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.

 

Comptroller Franchot Announces Formation of Task Force to Examine Maryland’s Alcohol Laws

Craft brewers, consumers, industry stakeholders will help shape legislation that modernizes state’s rules; all meetings and town halls will be open to the public

FREDERICK, Md. (April 11, 2017) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced the creation of a statewide task force that will conduct a comprehensive review of the outdated laws governing Maryland’s alcohol industry.

The announcement of the “Reform On Tap” task force comes just hours after the conclusion of the Maryland General Assembly session that saw passage of legislation (House Bill 1283), which will severely restrict growth of the state’s thriving craft beer industry.

“The events of the 2017 legislative session are further confirmation that Maryland’s beer laws are antiquated, dysfunctional, anti-small business and anti-consumer,” said Comptroller Franchot, who made the announcement during a visit to Attaboy Beer, which opened in January as one of the newest entrants into Frederick’s flourishing craft beer community. “This task force will examine national practices, beer laws of neighboring states, and will study ways we can remove statutory impediments that hurt Maryland’s beer industry.”

Task force members will include craft brewers, consumers and other industry stakeholders. All meetings, which will be held across the state in the coming months, will be open to members of the press and the public. Marylanders will have opportunities to provide input at several town halls being scheduled and consumers are also encouraged to weigh in on the “Reform On Tap” Facebook page.

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

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

Comptroller Franchot Honors TimberRock with Bright Lights Award

Frederick firm lowers energy costs for Maryland businesses

FREDERICK, Md. (April 11, 2017) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today honored TimberRock Advanced Energy with the Bright Lights Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Frederick County. The award was presented at a ceremony at the company’s headquarters in historic downtown Frederick.

“Maryland is home to some of the most innovative and dynamic entrepreneurs in the world, and TimberRock is a shining example of the cutting-edge advancements taking place across our great state,” said Comptroller Franchot. “Following the lead of its founder, Brent Hollenbeck, TimberRock has helped thousands of Marylanders deploy new energy solutions that lower costs while improving sustainability.

The Bright Lights Award recognizes and celebrates innovation in the private and nonprofit sectors that strengthen Maryland’s economy, generate jobs and tax revenue and develop new ideas that more effectively deliver services and products within the marketplace. One winner from each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City will receive the award.

“It is a great honor to receive the Bright Lights Award. At both local and state levels, Maryland has been a leader in the advanced energy economy,” said TimberRock CEO Brent Hollenbeck. “We thank Comptroller Franchot and the State of Maryland for this award, for supporting energy innovation and empowering entrepreneurs throughout Maryland.”

TimberRock Advanced Energy is a next-generation energy services company that operates the Smart Energy Co-Op of Maryland whose mission is to make new energy solutions simple, low-risk and affordable for energy consumers. The Smart Energy Co-Op is a voluntary, free and member-directed organization that leverages the volume of its membership to deliver a comprehensive suite of next-generation energy services more simply, at lower risk and at lower cost than could be achieved independently. Combined, these new energy services can dramatically lower energy costs, significantly increase economic competitiveness and support new job creation. To learn more, visit www.us-seco.io/md.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Shapiro 443-871-2244 (cell), 410-260-7305 (office)

 

Comptroller Franchot Halts Processing Returns from 15 More Private Tax Preparers

Suspicious Filings Prompt Action For Third Time This Tax Season

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 7, 2017) – In his continuing fight to combat tax fraud and identity theft, Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that, effective immediately, he has suspended processing electronic tax returns from 15 private tax preparers throughout the region due to a high volume of questionable returns received. Combined with two previous announcements this tax season, returns from 54 tax preparers have been halted.

“We remain steadfast and committed to protecting the integrity of our tax system,” Comptroller Franchot said. “My Questionable Return Detection Team has been tireless in identifying fraudulent returns that attempt to drain state coffers and fleece Maryland’s hardworking citizens.”

Accounting for businesses removed from last year’s list of suspended tax preparers because they are now in compliance, the active number of suspensions stands at 93 tax preparation firms at 111 locations. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has detected and blocked nearly 76,000 fraudulent tax returns worth more than $174.2 million.

