Charles County Transfer Tax Subject of Lawsuit

The transfer tax implemented in Charles County to assist with balancing the county’s fiscal 2016 budget recently became the center of a lawsuit, which claims the county does not have the authority to exempt first-time homebuyers from the tax.

As reported by Southern Maryland Newpapers Online,

Case documents from the Charles County Circuit Court filing provided through email from Paula L. Martino, government affairs director for the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors, argue the transfer tax law’s $50,000 exemption has a problem of authority and clarity.

The documents state the exemption follows the language of Section 13-408 of the Maryland Annotated Code regarding taxed property, which allows for the county to make an exemption in transfer taxes if the buyer intends to live in the residence for seven months of the year.

The problem with this language is the county included an exemption for first-time homebuyers, which the lawsuit states the county did not have the right to do.

Another issue raised in the lawsuit is the lack of a definition of first-time home buyer.

The transfer tax law in Charles County does not specifically explain what qualifies as a first-time homebuyer, and without a set definition in the Maryland law, the document states this leads to confusion over who actually qualifies for the exemption.