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Recording Legal Documents

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Effective immediately the finance department does not perform instant recordings. There is a 48 hour turnaround time for documents available for pickup.

Effective July 1, 2015, fees shall be paid to Cecil County, Maryland, before recording any deed or other instrument involving the transfer of an interest in land, a transfer fee in the amount of 0.5% of the consideration identified in the deed or other instrument recorded with the Clerk of Court for Cecil County. A transfer fee imposed under this Section does not apply to an instrument of writing exempt from the State transfer tax under Md. Code. Ann., Tax – Property, §13-207.  A purchase of property that qualifies as a first time home buyer purchase exempts both buyer and seller from the transfer fee (affidavit must be provided as proof).

Pursuant to the Cecil County Resolution dated May 5, 2009, effective July 1, 2009, Cecil County will be the collector of Recordation Tax imposed on instruments recorded in Cecil County. State Transfer taxes and recording fees will continue to be collected by the Clerk of the Court. For zero consideration deeds there is a $25 processing fee.

Recordation Tax for instruments conveying title to property will remain at $4.10 per $500 rounded up to the nearest $500.00, of the actual consideration paid or to be paid. The tax shall be on the amount of debt secured for instruments securing a debt. Recordation Tax will be levied in accordance with Tax - Property Article, Title 12 - Recordation Tax.

The Cecil County Finance Office is located at 200 Chesapeake Blvd., Suite 1100, Elkton, MD 21921. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Please note that the finance department does not perform instant recordings. Documents will need to be dropped off and be forwarded to the clerk of the Court by us, (usually dropped off documents reach the clerks office within seven to ten business days) or if you wish to pickup your documents we require forty eight hours for processing (i.e. a document dropped off on Friday will be available for pickup Tuesday). We may be reached at (410) 996-5385 and via facsimile at (410) 996-5319. Additionally, you may visit the Finance web pages or email us at

Example of calculating the Recordation Tax and the Cecil County Transfer Fee:

  • The Deed states purchase price of $200,501 and the purchase mortgage or deed of trust is $195,000.00
  • Deed amount 200,501;
  • Divided by 500 rounded up = 402;
  • Tax rate for the County 4.1
  • Recordation Tax $1,648.20 (402 x $4.10)
  • Cecil County Transfer Fee $1,002.51 ($200,501 X .005)

Other examples and information effective July 1, 2015

Indemnity Deed of Trusts (IDOTs)

Effective 7/1/2013 - new law change for Indemnity Deed of Trusts (IDOTs) see advice from AG Office

When recording an Indemnity Deed of Trust (IDOT) you must submit the following:

  1. A copy of the promissory note;
  2. The guaranty agreement;
  3. The Hud-1 or other closing statement; and
  4. An IDOT affidavit

For ease of recording:

  • All payments for the Recordation Tax and Cecil County Transfer Fee must be on a separate check made payable to "Cecil County." Payments for property taxes and utility payments may be combined in one check, but we prefer separate checks for both the County Transfer Fee and the Recordation Tax.
  • If you have concerns regarding any recordation tax issue, then you may request a preview of the documents prior to submission. Simply fax or email your request to 410-996-5319 or
    Please note that we will refrain from commenting on any issue prior to viewing the documents.    
  • Completed Maryland Intake Sheets are required for all documents. The form and completion instructions are available at
  • Any Refinance Affidavit must meet the requirements of Tax Property Article §12-108 (g) (3). It must be signed and notarized or made a part of the document by referring to it in the Deed of Trust.
  • If claiming any unusual exemption from recordation tax, please quote the exemption on the instrument to be recorded and in separate cover letter with supporting documentation as proof of the exemption.
  • Additional time may be required to review documents claiming exemptions from recordation taxes by way of transfers to exempt organizations; transfers between related corporations; transfers involving dissolutions of a partnership, limited liability company or corporation; transfers of commercial, industrial or apartment properties; transfers with farm or agricultural issues or rezoning issues; transfers involving foreclosures or bankruptcies; transfers involving condominium conversions; vacant or unimproved land transfers with builder involved; and transfers involving limited liability companies.
  • When submitting documents via mail, please include mailing instructions with your documents along with a prepaid postage envelope. If requesting documents to be forwarded to the Clerk of the Court, please make sure you include payment of the State transfer taxes and recording fees made payable to "Clerk of the Court." For information on State transfer fees and/or recording fees please visit their website - Clerk of the Court.

Returned Check Notice (Dishonored Check): In accordance with Maryland Annotated Code Commercial Law Article § 15-802 and Maryland Annotated Code Criminal Law Article § 8-106 and § 8-107, Cecil County charges a $25.00 collection fee for any dishonored check. The County also reserves all other rights and/or remedies afforded under the aforementioned articles.

Helpful Information

Please see our Deed Return Check List for common mistakes or errors when submitting documents. This check list sheet is sent to the person submitting the documents, when the documents are not in order, i.e. mistakes, errors or document omissions .

In order to assist you with recording, these are the items we look for when documents are presented for recording:

Addresses and other information on the Towns

We recommend contacting the Town where the property is located, regardless if the property is within Town limits. Reason: There are some properties that are not within Town limits that are receiving water/sewer service from the Town.

  • Is the property under agricultural use? View the State website to determine and, If so, then the State Assessment office must stamp the deed prior to submitting documents to our office for recordation. They may determine that additional taxes are due and payable to the Cecil County Finance Office and, if applicable, furnish you with an agricultural calculation sheet that must be presented with your documents. The local State Assessment information is as follows:

    Department of Assessment and Taxation
    170 East Main Street
    Elkton, Maryland 21921
    Hours: 8:00 to 5:00
    Phone: (410) 996-2760
    Fax: (410) 996-2770

  • Is the property being transferred from any type of a corporation or business (i.e. the grantor on the deed is a LLC)? If so, then personal property tax must be paid current. Contact our office at 410-996-5385

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