Program Baltimore County - Property Tax Credit for High Performance Buildings and Homes
Category Financial Incentive
Implementing sector Local
Last Update
State Maryland
Administrator Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance
Technologies Solar - Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Daylighting
Sectors Residential

The state of Maryland permits local governments (Md Code: Property Tax § 9-242) to offer property tax credits for high performance buildings if they choose to do so. Baltimore County exercised this option in 2006 by creating property tax credits for new and existing multi-family residential (50+ units) and commercial buildings that meet certain high performance building standards. In 2008, the county also adopted a similar provision creating property tax credits for newly constructed high performance homes, and in 2010 added provisions for energy efficiency improvements in existing homes.

The credit is formulated as a percentage (%) reduction in total county real property taxes assessed on the property over the course of several years. The level and duration of the allowable credit varies according to building type and level of performance. The non-residential property tax credits are based wholly on achieving a specified rating and certification under the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED green building rating system. The property tax credit for homes also uses green building rating systems as a qualification standard, but includes an additional track that allows a home to qualify for a credit based on its level of efficiency as compared to an energy use baseline. The credit for high performance homes originally required a minimum LEED for Homes rating, but the law was amended during 2012 to allow homes rated under the the International Code Council (ICC) NGBS to qualify. Both standards include not only single-family homes, but also attached housing, and low-rise (up to 6 stories), multi-family condominiums and rental housing. The table below summarizes the different tax credit levels and durations for different building types.

Commercial and Multi-family Residential (income producing, 50+ units)

Performance Level Credit Amount Term
LEED-NC Platinum or NGBS Emerald 80% 5 years
LEED-NC Gold or NGBS Gold 60% 5 years
LEED-NC Silver or NGBS Silver 50% 5 years
LEED-CS Platinum 70% 5 years
LEED-CS Gold 50% 5 years
LEED-CS Silver 40% 5 years
LEED-EB Platinum 50% 3 years
LEED-EB Gold 25% 3 years
LEED-EB Silver 10% 3 years

Residential Homes

Performance Level Credit Amount Term
LEED for Homes Platinum or NGBS Emerald 100% 3 years
LEED for Homes or NGBS Gold 60% 3 years
LEED for Homes or NGBS Silver 40% 3 years
30%+ Energy Efficiency Improvement Varies by % Improvement, 30% Minimum 3 years
All Performance Levels, Carbon Neutral Varies by Performance 5 years

For residential home, new construction projects that take the energy performance track, the baseline for determining a 30% energy improvement is the county building code. For existing homes the baseline is determined by the existing energy efficiency of the structure prior to the improvements.

Under either the commercial credit or the residential credit, only one credit is permitted per building. In order to claim a credit, the property owner must submit an application or before the June 1 immediately preceding the property tax year for which the credit is sought. Changes in property ownership do not affect the credit, which runs with the property. The credit may be terminated if it is determined that alterations which do not comply with the law have been made to the structure. Property tax credits for commercial structures are limited to $5 million in total while property tax credits for residential homes are limited to $1 million in any fiscal year. There are no limits for individual buildings.

Add new comment