Comptroller Franchot Unveils Legislation Aimed at Reforming Maryland’s Dysfunctional Beer Laws

BALTIMORE, Md. (November 20, 2017) – Citing the significant economic, fiscal and community contributions of Maryland’s craft brewers and the industry’s immense potential, Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced a major legislative package that would fundamentally reform the antiquated laws and burdensome regulations that govern Maryland craft breweries.

The Reform on Tap Act of 2018 proposes the following:

• Removes all limits on beer production, taproom sales and take-home sales;
• Repeals the “buy-back” provision that requires brewers to purchase their beer from distributors at a marked-up cost if they exceed the 2,000-barrel limit on taproom sales.
• Lifts unnecessary restrictions for take-home sales;
• Guarantees the issuance of Class B or D beer licenses to microbreweries upon request;
• Lets local jurisdictions set guidelines for taproom operating hours;
• Allows smaller brewers to self-distribute;
• Eliminates franchise law requirements; and
• Removes restrictions on contract brewing that inhibits start-up businesses.

“We simply cannot ignore the fact that our laws and regulatory framework have stood in the way of the limitless potential of Maryland’s craft beer industry. This is going to take us from last in the region, to the first in the nation,” said Comptroller Franchot, the state’s chief alcohol regulator. “Craft breweries are innovative businesses, and each has a measureable impact on our economy and in their local communities. They attract local residents and tourists alike who appreciate locally-sourced ingredients, environmentally sustainable practices and each taproom’s distinct style.”

The legislation reflects the findings of the Comptroller’s Reform on Tap Task Force, which held eight meetings during this summer and fall to get a better grasp of the state’s current laws and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for craft brewers. The 40-member task force represented every region in the state and industry stakeholders including brewers, distributors, retailers, consumers and lawmakers from both parties.

“Comptroller Franchot’s legislation would provide the framework needed for Maryland’s craft beer industry to thrive” said Adam Benesch, co-founder of Union Craft Brewing in Baltimore. “Maryland brewers, distributors and retailers all stand to benefit from the continued growth and success of our industry.”

“In an extremely competitive marketplace, Maryland craft beer is an essential component to our success,” said Joe Petro, owner of Hair O’ The Dog Wine and Spirits in Easton. “Every day, customers visit my store simply because they’ve tried a new Maryland craft beer at a taproom and now want to purchase a six-pack.”

When compared to neighboring states and the District of Columbia, Maryland is home to the most restrictive laws on production, distribution and taproom sales of craft beer.

The obstacles in current Maryland law were illuminated with the passage of House Bill 1283 during the 2017 General Assembly session. Since its passage, the consequences of the bill and the state’s anti-craft beer laws have become glaringly evident. For example, Virginia has aggressively recruited Maryland brewers to relocate to the Commonwealth, and Flying Dog Brewery recently decided to cancel its plans for a $54 million expansion in Frederick, resulting in lost jobs and economic activity.

The legislation announced today corrects the harmful provisions included in House Bill 1283 and would bring the state’s beer laws into the 21st century.

“Put simply, this legislation benefits consumers. It answers their call for change and for greater choices,” said Liz Murphy, a consumer advocate who writes the Naptown Pint blog. “Moreover, data has shown that Maryland-made beer keeps dollars in our communities and that Maryland craft breweries revitalize neighborhoods, create jobs and bring people together.”

An economic impact study conducted by the Bureau of Revenue Estimates found that in Maryland, the craft beer industry had an overall economic impact of $802.7 million and supported or created 6,541 jobs in 2016. The industry contributed nearly $110 million in local, state and federal revenues, which directly supports investments in education, public safety, transportation and the environment.

Still, the state is a net importer of craft beer, meaning it consumes more (275,000 barrels) than it produces (247,000 barrels). Furthermore, the National Brewers Association ranked Maryland 47th in economic impact, 36th in number of breweries and 25th in gallons produced per adult aged 21 years and over – all indications that the state’s craft beer industry has plenty of room to grow if the arbitrary restrictions currently in place are lifted.

“I’m looking forward to working with our local distributors, retailers and fellow brewers in the upcoming legislative session to pass a bill that grows the Maryland beer industry overall,” said Julie Verratti, co-founder of Denizens Brewing Company in Silver Spring. “The work of the Reform on Tap Task Force has created an opportunity to move our state forward, grow jobs and increase economic opportunity for multiple sectors. I, for one, am proud of that.”

