Let the Game Begin: Franchot Helps Launch Maryland Baseball and Brew Scorecard

BALTIMORE, MD (May 23, 2017) – Combining Maryland’s proud heritage of and love for baseball and craft brewing, Comptroller Peter Franchot today introduced The Maryland Baseball & Brew Scorecard. This new summertime promotion encourages travel across Maryland to experience craft breweries and baseball-themed attractions while helping to grow the craft beer and tourism industries. Baseball & Brew is a partnership between the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Comptroller’s Office and the Maryland Office of Tourism, a division of the Maryland Department of Commerce.

Comptroller Franchot, industry partners and officials gathered at Peabody Heights Brewery in Baltimore to introduce the program and begin distribution of the Official Maryland Baseball & Brew Scorecard. “Maryland has a proud and rich heritage in both baseball and the brewing industries,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot. “This new Baseball & Brew Scorecard promotion encourages Marylanders and tourists alike to explore every region of our wonderful state and experience the sights and sounds of baseball and the taste of our award winning craft breweries.”

Ben Wu, Assistant Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce said, “Breweries are economic engines for the communities in which they choose to establish themselves.”

He noted that other small businesses such as food trucks, restaurants, boutique shops and artist studios tend to establish themselves around the breweries thus creating a thriving community that attracts visitors and improves quality of life in those neighborhoods.

“Baseball & Brew teams up two segments of the tourism industry that are already tightly intertwined,” said Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Brewers Association of Maryland. “Participants can use the scorecard to keep track of visitation to nearly 60 participating craft breweries in every region of Maryland and can win a ‘Grand Slam Maryland Baseball & Brew Experience.’”

Scorecards may be picked up at participating breweries and at any Maryland Welcome Center. Atticks further encouraged visitors to “hit a home run” on every trip by running the bases” 1st base, drink at a craft brewery; 2nd base, dine at a local restaurant; 3rd base, visit a unique attraction; home plate, stay overnight.”

Visitors are encouraged to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #brewsandbasesMD.

Go to marylandbeer.org for more details on participating craft breweries and visitmaryland.org for travel and baseball attraction information or call 1-800-719-5900.

About Maryland Tourism:

The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Commerce. Visitors to the state spent $16.8 billion on travel-related expenses in 2015. The Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.3 billion in state and local taxes, and provided Marylanders with more than 143,000 jobs with a payroll of $5.7 billion. For more information: visitmaryland.org

About Brewers Association of Maryland:

The Maryland brewing industry dates back to colonial times and is now one of the fastest growing segments of the craft beverage economy. The Brewers Association of Maryland, founded in 1996 is a non-profit, member based, trade association representing more than 70 breweries across the state. The mission of BAM is to grow, promote and protect the Maryland craft beer industry through marketing, advocacy & education. BAM is represented by the management group, Grow & Fortify. For more information: marylandbeer.org.

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

 

Comptroller’s Hagerstown Branch Office Moving to More Convenient Location on June 1

Current location to be closed Wednesday, May 31, to facilitate move

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 18, 2017) – Comptroller Peter Franchot announced that the Hagerstown branch office will be closed on Wednesday, May 31, to allow the agency to move from its current location in the Professional Arts Building at 1 South Potomac Street to its new location at 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 201, Hagerstown, MD 21740. The office will re-open Thursday, June 1.

In January, the Board of Public Works approved a new 10-year lease agreement to make the move possible. The Comptroller’s Office staff worked to find a location that was accessible, convenient and one that offered ample parking.

“The new Hagerstown office is close to the highway, has strong visibility and will offer more convenient parking for taxpayers,” Comptroller Franchot said in describing his priorities for the new branch. “We provide a broad range of services for area taxpayers so they can avoid long trips to our primary offices in Baltimore and Annapolis.”

The current office will close on May 30 at 4:30 p.m. and the new office will reopen on June 1 at 8:30 a.m. Taxpayers in need of assistance on May 31 may visit branch offices in Cumberland or Frederick. Taxpayers in need of free state tax assistance also can call the taxpayer services line from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-MD TAXES, or 410-260-7980.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office) and 410-212-9414 (cell)

Public Notice: “Reform On Tap” Task Force First Meeting

WHEN: 3:00 PM Wednesday May 24, 2017
WHERE: Johns Hopkins University’s Charles Commons
3301 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

The task force, chaired by Comptroller Peter Franchot and composed of 40 members representing key stakeholder groups within the beer industry, will perform a comprehensive review of the State’s antiquated laws that govern the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of Maryland craft beer. All meetings are open to the public.

