Purple Line Is Coming – Important Tax Credit Information

Purple Line Is Coming

The Purple Line is a 16-mile light rail line that will extend from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County and will provide a direct connection to the Metrorail Red, Green and Orange lines at Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, and New Carrollton. Construction is now underway. The Purple Line will also connect to MARC, Amtrak, and local bus services, and will operate mainly in dedicated or exclusive lanes, allowing for fast, reliable transit trips. Twenty-one stations are planned.  It will be a great benefit for our community when it is finished but for the next few years there will be a lot of headaches due to the traffic.  Construction is to continue until 2021 with service beginning in 2022.

In Prince George’s County, the Purple Line will go from New Hampshire Avenue down University Boulevard to the University of Maryland Campus, through the campus, down River Road to Kenilworth Avenue., down Kenilworth Avenue to East-West Highway, East on East-West Highway to Veterans Parkway and then East on Elin Street to the New Carrolton Metro Station.

I learned at a meeting this past week that for the next 12 months most of the work will be moving utility poles so the roads can be expanded to allow the required street tracks to be laid down the middle of the roads.  There could be traffic problems on any of these streets so please check the Purple Line web-site at www.purplelinemd.com .

MAKE SURE YOU TAKE

ADVANTAGE OF IMPORTANT STATE AND LOCAL TAX

CREDIT PROGRAMS

Homestead Property Tax Credit

To help homeowners deal with large assessment increases on their principal residence, state law has established the Homestead Property Tax Credit. The Homestead Credit limits the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage. Every county and municipality in Maryland is required to limit taxable assessment increases to 10% or less each year. Prince George’s County has a 2% cap which further limits increases. Check the status of your Homestead eligibility by looking up your property on the Real Property database: http://sdat.dat.maryland.gov/RealProperty/Pages/default.aspx

Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program

For homeowners with a combined gross household income of $60,000 or less, this program allows credits against the homeowners’ property tax bill, but the taxes must exceed a fixed percentage of a person’s gross income. It sets a limit on the amount of property taxes a homeowner must pay, based on income. Income is defined as the gross income before any deductions are taken. Nontaxable retirement benefits such as Social Security and Railroad Retirement must be reported as income. You must apply every year no later than September on a standard application supplied by the Department of Assessments and Taxation. Example: If your combined household income is $16,000, your tax limit is $420. You would be entitled to receive a credit for any taxes above the $420. If your actual property tax bill is $990, you would receive a tax credit in the amount of $570, the difference between the actual tax bill and the tax limit.
Apply here: http://dat.maryland.gov/realproperty/Pages/Homeowners’-Property-Tax-Credit-Program.aspx

Use the Assessment Appeals Process

Everyone’s property is re-assessed every three years, but sometimes your assessment does not really reflect your actual market value based on home sales in your area.  The assessment appeal process allows property owners the opportunity to dispute the value determined by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT). Property values rise and fall to reflect the market. Customers should file an appeal when the estimated value of their property does not accurately reflect what they believe to be its current market value.

To Appeal Your Assessment, Go Here: http://www.dat.maryland.gov/realproperty/Pages/Assessment-Appeal-Process.aspx
MD Property Owners’ Bill of Rights: http://dat.maryland.gov/realproperty/Pages/Bill-of-Rights.aspx

Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit Program

The State of Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit Program provides Property Tax credits for renters who are age 60 and older or 100% disabled, and also meet certain income requirements. Under HB-340, passed by the Prince George’s County Delegation and the Maryland General Assembly in the 2016 Legislative Session, renters can receive maximum tax relief up to $1,000. This legislation also expands the statewide Renters Tax Credit program and increases the pool of eligible applicants. To get a credit for 2017, you must file by September 1st of 2018.  Contact the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation at 1-800-944-7403 or visit: http://dat.maryland.gov/realproperty/Pages/Renters’-Tax-Credits.aspx

24-Month Residential Leases for Seniors

Prince George’s County seniors living in specified age-restricted housing can now enter into a 24-month lease agreement without incurring fees or rent increases for the term of the lease. Landlords are required to provide written notice about the 24-month period when entering into a new lease or a renewal lease. For more information, contact Code Enforcement Officer Ann Keys at the County’s Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE), 301-883-6058 or ALKeys@co.pg.md.us.