MEDIA CONTACTS: Joe Shapiro: jshapiro@comp.state.md.us
410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)
Alan Brody: abrody@comp.state.md.us
410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)

 

Comptroller Franchot Releases Findings as Reform on Tap Task Forces Wraps Up Work

ANNAPOLIS, MD (November 8, 2017) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today released his Maryland Craft Beer: A World Without Limits Report of Findings after a comprehensive look into the brewing, distribution and sales of Maryland craft beer. The report was presented at the final meeting of his Reform on Tap Task Force and after six months of presentations, discussions and fact finding trips throughout the state. The Comptroller will use his findings and the work of the Task Force to craft proposed legislation that will enable Maryland to be the nation’s number-one state for craft brewing and to allow the industry to reach its full potential here in Maryland.

“I am truly very proud of the work that this task force has done over the last several months, and the insights and perspectives from the members have been invaluable in this inclusive and collaborative process,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Since our first meeting, we have traveled across the state, and held eight public and highly-productive meetings and two public town hall meetings. We have succeeded in fulfilling our mission of conducting a top-to-bottom review of our state’s highly dysfunctional beer laws and identifying regulatory and statutory roadblocks that get in the way of the growth and success of the craft beer industry. This Report of Findings is a well-balanced analysis that charts the course for growing our craft beer industry … which, of course, directly benefits our distributors, retailers, and of course, our consumers.”

To read the Comptroller’s full Maryland Craft Beer: A World Without Limits Report of Findings, please click here.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS: Joe Shapiro: jshapiro@comp.state.md.us,

410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (cell)

 

Alan Brody: abrody@comp.state.md.us

410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (cell)

 

Comptroller Extends Certain California Alcohol Permit Expiration Dates

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (November 3, 2017) – In the wake of recent catastrophic wildfires in California that have devastated businesses of many Maryland alcohol permit holders, Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that is he is extending the alcohol permit expiration dates for those impacted California-based companies from October 31 to December 31, 2017.

“The extensive damage caused by these wildfires is hard to comprehend and the loss of life and property is tragic,” said Comptroller Franchot. “My office stands ready to assist affected businesses to ease any burdens we can to help them get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Additionally, the Comptroller recognizes that wildfires have impacted Maryland Direct Wine Shipper Permit holders, who also might experience difficulty filing their third quarter Maryland Alcohol Tax Returns, which were due October 15. To support those permit holders, the Office of the Comptroller is extending this deadline until January 15, 2018 and will grant a waiver of interest and penalties for the third-quarter returns.

Affected businesses with questions about these extensions can call Patricia Anthony at 410-260-7314 or email her at panthony@comp.state.md.us.

CONTACT: Alan Brody: abrody@comp.state.md.us
410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (cell)

 

State Study Confirms Value of Craft Beer Industry to Maryland Economy

BALTIMORE, Md. (October 25, 2017) – Maryland’s craft beer industry had an overall economic impact of $637.6 million and supported or created 6,541 jobs in 2016, according to an economic impact study conducted by the Bureau of Revenue Estimates that was released during today’s Reform on Tap Task Force meeting.

The study found that when the sale and distribution activity of non-Maryland craft beer is included in the projection, the estimated economic impact grew to $802.7 million. The industry contributed $53.1 million in state and local revenues and $55.3 million in federal revenues, which directly supports investments in education, public safety, transportation and the environment.

“The craft beer industry is one of our state’s most important and fastest growing economic engines. The men and women at the forefront of this dynamic industry are creating good-paying jobs, strengthening local economies and attracting tourists to communities in every corner of our state, ” said Comptroller Peter Franchot, who created the Reform on Tap Task Force in April to modernize the state’s antiquated laws governing the manufacturing, distribution and sale of Maryland craft beer.

“However, the fact that we lag so far behind our neighboring states is a reminder that we can do so much better. Flying Dog’s recent announcement that they will postpone plans to expand their brewery operations in Frederick underscore the severe consequences of a statutory and regulatory environment that impedes the growth and success of this industry. That is why it is critical that we reform, from top-to-bottom, the outdated laws that have restricted the growth of this industry for too long.”

In 2016, Maryland craft breweries directly employed 430 workers, and had an indirect and induced effect on 264 jobs – yielding a total of $28.4 million in wages and generating $143.7 million in economic output, according to the study.

