Property Assessment Workgroup Nearing Completion

The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT)’s Property Assessment Workgroup established by SB 172, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2014, met this week to discuss its draft report findings and recommendations.  Members of the workgroup, representing state agencies, county and municipal governments, and the public, believe the implementation of these recommendations will improve the assessment administration, enhance equity for all payers of property taxes, and provide for accurate collections for state and local governments.

As specified in its charge, the Workgroup has been examining the following issues:

  1. Whether a physical exterior inspection of each property is necessary to properly assess real property for tax purposes;
  2. 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;
  3. The extent of discrepancies in the calculation of certain tax credits and exemptions and approaches for improving accuracy; and
  4. 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.

Recommendations for each of these areas predominantly focus on the use of new technologies to improve the assessment process and business process re-engineering to create greater operational efficiencies.  Recommendations also focus on developing better partnerships with local jurisdictions for more effective data sharing and improving communication between SDAT, local assessment offices and local governments.

MACo’s representatives include:

  • Joseph Beach, Director of Finance, Montgomery County
  • Jason Bennett, Director of Finance, Allegany County
  • Kathryn Hewitt, Treasurer, Harford County
  • Linda Watts, Assistant Director Finance, Office of Business Management and Customer Service, Howard County

The Workgroup also has members representing Baltimore City and the Maryland Municipal League. The Workgroup is to submit a report of findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly by December 15, 2014.

Prior coverage of the Workgroup can be found on Conduit Street.

Update:  Robert Young, Director of the Maryland Department of Assessments will be providing a briefing on the work of the Department at the upcoming Maryland Government Finance Officers Association 2015 Winter Conference.  You may find more information and register here.