PDF Version

 

Comptroller’s FED Agents Assist in Two-State Illegal Cigarettes Probe

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 11, 2017) — Agents from the Comptroller of Maryland’s Field Enforcement Division (FED) assisted Maryland State Police and the Henrico County (Va.) Police Department, as well as federal and state law enforcement agencies, in a nearly two-year investigation of illegal cigarette trafficking, ultimately involving a total of 600,000 cartons with a value of $30 million.

FED agents assisted Maryland State Police in the arrest of four men following traffic stops in Cecil, Harford and Prince George’s counties. Officers confiscated 23,840 packs of contraband cigarettes with a value of $153,767, representing a tax loss to Maryland of $47,680. More than 20 local, state and federal agencies were involved in the two-state probe, which resulted in 43 arrests and 743 indictments.

“I’m very proud of the work my Field Enforcement Division officers do each and every day to safeguard the State of Maryland and its citizens from those who try to cheat the system,” Comptroller Peter Franchot said. “Be it assisting other law enforcement agencies in a large investigation of this sort or catching fraudsters trying to take money out of Maryland taxpayers’ pockets, my team of investigators is vigilant in their quest to do what is right.”

Each arrest in Maryland and its documentation was forwarded to the Henrico County Police Department. The arrests in Maryland include:

Basem Noffal, 52, of Yonkers, N.Y., who was stopped by MSP for a traffic violation at 9:43 p.m. Feb. 17, 2017, in Perryville, Cecil County. Noffal was driving a 2016 Ford F-150 pickup truck with a covered bed on northbound I-95. During the stop, Noffal was found to be transporting a large quantity of unstamped cigarettes.

Noffal faces a felony charge of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of contraband cigarettes. Agents seized 11,450 packs of contraband cigarettes and the truck that was used to transport them. The seized cigarettes had a value of $73,852 and represent a tax loss to Maryland of $22,900.

Noffal was taken before a Cecil County District Court Commission and released on bond. He had an initial appearance May 5 in Cecil County Circuit Court and a trial date has been set.

Adyl Bourzgui, 43, of Richmond, Va., who was stopped by MSP for a traffic violation at 9:01 p.m. May 25, 2016, on northbound I-95 in Havre de Grace, Harford County. Bourzgui was driving a rented 2015 Nissan Pathfinder. During the stop, Bourzgui was found to be transporting a large quantity of unstamped cigarettes.

Bourzgui faced a felony charge of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of contraband cigarettes. Agents seized 6,900 packs of contraband cigarettes and the vehicle used to transport them. The seized cigarettes are valued at $44,505 and represent a tax loss to Maryland of $13,800.

Bourzgui was taken before a Harford County District Court Commissioner and released on bond.

On July 12, 2016, Bourzgui was found guilty of possession of untaxed cigarettes in Harford County District Court and sentenced to 365 days with 363 days suspended, one year of unsupervised probation, $1,000 fine and $55 in court costs. The charge of transporting unstamped cigarettes was dismissed.

Mohamed Mohmoud Ould-Zeidane, 40, and Mohamed Bouke, 57, both of New York, N.Y., who were stopped by MSP for a traffic violation at 10:35 p.m. March 21, 2016, on northbound I-495 at U.S. Route 1, in College Park, Prince George’s County. Ould-Zeidane was driving a 2015 Ford Expedition. During the stop, both men were found to be transporting a large quantity of unstamped cigarettes.

Both men faced felony charges of transporting contraband cigarettes and misdemeanor charges of possession of contraband cigarettes. Agents seized 5,490 packs of contraband cigarettes and the vehicle. The cigarettes had a value of $35,410 and represent a tax loss to Maryland of $10,980.

Both men were taken to a Prince George’s County District Court Commissioner and released on bond.

All charges filed against Ould-Zeidane and Bouke were dismissed. As of this date, charges have not been re-filed. Ould-Zeidane’s arrest was not part of the larger investigation.

For the current fiscal year, FED agents have arrested and charged 76 individuals for various tobacco violations, stemming from 82 infringements of Maryland’s tobacco laws. The arrests have resulted in the seizure of 103,070 packs of contraband cigarettes and the seizure of 73,760 sticks of Untaxed Other Tobacco Products (OTP). The seized items are valued at $730,159 and represent a tax loss to Maryland of $248,994.