Both alcohol distributors and retailers (bars and restaurants) also greatly benefited from Maryland’s craft brewers, with a direct, indirect and induced effect on almost 6,000 jobs, about $200 million in labor income and nearly $500 million in economic activity, the report found.

The analysis also indicates that Maryland’s craft beer industry has room to grow. That is demonstrated most clearly by the state’s status as a net importer of craft beer, meaning that the state consumes more craft beer (275,000 barrels) than it produces (247,000 barrels).

“This study reveals not only the substantial size of this industry in its current status, but also that, when various comparative metrics are taken into account, the industry has considerable room to grow,” said Andrew Schaufele, director of the Maryland Bureau of Revenue Estimates.

Furthermore, the National Brewers Association finds that Maryland trails other states, ranking 47th in economic impact, 36th in number of breweries and 25th in gallons produced per adult aged 21 years and over. Although production among Maryland craft brewers has steadily increased at an annual rate of 15 percent over the past five years, it has lagged behind the national average of 18 percent.

To read the full report of the Economic Impact of Maryland’s Craft Beer Industry prepared by the Maryland Bureau of Revenue Estimates, please click here.

 

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

 

Gifts to Charity: Six Facts About Written Acknowledgements

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 19, 2018) — Throughout the year, many taxpayers contribute money or gifts to qualified organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Taxpayers who plan to claim a charitable deduction on their tax return must do two things:

• Have a bank record or written communication from a charity for any monetary contributions.
• Get a written acknowledgment from the charity for any single donation of $250 or more.

Here are six things for taxpayers to remember about these donations and written acknowledgements:
Taxpayers who make single donations of $250 or more to a charity must have one of the following:
o A separate acknowledgment from the organization for each donation of $250 or more.
o One acknowledgment from the organization listing the amount and date of each contribution of $250 or more.
The $250 threshold doesn’t mean a taxpayer adds up separate contributions of less than $250 throughout the year.
o For example, if someone gave a $25 offering to their church each week, they don’t need an acknowledgement from the church, even though their contributions for the year are more than $250.
Contributions made by payroll deduction are treated as separate contributions for each pay period.
If a taxpayer makes a payment that is partly for goods and services, their deductible contribution is the amount of the payment that is more than the value of those goods and services.
A taxpayer must get the acknowledgement on or before the earlier of these two dates:
o The date they file their return for the year in which they make the contribution.
o The due date, including extensions, for filing the return.
If the acknowledgment doesn’t show the date of the contribution, the taxpayers must also have a bank record or receipt that does show the date.

More Information:
Can I Deduct My Charitable Contributions?
Publication 526, Charitable Contributions
Tax Topic 506, Charitable Contributions
Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements

Extension Filers: Deadline is Monday, Oct. 16

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 3, 2017) – Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers who filed for an extension and face an Oct. 16 filing deadline: The adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from their 2015 return may be needed to electronically file their 2016 tax return.

For those taxpayers who have a valid extension and are in or affected by a federally declared disaster area may be allowed more time to file. Currently, taxpayers impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria as well as people in parts of Michigan and West Virginia qualify for this relief. See the disaster relief page on IRS.gov for details.

Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax returns and supporting documents for a minimum of three years. Prior year tax returns are even more important as the IRS makes changes to protect taxpayers and authenticate their identity.

Extension filers should plan ahead if they are using a software product for the first time. They should have kept a copy of their 2015 tax return or if not, will need to order a tax transcript, a process that may take five to 10 calendar days. The AGI is clearly labeled on both the tax return and the transcript.

Taxpayers who prepare their own electronic tax returns are required to electronically sign and validate their return. Using an electronic filing PIN is no longer an option. To authenticate their identities, taxpayers also will need to enter either of two items: Their prior-year AGI or their prior-year self-select PIN and their date of birth. If married filing jointly, both taxpayers must authenticate their identities with this information.

Generally, tax-preparation software automatically generates the prior-year AGI and/or self-select PIN for returning customers. However, taxpayers who are new to a software product must enter the prior-year AGI or prior-year self-select PIN themselves.

How to find AGI; plan ahead if a mailed transcript needed

The adjusted gross income is gross income minus certain adjustments. On 2015 tax returns, the AGI is found on line 37 of Form 1040; line 21 on Form 1040A and line 4 on Form 1040EZ. Taxpayers who e-filed and did not keep a copy of their original 2015 tax return may be able to return to their prior-year software provider or tax preparer to obtain a copy.

