Mayor, City Leaders Announce Tax Sale Exemption Program

Residents may apply for the Baltimore City Tax Sale Exemption Program starting Tuesday, February 15.

The Tax Sale Exemption Program is an annual city program managed by the Departments of Finance and Housing and Community Development. Eligible applicants can apply for the City to withhold their properties from tax sale under specified circumstances.

State law requires counties and Baltimore City to collect delinquent real property taxes and other unpaid charges, all of which are liens against real property. In addition, the law requires that tax sales occur no later than two years from when the tax is in arrears.

The program, established through Baltimore City Council Bill 20-0593, directs the Director of Finance to withhold specific properties from tax sale. That legislation was sponsored by District 2 Council Member Danielle N. McCray, with the support of Mayor Brandon Scott, then Council President.

“Our goal is to help as many residents as we can who are facing a tax sale to have their property removed from that sale,” said Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy. “With the improvements under the new Tax Sale Exemption Program, we expect to help an increased number of residents who qualify during the application period.”

According to a City press release:

Homeowners qualify if they meet the following criteria:

  • The assessed value of their home is $250,000 or less;
  • The homeowner has lived in their home as a primary residence for at least 15 years;
  • And one of the following:
    • The homeowner has a total annual household earned income of $36,000 or less; or
    • The homeowner is at least 65 years old and has an annual earned income of $75,000 or less; or
    • The homeowner is an adult currently receiving disability benefits from the Federal Social Security Disability Insurance Program or the Supplemental Security Income Program and has an annual earned income of $75,000 or less.

The number of properties removed from tax sale through this program is limited, and applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is best to apply as early as possible.

This program does not forgive unpaid bills, and if the accounts are not paid, they may qualify the property for tax sale the following year.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, MACo last year successfully supported legislation to divert homeowners from the private tax lien process into an alternative program to minimize tax collection costs, assist with the payment of overdue taxes, and allow homeowners to remain in their homes.

Read the full press release.