MEDIA CONTACT: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office), 410-212-9414 (cell)

Valuables Soon to be Returned to Their Rightful Claimants In …The Franchot Zone

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 8, 2017) – Maryland: An idyllic land of mountains, beaches, large cities and small towns. It’s the natural habitat of orioles, ravens and terrapins. It’s a state where children can enjoy life in full measure over a long summer, while mom and dad savor a cold Maryland beer at day’s end. This modern-day Shangri-La on the Chesapeake couldn’t get any better, but many of its inhabitants stand poised to prosper from a most fortunate occurrence. In the modern-day vernacular, they are about to get free stuff.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is laboring at this very moment to reunite these good people with property – their property – that has been misplaced or lost over the course of time.

“This couldn’t happen, you say? To the contrary,” said Comptroller Franchot. “It’s happening right here, right now, in Maryland… in The Franchot Zone.”

The Franchot Zone (or Unclaimed Property cache) is full of possessions and financial payoffs that banks, insurance companies and financial institutions were unable to return to the rightful owners. Any of the goods not claimed by their owners eventually go to the state.

Franchot will be your guide this year into this place of old bank accounts, stocks and bonds, jewelry and other contents of safe deposit boxes. The Franchot Zone has belongings of value – be they monetary, sentimental or a little of both – that will be returned to their rightful claimants. Are you one of the lucky few?

Franchot urges Marylanders to read the list, available online at www.marylandtaxes.com and also published as an insert to more than 30 newspapers statewide. It only takes a minute to check for your name alphabetically.

The Comptroller appears on the cover of the 192-page insert that will begin appearing in some newspapers today. You can also look for a new video today on the Comptroller’s YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5LayKI2wzE). In previous years, Comptroller Franchot appeared as “Sheriff Franchot,” “Sherlock Franchot,” and “The Most Interesting Man in Maryland.”

Along with the Unclaimed Property list, which is published annually as required by law, the Comptroller’s Office searches tax records and Motor Vehicle Administration files to try and locate property owners. The agency also has a booth at the Maryland State Fair, and other events throughout the year, to allow people to check the Unclaimed Property database.

Marylanders can also check to see if their name is on the Unclaimed Property list through the Comptroller’s website. Here’s how:

• Go to marylandtaxes.com
• Enter your name in the agency’s database
• Claim your property

Financial institutions, insurance companies and corporations are required to notify the Comptroller’s Office of any property that has gone unclaimed, or without activity, for more than three years. This is usually wages, bank accounts, stocks or dividends, life insurance policies or from safe deposit boxes.

When the Comptroller’s Office receives property that isn’t monetary, as required by state law, the items are appraised and then auctioned off on eBay (www.ebay.com/usr/mdcompfranchot). The proceeds are held for the owner in perpetuity. Funds are available to be claimed at any time, with no statute of limitations and are not subject to taxes.

Franchot urges anyone who finds his or her name on the list to contact his office at 410-767-1700 (Central Maryland), or toll-free at 1-800-782-7383, to find out how to reclaim their lost property.

The Comptroller’s Office honored nearly 43,225 claims totaling more than $62 million in Fiscal Year 2016. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has returned more than $585 million in unclaimed property. In total, the agency has more than 1.2 million accounts worth more than $1.5 billion in its Unclaimed Property accounts.

UNCLAIMED PROPERTY ADVERTISING SCHEDULE FOR SPRING 2017

CENTRAL MARYLAND

Carroll County Times (Sunday Choice), May 7
The Capital (Sunday), May 7
Sunday Choice, May 7
Maryland Gazette, May 6
Frederick News Post, May 7
The Baltimore Sun (Sunday) May 7
Baltimore County, May 7
Baltimore City, May 7
Howard County, May 7

EASTERN SHORE

Bay Times, May 3
Dorchester Star, May 5
Kent County News, May 4
Record Observer, May 5
Star Democrat, May 5
The Caroline Times Record, May 3
The Daily Times (Wicomico) May 9-10
The Daily Times Weeklies
Worcester County Times, May 9-10
Somerset Herald, May 9-10
The Ocean Pines Independent, May 9-10
Wicomico Weekly, May 8-10

NORTHEAST MARYLAND

The Aegis, May 5
Cecil Whig, May 3
Dundalk Eagle, May 4
The Avenue, May 4
The Bargaineer, May 5

SOUTHERN MARYLAND

Calvert Recorder, May 3
The Enterprise, May 3
Maryland Independent, May 3

WASHINGTON DC MEDIA

The Washington Post, May 5
Montgomery County, May 5
Prince George’s County, May 5
Charles County, May 5