Those who lack access to their prior-year tax returns also may go to irs.gov/transcript and use Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail. A transcript is a summary of the tax return or tax account. There are various types of transcripts, but the Tax Return Transcript works best. Look for the “Adjusted Gross Income” amount on the transcript.

Taxpayers must pass Secure Access authentication in order to access Get Transcript Online and immediately access their transcripts. Those who cannot pass Secure Access authentication should use Get Transcript by Mail or call 1-800-908-9946, and a transcript will be delivered to their home address within five to 10 calendar days.

IRS Reminder for Parents, Students: Check Out College Tax Benefits

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (September 26, 2017) ― With school now in session, the Internal Revenue Service reminds parents and students about tax benefits that can help with the expense of higher education. Two college tax credits apply to students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school. Eligible students include the taxpayer, their spouse and dependents.

American Opportunity Tax Credit

• The American Opportunity Tax Credit, (AOTC) can be worth a maximum annual benefit of $2,500 per eligible student. The credit is only available for the first four years at an eligible college or vocational school for students pursuing a degree or another recognized education credential. Taxpayers can claim the AOTC for a student enrolled in the first three months of 2018 as long as they paid qualified expenses in 2017.

Lifetime Learning Credit

• The Lifetime Learning Credit, (LLC) can have a maximum benefit of up to $2,000 per tax return for both graduate and undergraduate students. Unlike the AOTC, the limit on the LLC applies to each tax return rather than to each student. The course of study must be either part of a post-secondary degree program or taken by the student to maintain or improve job skills. The credit is available for an unlimited number of tax years.

To claim the AOTC or LLC, use Form 8863, Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits). Additionally, if claiming the AOTC, the law requires taxpayers to include the school’s Employer Identification Number on this form.
Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement, is required to be eligible for an education benefit. Students receive this form from the school they attended. There are exceptions for some students.

Other education benefits

Other education-related tax benefits that may help parents and students are:
• Student loan interest deduction of up to $2,500 per year.
• Scholarship and fellowship grants. Generally, these are tax-free if used to pay for tuition, required enrollment fees, books and other course materials, but taxable if used for room, board, research, travel or other expenses.

• Savings bonds used to pay for college. Though income limits apply, interest is usually tax-free if bonds were purchased after 1989 by a taxpayer who, at time of purchase, was at least 24 years of age.

• Qualified tuition programs, also called 529 plans, are used by many families to prepay or save for a child’s college education. Contributions to a 529 plan are not deductible, but earnings are not subject to federal tax when used for the qualified education expenses.

To help determine eligibility for these benefits, taxpayers should use tools on the Education Credits Web page and IRS Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov.

Keep A Copy of Tax Returns

Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return for at least three years. Copies of tax returns may be needed for many reasons. If applying for college financial aid, a tax transcript may be all that is needed. A tax transcript summarizes return information and includes adjusted gross income. Get one from the IRS for free.

The quickest way to get a copy of a tax transcript is to use the Get Transcript application. After verifying identity, taxpayers can view and print their transcript immediately online. The online application includes a robust identity verification process. Those who can’t pass the verification must request the transcript be mailed. This takes five to 10 days, so plan ahead and request the transcript early.

Comptroller Franchot’s Statement on Board of Revenue Estimates September Revisions

Comptroller Peter Franchot, chairman of the Board of Revenue Estimates (second from left), along with (from right) Marc Nicole, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, Chief Deputy Treasurer Bernadette T. Benik and Andrew Schaufele, director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates and executive secretary of the board, met Wednesday afternoon in the Assembly Room of the Louis L. Goldstein Treasury Building in Annapolis.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (September 20, 2017) – Today, the Board of Revenue Estimates voted to reduce the revenue projections for the State of Maryland for Fiscal Year 2018 by $53 million, representing a 0.3 percent decrease over prior estimates. The Board also unveiled the first official estimates for fiscal year 2019, which is projected to be $17.6 billion, representing a $73.5 million reduction.