Prince George’s County Renters’ Property Tax Relief Supplement

The Prince George’s County Council, aware that residents who qualify for the State’s Renters’ Tax Credit Program are already stretched financially, also passed CB-95-2015. Prince George’s County will automatically provide a Renters’ Property Tax Relief Supplement to each resident who qualifies for the State Renters’ Tax Credit. The County Supplement is 50% of the State payment, and will be dispersed in late spring of each year. No additional application is required. If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Finance, Treasury Division, at 301-952-4030. Example: If you qualify for a State of Maryland Renters’ Tax Credit of $400, you will automatically receive a tax credit of $200 from Prince George’s County for a total of $600.

Transfer Tax Exemptions for Classroom Teachers and Police and Deputy Sheriffs

The County and State provide total or partial exemptions from the transfer tax assessed at the sale/purchase of homes in the County for teachers, public officers, and deputy sheriffs.
Transfer tax exemption for teachers here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1850
Transfer tax exemption for police officers or deputy sheriffs here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1845

Additional Individual Tax Credits:

Disabled Veterans Tax Exemption – Tax credit for veterans qualified for disability exemption is equal to full amount of County taxes and applies to taxes previously paid for any year the veteran was qualified for the exemption. Application and proof of claim must be filed with the Director of Finance. Application here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/10233

Surviving Spouse of a Fallen Officer Tax Credit

Surviving Spouse of a Fallen Law Enforcement/Rescue Worker  – Annual application and initial proof of claim must be filed with the Director of Finance by April 1 prior to the tax year for which the credit is being requested. The fallen officer must have owned the dwelling at the time of his/her death and the surviving spouse must currently occupy the dwelling. Application here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/10229

MD Student Loan Debt Relief Tax Credit

Have you incurred at least $20,000 in undergraduate student loan debt and have at least $5,000 in outstanding undergraduate student loan debt remaining? You may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $5,000 on your 2017 personal income tax. ​In order to apply, you mu​st complete and submit an application to the Maryland Higher Education Commission by September​ 15th each year; be a resident of Maryland for the tax year; incurred at least $20,000 in total undergraduate student loan debt; and have at least $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt during the tax year for which you are applying. Apply here: http://mhec.maryland.gov/preparing/Pages/StudentLoanDebtReliefTaxCredit.aspx

Alternative Energy Tax Credit

Tax credit for residential structures that utilize solar energy or geothermal energy devices. Application and proof of claim must be filed with the Director of Finance. Application here: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/10244. Related Item – Federal Income Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency: https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits

I Joined 62 Lawmakers Urging Governor Hogan Not To Implement Trump’s Coal Pollution Standards in Maryland

Sixty-three Maryland Senators and Delegates urged Governor Larry Hogan not to implement President Trump’s weakened coal pollution standards in the state. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is proposing to renew expired water pollution permits for three coal-fired plants in Dickerson, Chalk Point and Morgantown that would allow excessive dumping of toxic pollutants into Maryland waterways.

The letter to Hogan states in part, “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama spent about six years investigating the impact of toxic discharges from power plants into waterways and issued new requirements in 2015 for the Clean Water Act.   Unfortunately, President Trump’s EPA halted the improved requirements in April of this year…. We call on you to do what’s right for our citizens, our environment and our natural resources: require coal plants in Maryland to adopt the toxic coal waste requirements that EPA issued in 2015.”
The full statement is attached here and appears online at:
https://www.scribd.com/document/362061887/Letter-to-Governor-Hogan-from-63-Maryland-Lawmakers-on-Coal-Pollution

Veterans Jobs & Resource Fair
Wednesday November 1st

10 AM – 2 PM
Dave & Buster’s 1851 Ritchie Station Court, Capitol Heights
You should attend if you are:
Seeking employment
Ready to interview on-site with employers who are ready to hire
Interested in taking advantage of resources available to you
RSVP Today
www.pgcedc.com/events
301-618-8445

Attorney General Frosh to Student Loan Debt Relief Company: Pay Refunds to Consumers and Cease Illegal Conduct

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced  that he had  issued a cease-and-desist order finding that H&S Marketing, LLC; Client Processing Services, LLC; Henrique Silva; Melissa Haddad; Cimar Scaff; and Gail Ghada Haddad, collectively doing business as Student Loan Counsel, violated the Consumer Protection Act, the Maryland Credit Services Businesses Act, and the Maryland Debt Settlement Services Act.  The order requires Student Loan Counsel to return all of the money collected from Maryland consumers, and to pay any damages suffered by Marylanders who were affected by their illegal conduct.
Read more in the full press release: http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/press/2017/101117.pdf

Christmas In April Program

Christmas in April is an annual, one-day project to repair the homes of those who due to age, disability and financial hardship, cannot do the work themselves.  Prince George’s is NOT ABLEto replace roofsrepair or replace concrete, or replace windows:  only minor repairs to existing roofs.  If you are in need of a new roof, please contact the Department of Housing
(301-883-5570) to request information / assistance from them.