El Tiempo Latino
Montgomery/Frederick, May 5
Prince George’s/Anne Arundel, May 5

The Sentinel
Montgomery County, May 4
Prince George’s County, May 3 & 10

WESTERN MARYLAND

Cumberland Times-News, May 5
The Herald-Mail, May 7
The Republican, May 4

Media Contacts: Joe Shapiro, 410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (cell)

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

Comptroller Branch Offices in Landover and Upper Marlboro Remain Open

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 8, 2017) – A fire over the weekend at Triangle Center in Greenbelt has not affected branch operations at two existing locations of the Maryland Comptroller’s Office.

The Comptroller Office is slated to move into a new office space within the Greenbelt complex in mid-summer, however, taxpayers may continue to seek assistance at the current Prince George’s County locations in Landover and Upper Marlboro.

Firefighters responded to a fire at 6 p.m. Saturday at Triangle Centre at 6401 Golden Triangle Drive in Greenbelt. The fire was brought under control within a half hour. The Comptroller’s Office is in contact with the property manager to assess the extent of damage and to determine what, if any, effect this will have on the opening of the new office.

In March, the Board of Public Works, made up of Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford who was filling in for Gov. Larry Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Franchot, approved a 10-year lease to make the move possible. The new location will provide more space to serve taxpayers, better signage as well as convenient parking and access to transit lines.

In the meantime, taxpayers may visit the Landover branch office in the Treetops Building at Professional Place at 8181 Professional Place, Suite 101, or the Upper Marlboro Branch in the Prince George’s County Courthouse at 14735 Main St., Room 083B. Branch offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Taxpayers in need of free state tax assistance can continue to call the taxpayer services line from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-MD TAXES, or 410-260-7980.

Media Contact: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office) and 410-212-9414 (cell)

Comptroller Branch Office in Frederick Closed Until Noon

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 2, 2017) – The Comptroller’s Office branch location in Frederick will be closed until noon today due to a power outage that affected the Frederick County Courthouse/Multiservice Center at 100 W. Patrick St. Since the branch office is located within the complex in Room 2603, taxpayers will not be able to access the office until noon. Taxpayers may visit Comptroller offices in Hagerstown and Wheaton, which are open with regular hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Taxpayers in need of free state tax assistance can continue to call the taxpayer services line from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-MD TAXES, or 410-260-7980.

MEDIA CONTACT: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office), 410-212-9414 (cell)

Comptroller Franchot Announces Members of “Reform On Tap” Task Force

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 26, 2017) – Working to modernize Maryland’s beer laws and promote economic growth across the State, Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced the members of the “Reform On Tap” Task Force.

The task force, chaired by Comptroller Franchot and composed of 40 members representing key stakeholder groups within the beer industry, will perform a comprehensive review of the State’s antiquated laws that govern the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of Maryland craft beer.

“Current laws and regulations pose an existential threat to the industry’s future growth in Maryland; and with it, the jobs, economic activity, tax revenue and tourism opportunities generated by this community of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Comptroller Franchot. “In the absence of comprehensive reform, Maryland’s reputation within the national craft brewing industry will continue to suffer and the economies of our neighboring states will benefit at our expense.”

Task force members come from every region of the state and represent both large and small breweries, distributors, restaurants, bars and retailers, consumers, and local and state elected officials.

“I’m grateful to the men and women who have volunteered their time, talents, and energy by serving on this important task force,” Comptroller Franchot added. “The vast majority of the members are business owners who are making meaningful contributions to our state’s economy while giving back to their communities. I look forward to working with each of them over the next several months.”

The first meeting of the “Reform On Tap” Task Force will be May 24 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore City. All meetings and town halls, to be held throughout the spring and summer across the state, are open to the public and the press. Locations and dates of future meetings will be announced soon.

The task force will develop legislative proposals based on extensive review of Maryland’s beer laws and other states’ laws. Additionally, feedback from industry stakeholders and the public will be incorporated, all with the goal of facilitating the growth and success of Maryland’s craft beer industry and other independent businesses.

Marylanders are encouraged to submit comments, questions and feedback to ReformOnTap@comp.state.md.us and follow the “Reform On Tap” Facebook page for updates.