The actions are largely driven by weaker-than-anticipated sales tax revenues, which are the result of sluggish income growth, changing buying habits with more online purchases being made and tepid consumer confidence stemming from uncertainty about potential federal government cuts and other actions.
Following are Comptroller Franchot’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“This action comes just weeks after we closed the books on Fiscal Year 2017 with $90 million above our original projections, which provides reason for restrained optimism.
“The proposed reductions in FY 2018 and FY 2019’s estimates are primarily influenced by the continued weak growth in sales and use tax revenue, and a modestly reduced outlook for average wage growth in Maryland. In this revision, the largest write-down is the sales and use tax projected revenues, which underscores the fact that consumer spending remains unpredictable.

“Following a very brief but relatively successful holiday season, sales tax revenue declined this past spring. Over the last several fiscal years, we’ve barely attained 2% growth in sales and use tax revenues. Our prior estimates had generally held that the State would at least see 3% to 3.5% growth. But we know these figures are influenced in large part by the meager income growth that we continue to experience, and the political uncertainties coming out of Washington.

“As we continue to weather these uncertain economic conditions, Maryland working families are understandably putting more money in the piggy bank instead of spending on things they want, instead of need.

“In this consumer-powered economy, far too many businesses – and in particular, small and locally-owned businesses that are the backbone of the Maryland economy — are struggling to survive at a time when consumers are reining in their discretionary spending.

“We continue to experience the slowest and most tentative economic recovery of our lifetimes. And as I’ve said in the past, I think that it would be imprudent to expect a return to pre-recessionary patterns of economic expansion.

“To be prepared for the fiscal uncertainties of the future, I believe fiscal policymakers need to consider this rate of growth in our revenues as the “new normal,” if you will. And I would encourage my fellow state leaders to adopt this approach when making spending and fiscal policy decisions in the months ahead.”

“I do want to tip my hat to Governor Hogan and to the General Assembly for continuing to exercise fiscal restraint and for recognizing the fiscal and economic realities that our state faces today. More than anything else — and I know both the Governor and the General Assembly are in bipartisan agreement on this — we must establish a business climate that is characterized by stability and predictability, one in which employers feel comfortable investing capital and creating good-paying, long-term jobs.

“We must avoid decisions that take more money out of the pockets of consumers who are already reluctant to put money back into the Maryland economy, which is why we need to continue to reject any proposals that would increase or create new taxes and fees.

“We need to provide some stability and relief for our working-class citizens and small businesses. And furthermore, we must remain smart and forward-thinking about how we spend limited taxpayer dollars and resist adding to our existing state debt — recognizing the fact that we simply cannot sustain continued debt accumulation that can be dangerous to our fiscal stability in the years ahead.

“The fiscal realities we face require us to invest in the things that we need, and forego many of the things that we simply want. This is the same principle that so many households and business owners use when planning and executing their own budgets — and we have a solemn responsibility to do the same as their elected representatives.

“I am confident that if we continue on the current path of fiscal prudence, we will be well-positioned to emerge from these economic and fiscal challenges stronger than before. And we will be properly prepared to weather future disturbances in our economy.”

View the data here.

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

 

Comptroller’s Call Center Approved By Board of Public Works

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (September 20, 2017) – Reinforcing his commitment to exceptional taxpayer service, Comptroller Franchot today thanked his Board of Public Works colleagues for their unanimous approval of the lease agreement for his office’s new customer call center, which will open in Hagerstown in early January, in time for the start of the 2018 tax filing season. The new center will be located at Franklin Plaza, 33 W. Franklin Street, in downtown Hagerstown. It will enhance the ability of the Maryland Comptroller’s Office to provide better customer service while adding 12 full-time jobs to the area’s economy.

“I am very proud of my Office’s longstanding reputation for respectful, responsive and results-oriented customer service,” said Comptroller Franchot. “By providing these additional phone lines and additional agents, our new call center will further enhance our ability to serve taxpayers throughout the state. We also are thrilled to bring new jobs and economic activity to downtown Hagerstown and to be a part of the city’s ongoing renaissance. I would like to thank my Board of Public Works colleagues – Governor Hogan and Treasurer Kopp – for their unanimous and enthusiastic support of this exciting new initiative.”

The new center’s staff will assist Marylanders with tax questions and tax payment options. The agency’s Taxpayer Services unit in Annapolis typically swells from 35 to 75 employees during the height of the tax season to handle the volume of taxpayer inquiries. Last January, the agency opened its first remote call center in Salisbury to lend greater assistance to taxpayers from all regions of the state. The new Hagerstown call center will continue the Comptroller’s efforts to respond quickly and effectively to taxpayers’ queries.