The new preparers or businesses notified of the action are:

• Valentine Tax, 328 Jefferson Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216
• Hitchye Tax & Business Cons Svc, 6350 Frederick Road, Suite C, Catonsville, MD 21228
• Security Tax & Accounting Srv LLC, 1724 Woodlawn Drive, Suite 12, Baltimore MD 21207
• Dieudonne Sossoukpe, 18825 Sparkling Water Drive K, Germantown, MD 20874
• Tax Relief, 5601 McClean Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21214
• Abayomi Olobatuyi, 3310 Shrewsbury Road, Abingdon, MD 21009
• Dem Tax and Accounting Services, 2200 Predella Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20902
• Eze Tax Service LLC, 3601 Hamilton St., Hyattsville, MD 20782
• Global Alliance Solution LLC, 21304 China Aster Court, Germantown, MD 20876
• ARPL Tax Services and More, 6737 Edwards Ave., Windsor Mill, MD 21244
• Metrotax Services, 2443 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20910

• Holmes Tax Services, 6495 New Hampshire Ave., Suite 120, Hyattsville, MD 20783
• STES Tax Service, 5510 Cherrywood Lane, Greenbelt, MD 20770
• On-Site Tax Services, 1629 E. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21231
• Alleluia Income Tax Service, 1055 Taylor Ave., Suite 212, Towson, MD 21286

Pursuant to his agency’s Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Internal Revenue Service, Comptroller Franchot has shared this information with other tax agencies. The Comptroller’s Office also has advised the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation of the decision, so that they can take any additional appropriate actions.

The suspicious characteristics detected on the tax returns prompting the determination included:

* Business income reported when taxpayers did not own a business.
* Refund amounts requested much higher than previous year tax returns.
* Inflated and/or undocumented business expenses.
* Dependents claimed when taxpayer did not provide required 50 percent support or care.
* Inflated wages and withholding information.

Taxpayers should carefully review their returns for these issues and should be suspicious if a tax preparer deducts fees from their refund, does not sign their tax return, or fails to include their preparer taxpayer identification number “PTIN” on the return. In the event that a taxpayer suspects fraud, they are asked to immediately report the issue to the Comptroller’s Office by calling 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or by emailing TAXHELP@comp.state.md.us.

Below is a list of the tax preparers the Comptroller’s Office has already blocked:

Anne Arundel County
Rightway Financial Services LLC, 3363 Sudlersville South, Laurel, MD 20724

Baltimore (City)
A Year Round Tax Service Inc., 5820 York Road, Ste. T200, Baltimore, MD 21212
AO Tax Services, 2307 E. Monument St.
AO Tax Services, 3231 Belair Road
A&E Tax Services, 5013 Frederick Ave., Baltimore, MD 21229
B and B Tax Service, 4707 Harford Road
DE Brown, 36 E 25th St.
EB Tax Service, 2322 Monument St.
EB Tax Service, 1818 Pennsylvania Ave.
Eltonia Tax & Contract Service LLC, 8058 Philadelphia Road, Baltimore, MD 21237
EMACK Tax Service, 123 W. Saratoga St.
Express Tax Inc., 5501 York, Road, Baltimore, MD 21212
First Rate Tax Service, 28 Henley Ct., Baltimore, MD 21244
Hartley Financial Enterprises LLC, 4602 Hampnett Ave.
HRQT LLC, 2136 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21218
Liberty Tax Service, 3308 Greenmount Ave.
Liberty Tax Service, 503 W. Lexington St.
Liberty Tax Service, 2401 Liberty Heights Ave.
Liberty Tax Service, 1742 W. North Ave.
Liberty Tax Service, 1808 Pennsylvania Ave.
Liberty Tax Service, 2039 W. Pratt St.
Loyalty Tax Services, 4602A Harford Road
Office Tax Solutions, 2230 E. Monument St.
Office Tax Solutions, 1439 W. Patapsco Road
OSE Tax Services, 5006 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214
People Tax Service (aka Neighborhood Tax Services), 3219 Belair Road
Precise Financial, 8601 Harford Road, Ste. B, Baltimore, MD 21234.
PROTAXEM, 3104 N. Greenmount SVE, Baltimore, MD 21218
Quick Tax Service, 1809 1/2 Pennsylvania Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217
Quick Tax, 2401 Liberty Heights Road, Baltimore, MD 21215
Quick Money Tax Service, 6628 Harford Road, 2nd floor Baltimore, MD 21214
Tax Rite Services, 3406 Belair Road
Fachel Tax Service, 6331 Belair Road, Baltimore
Samuel Tax Services, 1005 North Point Blvd., Ste. 728, Baltimore, MD 21224
TA Income Tax Service, 4833 Belair Road, Baltimore
Tax Maid, 2558 Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223
JMD Tax Service, 2700 W. Franklin St., Baltimore
Marcjeze Tax Services, 5864 B Belair Road, Baltimore
Bodmars Tax Service, 4903 Belair Road, Baltimore
MK Tax Services and Investment LLC, 1031 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore
Neighborhood Tax Services, also known as Royal Auto Sales N Neighborhood Tax or People Tax Services at 3219 Belair Road, Baltimore and 3226 Belair Road, Ste. A, Baltimore
Chimex Tax Service, 2654 Maryland Ave., Baltimore
Jovan LLC, 5225 Harford Road, Baltimore
Taxcare , 6711 Belair Rd, Ste. B , Baltimore MD 21206

