When Marysville-based attorney James Lipsky got a call from the Virginia Department of Taxation last week, he knew he had to take action.
Lipsky, a former state tax attorney who worked for former U.S. Sen. Bob Barr (R-Va.), has been tracking the state’s property tax history for nearly a decade.
He had to do more than just check off boxes on a spreadsheet to find out how much property taxes Maryland paid, he said.
“I was surprised at how many different options there were,” Lipski said.
“I just wanted to make sure we were looking at all the options and all the issues that might be related to property tax issues.”
The property tax information Lipsker received, along with other data that his research group used, helped them track the county’s property taxes for 2017, 2018, and 2019.
The county’s 2017 tax filing, which was released by the Department of Revenue, showed $1.6 billion in assessed value for homes, condos, and rentals.
Lipsks data also showed that the county paid $1,099,000 in property taxes in 2019.
It was clear that the property tax rolls were stretched thin in the region.
For example, Lipske found that in 2019, the county had the second-highest property tax bill in the state behind Prince George’s County, with a property tax rate of 8.85 percent.
But Lipsk said that Maryland had some of the lowest property taxes at 7.98 percent, while Virginia had the highest at 11.9 percent.
“The problem is that Maryland has a lot of different areas with a lot more taxing districts,” Linsk said.
Lipks work showed that in 2017, Maryland paid $16,639,500 in property tax for 1.36 million people, according to the tax office.
By 2019, that number jumped to $25,716,500 for 2.5 million people.
That’s a far cry from the $2.6 million Maryland paid in property and sales taxes in 2017.
But the county reported the highest property tax rates in the county in 2019 ($12,854,000) and the lowest in 2018 ($8,942,000).
Maryland’s property and tax rolls are far more diverse than most other states, with some communities paying far less than others.
Linsk compared the county to other communities that pay property taxes that are lower than those in Virginia.
“If you look at some of these counties, you’re going to find a lot that are a little bit more expensive,” Links said.
But the county does have some of those expensive counties that pay much less than other parts of the state.
For instance, Montgomery County, which includes Baltimore and Annapolis, paid $6,845,000 for 1,087,500 property tax items in 2017 and $4,719,500 by 2019.
The average property tax paid in Maryland was $1 and the average sales tax was $9 in 2017 according to Lipsko.
For property and property tax purposes, that’s $1 higher than the national average of $9.77 per capita, according the Tax Foundation.
Maryland also paid a higher tax rate than the state average.
Maryland paid 6.1 percent in 2017 on an assessed value of $13.643 million, which is more than double the national rate of 4.9.
The state average was $8.71 per capita in 2017 with a state tax rate that was 7.8 percent.
But Maryland also reported the lowest rate in Virginia in 2017 at 7 percent.
In 2018, the average was 8.5 percent, with the average state tax paid of $2,564,000.
That’s the second lowest rate of all states, according a review of tax returns by The Washington Post.
The highest rates of tax paid were in Montgomery County ($1,543,000), Prince George D. C. ($2,842,600), Loudoun County ($3,000,000 to $6.9 million), and Norfolk County ($2.5 to $5 million).
In the state capital, the median tax bill for 2018 was $3,923,000 while the median state tax bill was $4.4 million, according data from the U.K.-based Institute for Fiscal Studies.
The median county tax bill, however, was much lower in Prince George, which had the third-lowest average of property taxes paid at $1 million in 2017 before dropping to $1 billion by 2019, according Lipskos data.
The lowest median county property tax bills were in Fairfax County ($739,000 after 2019) and Loudoun, which averaged $2 million.
The property and county tax rolls in Virginia are far different from the rest of the country.
The average property