City and county leaders expressed appreciation for the new call center and applauded today’s action.

“The city is excited to have the Comptroller’s new Call Center in downtown Hagerstown, and these new jobs will be a great contribution to our local economy,” said Mayor Bob Bruchey. “This call center will provide an important service to people across Maryland who have important tax questions, and having the call center in downtown Hagerstown will help make the process more efficient and effective for everyone.”

“Once again, Comptroller Franchot working with Governor Hogan has demonstrated that not only does he seek efficiency with taxpayer funds, but also his agency focuses on excellent customer service,” said State Senator Andrew Serafini, District 2. “His commitment to downtown Hagerstown and our efforts for revitalization is truly appreciated by our local community.”

“We say congratulations, and I want to thank Mr. Franchot for providing job opportunities to Washington County,” said Washington County Commission President Terry L. Baker. “We love Peter Franchot in Washington County and we thank him for everything he does for us.”

The approval of this latest call center comes just months after the Office of the Comptroller opened a new regional branch office in Hagerstown. That office, located in the Crystal Building at 1850 Dual Highway, is open to the public on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Training for the new hires will begin at the Hagerstown office this fall. Anyone interested in one of the positions may go to https://www.jobaps.com/MD/ for more information and to apply.

Media Contacts: Joseph Shapiro, 410-260-7305 (office), 443-871-2244 (cell)
Alan Brody, 410-6346 (office), 443-924-1473 (cell)

 

Comptroller Franchot Extends Tax Relief and Assistance to Help Hurricane Irma Victims

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (September 11, 2017) – In the aftermath of the destruction and damage caused by Hurricane Irma throughout Florida, Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced a plan to ease the suffering of victims trying to recover from this monstrous natural disaster. The Comptroller has:

• Issued a temporary waiver of certain IFTA requirements and Motor Fuel Tax returns for companies affected by the storm.
• Granted a fuel waiver concerning conventional and reformulated gasoline to ensure the supply of gasoline in the State of Maryland.
• Named agency contact personnel to assist taxpayers and businesses with other tax filings.

“Floridians have been through a traumatic evacuation, a massive hurricane and now have to return to their homes to begin the daunting task of storm clean-up and getting their basic needs met,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Our goal is to make sure individuals and businesses affected by this giant hurricane can focus on clean-up and rebuilding their communities as they start to put their lives back together. We stand ready to assist and to ease any burdens that we can.”

The Comptroller has granted a temporary waiver of certain International Fuel Tax Agreement requirements. The waiver will help ensure the rapid restoration of utilities and allow essential emergency relief supplies and aid personnel to reach the affected areas. The waiver pertains only to shippers and carriers of essential emergency relief supplies and aid personnel or those restoring utilities. It is effective from September 11 through November 30.

For Maryland Motor Fuel Tax license holders in Florida who may have difficulty filing their August 2017 and September 2017 returns by the monthly deadline, the Comptroller has granted a waiver of interest and penalty for those holders. Those affected by the waiver must file their August 2017 and September 2017 Motor Fuel Tax returns by November 30, 2017.

The Comptroller’s Office also will allow the production, sale and distribution of conventional gasoline (CG) in reformulated gasoline (RFG) control areas in an effort to simplify the supply of fungible gasoline throughout the region affected by fuel supply emergencies caused by Hurricane Irma.

The Comptroller also has authorized a temporary increase in the Reid Vapor Pressure limits. The fuel waiver request concerning conventional and reformulated gasoline was made by the Maryland Department of the Environment in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure adequate supplies of gasoline for Maryland consumers.

Anyone with questions or concerns may call Chuck Ulm, assistant director within the Field Enforcement Division (FED), at 410-260-7278; or Nathan Essey, regulatory and licensing section manager/hearing officer for FED, at 410-260-7498.

Certain tax types also could be affected. Those types include: withholding, sales and use, individual non-resident, corporate, admission and amusement and alcohol and tobacco. Because the categories and specific circumstances vary, these instances will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Anyone from Florida who files in Maryland and has a tax concern involving tax return dates is asked to call or email Karen Scheerer, special assistant to the Comptroller, at 410-260-4020 or ombudsman@comp.state.md.us.

For other tax-related questions, individuals may call 410-260-7980 (from Central Maryland) or 1-800-MD-TAXES, or email taxhelp@comp.state.md.us. Businesses may call the Tax Practitioner Hotline at 410-260-7424.

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