Baltimore County
Monique’s Taxprep Services LLC, 4342 Tucker Circle, Halethorpe, MD 21227
Liberty Tax Service, 435 C Eastern Blvd., Essex
Liberty Tax Service, 201 Back River Neck Road, Middle River
Patricia’s Bookkeeping and Accounting, 227 Mysticwood Road, Reisterstown, MD 21136
Quality Tax Service, 6 Woodstream Court, Owings Mills, MD 21117
Robinson Tax and Bookkeeping SRV, 4812 Liberty Heights Ave., Gwynn Oak, MD 21207
REMG Inc., 8715 Windsor Mill Road, Windsor Mill
Tax Plus, 727 Northrop Lane, Middle River, MD 21220
Tax Rite Services, 90 Shawgo Court, Middle River
Phenomenal Tax Service Corp., 1055 Ingleside Ave, Ste. 100, Baltimore
Swift Pro Tax Service, 10 Pine Cone Court, Nottingham

District of Columbia
BKPR Management, 110 Q St., Washington, DC 20001
Taxtime LLC/Speedy Tax Service,1002 H St., NE Washington DC 20002
Fred Accounting & Tax Services, 760 Morton St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Swift Tax Service, 1012 H St. NE, Washington, DC, and 3905 Benning Road NE, Washington, DC
OFAB LLC, 3938 Minnesota Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20019

Montgomery County
Integrated Multi Services, 1620 Elton Road, Ste. 204, Silver Spring, MD 20903
Japrhispanic LLC, 8626 Flower Ave. 1, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Liberty Tax Service, 11262 Georgia Ave., Wheaton
Marylis LLC, 113 Ellington Blvd., Apt. 421, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Max Tax Service, 1019 University Blvd., Ste. 102, Silver Spring, MD 20903
Money Back Tax LLC, 11120 New Hampshire Ave., Ste. 506, Silver Spring, MD 20904
One Vision First (OVF) Consulting LLC, 8120 Fenton St., Suite 301b, Silver Spring, MD
Broadview Advisors and Co., Inc., 8757 Georgia Ave, Ste. 440, Silver Spring
Tax4All LLC, 6507 New Hampshire Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912

Prince George’s County
ALR Tax and Financial Services LLC, 76 Ritchie Road, Capitol Heights, MD 20743
ICS Tax & Accounting Service , 8855 Annapolis Rd., Ste. 205, Lanham, MD 20703
Deldan Tax and Accounting Services, 9208 Fairlane Place, Laurel
Tax Relief Solution, 13042 Old Stagecoach Road, Laurel
KLS Tax Services, 18431 Shanna Drive, Accokeek, MD 20607
Liberty Tax Service, 8020 New Hampshire Ave., Langley Park
Liberty Tax Service, 5436 Marlboro Pike, District Heights, MD 20747
Irene’s Taxes, 4610 Winterberry Lane, Oxon Hill
Griffin Financial, 1424 Colony Road, Oxon Hill
J & J Tax Service, 17205 Summerwood Lane, Accokeek
Tax Central USA, 5515 Livingston Road, Ste. 200, Forest Heights
The Tax Store 101 LLC, 1508 Kingshill St., Bowie
Taxpoint Solutions,1401 Mercantile Ln, Ste. 383, Upper Marlboro MD 20774
Vasquez Tax Services, 2340 University Ave., Hyattsville, MD 20783

Wicomico County
MD Tax Solution and Multi Services, 212 E. Main St., Ste. 208, Salisbury, MD 21801

Worcester County
Charles Multi Services, 216 Carson Court, Pocomoke City

Out-of-State
Evaniel Francois, 2124 Airport Road, Ste. 109, Naples, FL 34112
Eskindes Accounting and Tax LLC, 3379 Highway 5, Ste. K, Douglasville, GA 30135
JAE Establishments LLC, 3803 Gettysburg Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011
MSM DBA PTS Tax Service, 6790 W. Broad St., Douglasville, GA 30134
Sky Tax Service, 5981 Columbia Pike, Ste. 202, Falls Church, VA 22041
Trinity Supermarket Inc.,105 E. Pollock St., Mount Olive, NC 28365
United Tax Pro, 6969 Richmond Hwy, Ste. 204, Alexandria, VA 22306
Verita’s Efile Service Inc., 3 Centerview Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407, and 5720 Alameda, Baltimore, MD 21239

If taxpayers want to check to see if the Comptroller’s Office is processing returns from a particular tax preparer, or on their status for a previously filed claim, they are asked to contact the Maryland Comptroller’s Office Ombudsman at 410-260-4020 or email at ombudsman@comp.state.md.us.

If taxpayers suspect fraud, they are asked to immediately report the issue to the Comptroller’s Questionable Return Detection Team at QRDT@comp.state.md.us.

