these problems and kick the can down the road for future administrations, fixing the problem now is the right thing to do,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement Monday.

The State Department of Assessments and Taxation is currently responsible for calculating these credits.

Officials in the state Department of Assessments and Taxation have disputed that the problem was all their fault, but have said they support the change to have the city take over the appraisals.

This year’s city budget includes funding to increase the Billing Integrity Unit, which will grow from three to seven employees — including an appraiser, tax and revenue analysts and a data manager. The new positions, at a cost of $290,000, were created to enable the city appraisals as well as monitoring to better catch erroneous bills.

The move to take over the assessments of historic improvements, restorations, and rehabilitations is the city’s latest step to try to remedy the errors. The city also has moved to an automated system to calculate the bills.

The legislation is expected to receive final approval next week.