Comptroller’s Office Prevents $1.1 Million in Fraudulent Income Tax Returns

Detecting Bogus Filings Remains Top Priority for Agency

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (February 14, 2017) – With the tax filing season under way less than a month, Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that his office has detected more than $1.1 million in fraudulent requests from 760 income tax filers. The tax season began January 23.

“Tax fraud and identity theft represents the single greatest risk facing taxpayers today,” Comptroller Franchot said. “My team of highly-skilled fraud detectors uses state-of the-art technology to identify fraud while processing returns. Guarding honest Marylanders’ hard-earned money and keeping it safe remains a top priority for me and the members of my team.”

With more than 580,000 electronic and paper returns processed so far this season, Comptroller Franchot urges Marylanders to file electronically as it’s the most secure and efficient way to submit a tax return. Most Marylanders who file electronically receive their state refunds within three business days.

In the past three weeks, the Comptroller has:

• Announced 20 tax preparers added to last year’s list of 68 locations in which his office has stopped processing returns.
• Warned Maryland taxpayers and business about a W-2 phishing scam.
• Announced four indictments in tax fraud schemes with Attorney General Brian Frosh.

Since becoming Comptroller ten years ago, the Comptroller’s Questionable Returns Detection Team has blocked nearly 76,000 fraudulent returns worth more than $174 million.

The tax filing deadline this year is Monday, April 18, 2017, rather than the traditional April 15 date. Marylanders can file their state tax returns electronically through the state’s free iFile system, which can be accessed online at www.marylandtaxes.com. A list of other approved vendors to file electronically can also be found on the website.

Free state tax assistance is available at all of the Comptroller’s 12 taxpayer service offices, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information on any tax-related matter, visit www.marylandtaxes.com, call 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland, or email taxhelp@comp.state.md.us.

MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Shapiro, 410-260-7305 (office), 443-871-2244 (cell)
Alan Brody, 410-260-6346 (office), 443-924-1473 (cell)