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Questions and Answers

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  • Who is eligible for this program?

    Any residential property owner who has lived at their property for at least 5 years and meets at least one of the following:

    1. Is at least 65 years old
    2. s permanently disabled and received benefits from Social Security, Railroad Retirement, Armed Forces or any other federal retirement program
    3. Is permanently disabled as certified by a physician

    In addition, the combined gross income of all people living in the home must not exceed $60,000.  Proof must be provided to meet these requirements.

    In the event the property is co-owned by two or more owners, all owners must sign the application even if they are not living in the home.

  • What part of my taxes is affected by the program?

    The deferral is only calculated on County property taxes and NOT the state or town portions of your property taxes.

  • How is the deferral amount calculated?

    The amount to be deferred is the amount that this year's County property taxes exceed the County property taxes that you paid last year. The total amount to be deferred over time may not exceed 50% of the assessed value of your property at the time of the initial application (example - $100,000 assessment value as of 7/1/06, 50% of assessment = $50,000 = maximum total amount of County taxes that can be deferred). If you are already receiving the Homestead Credit, the deferral will be calculated after deducting the Homestead Credit. In the event a discount was granted for early payment, it will not be considered in the calculation of the deferral.

  • What happens if I also receive a Homeowner's Tax Credit?

    The deferred amount would be calculated after the Homeowner's Tax Credit is deducted from your tax bill. Example: your property taxes paid for 2005 were $1,000.00. Your property taxes for 2006 are $1,200.00 and you have received a Homeowner's Tax Credit of $100.00 making your total taxes owed $1,100.00 ($1,200.00 - $100.00). The amount of taxes you could defer would be $100.00 ($1,100.00 - $1,000.00).

  • What is the difference between the Homeowner's Tax Credit and the Elderly /Disabled Deferral Program?

    For those who qualify, the Homeowner's Tax Credit Program actually reduces the amount of taxes you have to pay. The Deferral Program only postpones payment. Most people who qualify for the Deferral Program will also qualify for the Homeowner's Tax Credit. We strongly encourage people to apply for the Homeowner's Tax Credit before applying for the deferral. Even if you did not qualify for the HTC last year, you may be eligible this year.

  • Is the Deferral Program a permanent reduction in my taxes?

    NO. You are only postponing payment of a portion of your taxes. These taxes must be repaid if you cease to occupy the property as your principal residence, you cease to own the property, you do not pay the base amount of taxes and the property becomes subject to Tax Sale, if you fail to re-apply each year in a timely manner, or if your income increases beyond $60,000. In the event of your death, the taxes would have to be repaid by your estate or other co-owners of the property.

  • Will I be able to take the 2% discount for early payment of taxes?

    Yes, but only on the portion of taxes that are not being deferred. You would not receive the discount on the total tax bill.

  • Will I be charged interest on the deferral?

    No interest will be charged on the deferred portion of taxes.

  • Will the deferred taxes become a lien on my property?

    Yes, the deferred taxes will be recorded in the land records of Cecil County as a lien against your property and you must pay any fees associated with recording the lien.

  • Can I apply for both the Homeowner's Tax Credit and the Deferral?

    Yes. While most people who qualify for the Deferral Program will also qualify for the Homeowner's Tax Credit, there may be a few who only qualify for the Deferral. In the event you qualify for both, the deferral will be calculated after your taxes have been reduced by the HTC.

  • How do I apply for the tax deferral?

    You can either download the form or stop by the Cecil County Finance Office at 200 Chesapeake Blvd., Ste. 1100, Elkton, MD 21921 to pick up an application or you may call the office at 410-996-5385 and ask to have an application mailed to you. You must provide proof of age and / or disability as well as proof of income. Please read the instructions to determine what documentation is necessary. To be considered for a first-time tax deferral this tax year, your application MUST be received by our office by September 1.

    However, see "Do I have to apply each year?" if you have received a deferral before and are applying for a consecutive year.

  • Do I have to apply each year?

    Yes, you have to re-apply each year for the deferral. If you have received the tax deferral before and are applying for a consecutive year, then we request that the application be received by our office by May 1 and the signed Deferral Agreement be received no later than June 1 in order for the credit to be included in your July tax bill. If the application and the Deferral Agreement are not received by that dates outlined, then the July bill may not reflect the credit. in all cases, the application must be received no later than September 1 of any given tax year to be eligible for the credit.

  • What happens if I have my taxes escrowed by my mortgage company?

    While the Cecil County Finance Office will provide accurate information reflecting the deferral amount, it is possible that your mortgage company may overpay the property taxes which would result in a refund to the mortgage company and, ultimately, a refund to you. This process may take several months to complete. We recommend that you discuss this program with your mortgage company before you apply.

  • How will I know the total of my deferrals over the years?

    The County is required to include that information on your annual tax bill and you will see the cumulative amount of the deferral as well as any accrued interest.

  • How and when does the payment deferral terminate?

    There are several ways:

    • When the homeowner sells the property
    • When the homeowner dies and the surviving joint owner is not eligible
    • When the property becomes subject to Tax Sale
    • When the homeowner does not file an application on time in future years
    • When the homeowner earns more than $60,000 in a given year (example - homeowner inherits money). 

    However, the homeowner can reapply in the following year if his / her income falls below $60,000. If any of the situations listed above occurs then all deferred taxes become due and payable at that time.

    A homeowner may end the deferral at any time by giving written notice to the Cecil County Finance Office and paying the deferred taxes.

  • Is this tax deferral program mandatory?

    NO. If you are eligible you can choose to participate in the tax deferral program or you may continue to pay your property taxes in full each year. The choice will always be left to the property owner(s).