Skilled and unskilled volunteers give six to eight hours of service to help with repairs.  Christmas in April is a non-profit organization supported entirely by voluntary contributions of time and money.  The program does have several limitations,  CHRISTMAS IN APRIL CANNOT MAKE STRUCTURAL REPAIRS OR UNDERTAKE PROJECTS THAT CANNOT BE COMPLETED IN ONE DAY!  If your house requires structural work, we can refer you to the County’s Department of Housing and Community Development at  301-883-5570.

To be eligible for consideration, the HOME TO BE REPAIRED MUST BE OWNED AND OCCUPIED BY THE HOMEOWNER AND THE HOMEOWNER MUST BE ELDERY AND/OR DISABLED.  While there are no income requirements, the program does take need into consideration when making the final selections.  In particular, the program is designed to help individuals who have no means to make the needed repairs themselves.

Repairs are limited to the last Saturday in April.  Even with a team of 20 or more volunteers assigned to the home, we cannot guarantee that all work that needs to be done can be complete or that all requested work will be done.

Repairs differ in each home but they can include:  interior and exterior painting, minor carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, replacing stoves, refrigerators and hot water heaters, if existing appliances are not working, clean-up and yard work may also be included.

The Christmas in April work will be done on Saturday, April 28, 2018.   We anticipate accepting as many as 90 homes for repair in the 2018 program.  If you are interested in being considered for our program, or know of someone who may be interested, please email me ASAP and I will send you the application.

Applications must be received by November 1, 2017.

What to Do About the Equifax Data Breach

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has issued the following statement regarding the Equifax data breach, affecting approximately 143 million Americans:
“This data breach is one of the most alarming we’ve seen. The number of Americans impacted is enormous. I am deeply concerned that Equifax seems to be charging victims for services to identify and protect themselves from damages relating to the breach. It would compound the outrage if Equifax was profiting from its failure to maintain safely all of the data in its charge.
“My office has reached out to Equifax and is seeking answers to understand the circumstances that led to the breach. Equifax must disclose the reasons for the apparent delay between the breach and the company’s public announcement, what protections the company had in place at the time of the breach, and why it appears to be attempting to profit from its own negligence. We will be closely monitoring the company’s response to ensure that Maryland consumers are protected.  I urge consumers to take necessary steps to prevent any misuse of their information, while my office continues to investigate this massive data breach.”

BACKGROUND

On September 7, 2017, Equifax publicized that the company experienced a data breach. According to the company, the breach lasted from mid-May through July of 2017. The data breach exposed full names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers.  For another 209,000 consumers, it also included credit card information.
The Equifax data breach puts consumers at risk for new account fraud, since it exposes personal information necessary to open new accounts at any point in the future. This information can be used to take out loans, open new credit accounts and other illegal and potentially damaging actions.

Attorney General Frosh encourages consumers to take the following steps:

Check your credit reports from all three of the major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Reports can be obtained for FREE by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Unrecognizable accounts or activity could indicate identity theft.

Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that credit freezes must be obtained from each of the credit reporting agencies, and cost $5 from each credit agency.  A credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts, such as debit and credit cards. Parents or guardians of minor children may also place a credit freeze on behalf of their child. For more information on how to obtain a credit freeze, please visit http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/IdentityTheft/freezing.aspx

Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for changes you do not recognize.
Visit www.identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more.

Equifax appears to be offering consumers one year of free credit monitoring.  Consumers who go this route should be careful not to accidentally sign up for Equifax’s paid service. If you are asked to enter your full Social Security Number, do not proceed.  Their free offer only asks for your last name and the last 6 digits of your Social Security Number.

The Office of the Attorney General recommends that consumers review their account statements, online accounts, and credit files regularly for suspicious activity. If consumers feel they have been harmed and want to file a complaint, please call the Identity Theft Unit at 1-888-743-0023, or visit the website at www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov.

My Holiday Dinner Celebration Wednesday Nov 29

Please join me and

Congressman Anthony Brown
Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh
Senator Victor Ramirez
Delegates Diana Fennell and Carlo Sanchez

Three Brothers Italian Restaurant
4521 Kenilworth Ave.   Bladensburg, MD
Tell me about your concerns
Hear about my plans for next year’s session
Meet your neighbors

$5 for District 47 residents
$100 Supporter – $50 Friend

Checks can be made out to:
Friends of Jimmy Tarlau, 4213 34th Street, Mount Rainier, MD 20712