The members of the task force are:

The members of the task force are:
1. The Honorable Peter Franchot, Comptroller of Maryland, Task Force Chairman
2. Mr. Adam Benesch, Co-Founder, Union Craft Brewing, Baltimore
3. Mr. Eric Best, General Manager, Bob Hall LLC, Upper Marlboro
4. Mr. Justin Bonner, Founder and CEO, Jailbreak Brewing Company, Laurel
5. Mr. Chris Brohawn, Co-Owner, Reale Revival (RaR) Brewing, Cambridge
6. Mr. Patrick Brady, CFO, The Fin City Brewing Company, Ocean City
7. Ms. Betty Buck, President, Buck Distributing Co. Inc., Upper Marlboro
8. Mr. Thomas G. Coale, Attorney, Talkin & Oh, LLP, Ellicott City
9. The Honorable Jake Day, Mayor, City of Salisbury
10. Mr. Chuck Ferrar, Owner, Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, Annapolis
11. Mr. Tom Flores, Brewmaster, Monocacy Brewing & Brewer’s Alley, Frederick
12. The Honorable Mike Gill, Secretary, Maryland Department of Commerce (ex-officio)
13. Mr. Mike Haynie, Board Chair, Maryland Tourism Coalition
14. Mr. Neal Katcef, President, Katcef Brothers Inc., Annapolis
15. Mr. John Knorr, Owner, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, Salisbury
16. Ms. Carolyn Marquis, Owner, Chesapeake Brewing Company, Annapolis
17. Mr. E. Randolph Marriner, President and CEO, Manor Hill Brewing, Ellicott City
18. The Honorable John Mautz, Maryland State Delegate, Legislative District 37B (Mid-Shore)
19. Mr. Cory McCagh, Owner, 1812 Brewery, Cumberland
20. Mr. Jack Milani, Owner, Monaghan’s Pub and Legislative Chair, Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association, Woodlawn
21. Ms. Liz Murphy, Beer Writer, Naptown Pint, Annapolis
22. Mr. John (Phil) Muth, Co-Owner, Brookeville Brewing LLC, Brookeville
23. Ms. Carly Ogden, Co-Owner, Attaboy Beer, Frederick
24. Mr. Dick O’Keefe, Owner, Peabody Heights Brewery, Baltimore
25. Mr. Joe Petro, Owner, Hair O’ The Dog Wine & Spirits, Easton
26. Mr. John D. Porcari, President, U.S. Advisory Services, WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff, Cheverly
27. Mr. Phillip D. Rhudy, Co-Owner and Brewer, Independent Brewing Company, Bel Air
28. Mr. Tony Russo, Editor and Writer, ShoreCraftBeer.com
29. The Honorable Johnny Ray Salling, Maryland State Senator, Legislative District 6 (Baltimore County)
30. Mr. Ben Savage, Chief Marketing Officer, Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick
31. Mr. J. Michael Scarborough, Managing Partner, Calvert Brewing Company, Upper Marlboro
32. Ms. Leslie Schaller, Director of Media and Marketing, Bond Distributing Company, Baltimore
33. Mr. Hugh Sisson, Owner, Heavy Seas Brewing Company, Halethorpe
34. Ms. Hilda Staples, Owner, Volt Restaurant Group, Frederick
35. Ms. Beth Swoap, Board of Liquor License Commissioners, Calvert County
36. Ms. Julie Verratti, Co-Founder and Director of Business Development, Denizens Brewing Company, Silver Spring
37. The Honorable Mary Washington, Maryland State Delegate, Legislative District 43 (Baltimore City)
38. The Honorable Steve Weems, Commissioner, Calvert County; Owner, Wemyss Liquors, St. Leonard
39. Mr. Keith Wolcott, Director of Sales, Atlantic Custom Solutions/Brand My Beverage, Baltimore
40. The Honorable Ron Young, Maryland State Senator, Legislative District 3 (Frederick)

 

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

 

Comptroller Reminds Marylanders Only Days to Go Until April 18 Filing Deadline

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 14, 2017) – With the tax-filing deadline set for Tuesday, April 18, Comptroller Peter Franchot encourages taxpayers who have yet to submit their returns to file electronically for faster processing, quicker refunds and extended payment options. This year, taxpayers have three extra days to file; the deadline is April 18 due to the traditional April 15 deadline falling on a Saturday and the observance of Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 17.

“The best way to ensure that you receive a quick refund is to file electronically,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Filing electronically also allows taxpayers who owe money to delay electronic debit payments until April 30.”

To date, more than 1.9 million taxpayers have filed their personal tax returns electronically with more than 190,000 filing via paper. Last year, 3.2 million returns were processed.

