Transfer Tax FAQ


PUBLIC NOTICE ATTENTION TRANSFER TAX CUSTOMERS:

The Municipal Building is currently closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although the building is closed to the Public, the Property Transfer Office is currently operating.

Due to the directives of State and Local Governments, the Property Transfer office is operating with fewer staff members working on rotating shifts.

If you have documents that need to be processed, there is a drop off box located at the Holliday Street Entrance or documents can be mailed.

During this pandemic, all documents that are submitted will be processed in the order in which they were received. Due to the large amount of mail the office is receiving there is a possibility that processing may be delayed. 

Once processed, all documents will be forwarded to Land Records unless otherwise specified on the Drop Off form.

Although the Land Records office is closed to the public it is still operational. The Property Transfer office is communicating with the Supervisor of Land Records and has worked out a system to submit documents to the Court House.

If you are in need of a drop-off form please click here to download it.

Please ensure that all outstanding liens on your lien sheet have been paid in full prior to submitting your documents for processing. If you would like for your documents to be forwarded to the Land Records office, please ensure that your checks for recording fees are attached to your documents.

There will be a maximum of 50 Documents per week per customer. Any documents over the limit will be returned to the customer unprocessed.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these unprecedented times. Throughout this pandemic, our #1 priority is the service that we provide to the public.


What do I do if my parents are deceased and willed their house to me?

You will need to contact the State Register of Wills Department at 410-396-5034 or by visiting them at 111 N. Calvert Street, Room 311, Baltimore, MD 21202. 

Do I have to record a new deed if I get married and change my last name?

No, you do not have to record a new deed. However, if you want the property location records to be accurate and reflect your married name, you should take a copy of your marriage certificate to the Property Location Unit, Room # 204, Abel Wolman Building, 200 N. Holliday Street, Baltimore MD 21202 or you may call at 410-396-3800. 

How do I obtain a Lien Certificate application? 

Applications for the Lien Certificates can be obtained on-line, in person at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, Liens Office, Room 1, 200 Holliday Street, Baltimore, MD. 21202, or if you would like to submit the application the traditional way, please visit the revenue and collections page to print an application. For additional information regarding the Liens Unit and applying for a lien certificate.

Once I receive a Lien Certificate, how long is it valid? 

Lien Sheets are valid for 45 calendar days or June 30th, whichever comes first.

How long does it take to get a Lien Certificate back? 

Once you submit the Liens application, allow up to seven calendar days to receive the Lien Certificate. 

Is a Lien Certificate required? 

Generally, a lien sheet is required for all transfers when the name of a party who is an owner of the real property is being removed from the Deed.

Can documents be mailed in for processing?

Yes; however it is important to follow the following checklist and please note that all packets with incomplete, inaccurate, illegible, or missing documents will be returned unprocessed. Place all documents in the following order to ensure timely processing:

  • Original Deed (signed and notarized)
  • The original Lien Certificate (photocopies will not be accepted) with a validated receipt(s) attached (only for outstanding liens that were satisfied).  Please note that ALL LIENS MUST BE PAID IN FULL prior to submitting documents to the Transfer Tax Office. The only exception is if you are an owner-occupied property and settle between July 1 and November 30, you are allowed to pay ½ of your current year real estate property taxes. However, from December 1 through June 30 you are required to pay the entire amount.
  • Completed Intake Sheet: Currently the Maryland State Intake Sheet can be obtained in the transfer tax office and at www.courts.state.md.us.  All copies of the intake sheet must be the legible and legal size (8.5x14).  ** Important Notice- Effective 7/1/2014 the Transfer Tax Office will no longer be accepting the Maryland State Intake Sheet. A new intake sheet has been specially designed for the Transfer Tax Office. Customers will be able to download and print the new intake sheet by visiting our website at www.baltimorecity.gov.
  • A copy of the settlement sheet, contract of sale, or a report of sale.
  • Submit a check(s), made payable to the Director of Finance, for the City transfer tax.

What documents are required to complete a deed transfer?

The Original Deed, Lien Certificate, Intake Sheet, a copy of the Settlement Sheet, the Contract of Sale (or a Report of Sale), and a check(s) for the Baltimore City transfer tax made payable to the Director of Finance. 

Are all transfers of real property subject to the Transfer Tax? 

Generally, all transfers of real property are taxed. However, exceptions to the tax are provided for in the City Code and in the Maryland State Annotated Code. The application of these exceptions is complex, and it is recommended you seek professional advice from your Title Company, mortgage broker, or attorney.

What is a Transfer Tax and how is it computed?

A transfer tax is a tax levied when a piece of real property is transferred from one owner to another or when a person is added to or removed from ownership of the property. There is both a City and a State transfer tax. These taxes are enacted by the City Council and the State Legislature. The tax is based on the consideration paid (consideration is the purchase price or, in some cases, the amount of a mortgage which the new owner agrees to pay) for the real property.

The City transfer tax is 1.5% multiplied by the amount of consideration. The State transfer tax is 0.5% multiplied by the amount of the consideration. Together the total transfer tax on the property is 2% multiplied by the amount of the consideration paid for the property.

Effective July 1, 2007, owner-occupied residences may receive a partial exemption of the transfer tax upon conveyance if the consideration of their principal residence is less than $250,000. A recently approved law allows the first $22,000 of consideration not to be subject to the transfer tax. However, the buyer must provide a statement, signed under oath by the buyer, that he/she will use the property as his/her principal residence and occupy the property for at least 7 months of the 12-month period immediately following the conveyance.

Why do I have to record a deed?

The purpose of the recordation of a Deed is to give public notice of the transfer of an interest in real property. Recordation provides the name and address of the new owner to the City's Property Location Department and to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. It is important that these records reflect the current ownership of real property in the State of Maryland and ensures that all tax bills, assessment notices, tax sale notices, etc are sent to the proper party. It is the responsibility of the new owner to make sure that your current mailing address is updated in these records.

Why do I have to record a deed?

The purpose of the recordation of a Deed is to give public notice of the transfer of an interest in real property. Recordation provides the name and address of the new owner to the City's Property Location Department and to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. It is important that these records reflect the current ownership of real property in the State of Maryland and ensures that all tax bills, assessment notices, tax sale notices, etc are sent to the proper party. It is the responsibility of the new owner to make sure that your current mailing address is updated in these records.

What are the Transfer Tax Unit hours of operation?

Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 3:30 pm 

How do I contact the Baltimore City Transfer Tax Unit?

You may visit us in person at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, Room 1, 200 Holliday Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, or by calling us at 410-396-5122.

Is there a checklist I can use for Deed Processing Instructions?

Yes, download the checklist.