I applied for DC Tax Abatement as part of my closing. I did not get my letter from the District of Columbia saying I got tax abatement and that I am exempt from real estate taxes for the next five years, and my lender is still collecting taxes in escrow to pay my bills. What do I do?
Recently I’ve been receiving a lot of calls and emails to that effect. And, well, there are a number of things to look at before we know if anything is “wrong.”
Does the Office of Tax and Revenue reflect the lower income abatement on the tax records online? You can check DC property tax records online by putting in your Square and Lot. Once you pull up the property detail page for your property, see if it reflects your name as owner and lower income status. If your name appears, your deed is on record. If your name does not appear, check in with your title company to see when and if your deed has gone to record – bear in mind that it can take between 6 and 8 weeks for the tax records to be updated after your deed is recorded. If your name does appear, but the lower income status does not, you need to go to the next step.
When did the new deed go on record? Tax Abatement does not start until the next FULL tax year. For example: Settlement took place on October 2, 2017. Tax abatement would not kick in until October 1, 2018 for the 2019 tax year.
If it seems that your deed was recorded correctly and you are beyond the beginning of the tax year that your tax abatement should have started, you need to call the Office of Tax and Revenue – 202.727.4829 (202.727.4TAX). They will be able to give you a phone number for a contact in the Office of Tax and Revenue – Maps and Titles Department. You will need to let the folks in Maps and Title know that your tax abatement has not yet kicked in and ask if they will check on it for you. (They are very responsive.) They will be able to discern the issue and should be able to fix the records for you.
Once the records have been fixed, you will get a letter from the Office of Tax and Revenue stating you qualify for tax abatement, the time frame you will be exempt from real estate taxes and the procedures if there are any changes in your occupancy and/or ownership.