The Comptroller urges Marylanders to file electronically to ensure they receive their refund within days as opposed to weeks. So far this tax season, refund payments of more than $1.5 billion have been issued to more than 1.5 million taxpayers.

Comptroller Franchot also asks taxpayers to review their returns carefully before filing, as simple mistakes can significantly slow down the processing of a tax return and issuance of a refund. To ensure an accurate return, taxpayers should remember to:

• Check Social Security numbers.
• Verify bank account (checking/saving) and routing numbers for direct deposit refunds and direct debit payments.
• Double-check calculations, and
• Include all pertinent information including relevant forms and documents, such as the W-2 form.

Although electronic filing is strongly preferred, taxpayers filing paper returns should follow all the tips provided above, as well as remember to:

• Write legibly, or type.
• Use a pen.
• Sign the tax return.

Electronic filing saves the state significant money in processing costs. Each paper return costs the state more than $2 to process, compared to 19 cents for e-filed returns resulting in savings of millions of dollars each year.

Free state tax assistance is available at all of the agency’s 12 taxpayer service offices, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For branch location information, please visit marylandtaxes.com.

The agency’s call center offers extended hours Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. through April 18, returning to normal business hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. thereafter. To check the status of a refund by phone, please call, 1-800-218-8160 or 410-260-7701. Refund status can also be obtained by visiting the agency’s website at marylandtaxes.com.

For more information on electronic filing or any other tax-related matter, please visit the Comptroller’s website or call 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) outside of Central Maryland.

 

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

 

IRS Offers Last-Minute Filing Tips; Use Direct Deposit for Quicker Refunds

ANNAPOLIS (April 12, 2017) — With the April 18 deadline fast approaching, the Internal Revenue Service today offered taxpayers still working on their 2016 taxes a number of tips. These tips are designed to help taxpayers avoid common errors that could delay their refunds or cause other tax problems in the future.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically. Doing so, whether through e-file or IRS Free File, vastly reduces tax return errors, as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. And best of all, there is a free option for everyone. Whether filing electronically or on paper, be sure to keep a copy of your tax return. In addition, the IRS offers these last-minute tips:

Refunds
The best and fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to have it electronically deposited into their bank or other financial account. Taxpayers can use direct deposit to deposit their refund into one, two or even three accounts. See Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, for details.

Make sure the financial institution routing and account numbers entered on the return are accurate. Incorrect numbers can cause a refund to be delayed or deposited into the wrong account. After filing, whether or not direct deposit was chosen, use “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov or download the IRS2Go Mobile App to track the status of a refund.

The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. “Where’s My Refund?” provides the most up-to-date information. The tool is updated once per day, usually overnight, so checking more often will not generate new information. Calling the IRS will not yield different results from those available online, nor will ordering a tax transcript.

Special Instructions for Paper Filers

Math errors and other mistakes are common on paper returns, especially those prepared or filed in haste at the last minute. These tips may help those choosing this option:

• Fill in all requested Taxpayer Identification Numbers, usually Social Security numbers, including all dependents claimed. Check only one filing status and the appropriate exemption boxes.
• When using the tax tables, be sure to use the correct row and column for the filing status claimed and taxable income amount shown.
• Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign.
• Attach all required forms and schedules, such as Schedule A for people who itemize their deductions. In addition, attach to the front of the return all Forms W-2 and other forms reflecting withholding.
• Mail the return to the right address. Check Where to File on IRS.gov or the last page of the tax instructions. If mailing on Tuesday, April 18, be sure to do so early enough to meet the scheduled pick-up time and ensure a postmark before the midnight deadline.

Need More Time to File?

Avoid a late-filing penalty by requesting a tax-filing extension. There are several ways to do so, including through the Free File link on IRS.gov or by designating a payment as an extension payment and making it via one of the IRS electronic payment methods, including IRS Direct Pay. Alternatively, taxpayers can file Form 4868, Application for Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return. While an extension grants additional time to file, it does not extend the time to pay any tax due. April 18 is the deadline for most to pay taxes owed and avoid penalty and interest charges.

Owe Tax?

Taxpayers who owe taxes can use IRS Direct Pay or any of several other electronic payment options. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation of their payment. Or, mail a check or money order payable to the “United States Treasury” along with a Form 1040-V payment voucher. Taxpayers who can’t pay by April 18 often qualify to set up a monthly payment agreement with the IRS using the Online Payment Agreement option on IRS.gov.