March 5, 2019

Waldstreicher Seeks to Expand Property Tax Benefits for Disabled Veterans

In a Tuesday afternoon hearing of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Senator Jeff Waldstreicher (District 18 – Montgomery County) detailed his proposed legislation (Senate Bill 777) that would expand existing real property tax exemptions to disabled inactive service members to those who are disabled active duty service members.

Current Maryland law exempts the real property (used as a legal residence) of disabled inactive service members from taxation. Additionally, state law exempts real property owned by the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran or the real property owned by the surviving spouse of an individual who died in the line of duty while in active military service (to the United States) from taxation.

According to research from the independent Maryland Department of Legislative Services, there are a total of 29,308 active duty service members in the State. The exact number of disabled active duty service members in Maryland is unknown, but the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that the number does not exceed more than a few hundred.

Noting the rationale of the initial legislation that enabled the tax benefit, Waldstreicher noted: “We didn’t put the (current) tax credit into code because of income. We decided as a matter of policy that people who make a sacrifice that’s significant, but perhaps short of the ultimate sacrifice, deserve this break as a significant break that we provide to thank them for their service.”

Senator Waldstreicher is joined in co-sponsorship of the Senate Bill 777 by Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Vice Chairman and Senate Veterans Caucus Chairman Senator Will Smith (District 20 – Montgomery County).

Having now been heard, Senate Bill 777 awaits a vote of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and, if successful, subsequent consideration from the Maryland House of Delegates. All legislation must successfully pass both the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates by Sine Die on Monday, April 8th to be sent to Governor Hogan to be approved or vetoed.