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

IRS: Private Collection of Some Overdue Federal Taxes Starts in April; Those Affected Will Hear First From IRS

IRS Will Handle Most Tax Debts; Taxpayers Advised to Watch Out for Scam Calls

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 5, 2017) – Starting this month, the Internal Revenue Service will begin sending letters to a relatively small group of taxpayers whose overdue federal tax accounts are being assigned to one of four private-sector collection agencies.

The new program, authorized under a federal law enacted by Congress in December 2015, enables these designated contractors to collect, on the government’s behalf, unpaid tax debts. Usually, these are unpaid individual tax obligations that are not currently being worked by IRS collection employees and often were assessed by the tax agency several years ago.

Taxpayers being assigned to a private firm would have had multiple contacts from the IRS in previous years and still have an unpaid tax bill.

“The IRS is taking steps throughout this effort to ensure that the private collection firms work responsibly and respect taxpayer rights,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS also urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers who might use this program as a cover to trick people. In reality, those taxpayers whose accounts are assigned as part of the private collection effort know they have a tax debt.”

The program will begin this week with a few hundred taxpayers receiving mailings and subsequent phone calls, with the program growing to thousands a week later in the spring and summer. Taxpayers with overdue taxes will always receive multiple contacts, letters and phone calls, first from the IRS, not private debt collectors.

The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their account to a private collection agency (PCA). First, the IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and their tax representative informing them that their account is being assigned to a PCA and giving the name and contact information for the PCA. This mailing will include a copy of Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency.

Only four private groups are participating in this program: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, N.Y.; Performant of Livermore, Calif.; and Pioneer of Horseheads, N.Y. The taxpayer’s account will only be assigned to one of these agencies, never to all four. No other private group is authorized to represent the IRS.

Once the IRS letter is sent, the designated private firm will send its own letter to the taxpayer and their representative confirming the account transfer. To protect the taxpayer’s privacy and security, both the IRS letter and the collection firm’s letter will contain information that will help taxpayers identify the tax amount owed and assure taxpayers that future collection agency calls they may receive are legitimate.

The private collectors will be able to identify themselves as contractors of the IRS collecting taxes. Employees of these collection agencies must follow the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and like IRS employees, must be courteous and must respect taxpayer rights.

The private firms are authorized to discuss payment options, including setting up payment agreements with taxpayers. But as with cases assigned to IRS employees, any tax payment must be made, either electronically or by check, to the IRS. A payment should never be sent to the private firm or anyone besides the IRS or the U.S. Treasury. Checks should only be made payable to the United States Treasury. To find out more about available payment options, visit IRS.gov/Payments.

Private firms are not authorized to take enforcement actions against taxpayers. Only IRS employees can take these actions, such as filing a notice of Federal Tax Lien or issuing a levy. To learn more about the new private debt collection program, visit the Private Debt Collection page on IRS.gov.

The IRS reminds taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers posing as private collection firms. The IRS will be watching for these schemes as the collection program begins, and this effort will include working with partners in the tax community and law enforcement about emerging scams.

People should remember that these private collection firms will only be calling about a tax debt the person has had – and has been aware of – for years and had been contacted about previously in the past by the IRS.

“Here’s a simple rule to keep in mind. You won’t get a call from a private collection firm unless you have unpaid tax debts going back several years and you’ve already heard from the IRS multiple times,” Koskinen said. “The people included in the private collection program typically already know they have a tax issue. If you get a call from someone saying they’re from one of these groups and you’ve paid your taxes, that’s a sure sign of a scam.”

For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov.

 

IRS: Keep in Mind These Basic Tax Tips for the Sharing Economy

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 30, 2017) — If taxpayers use one of the many online platforms to rent a spare bedroom, provide car rides or a number of other goods or services, they may be involved in the sharing economy. The IRS now offers a Sharing Economy Tax Center. This site helps taxpayers find the resources they need to help them meet their tax obligations.

Here are a few key points on the sharing economy:

1. Taxes. Sharing economy activity is generally taxable. It does not matter whether it is only part time or a sideline business, if payments are in cash or if an information return like a Form 1099 or Form W2 is issued. The activity is taxable.

2. Deductions. There are some simplified options available for deducting many business expenses for those who qualify. For example, a taxpayer who uses his or her car for business often qualifies to claim the standard mileage rate, which was 54 cents per mile for 2016.

3. Rentals. If a taxpayer rents out his home, apartment or other dwelling but also lives in it during the year, special rules generally apply. For more about these rules, see Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes). Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant Tool, Is My Residential Rental Income Taxable and/or Are My Expenses Deductible? to determine if their residential rental income is taxable.

4. Estimated Payments. The U.S. tax system is pay-as-you-go. This means that taxpayers involved in the sharing economy often need to make estimated tax payments during the year to cover their tax obligation. These payments are due on April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15. Use Form 1040-ES to figure these payments.

5. Payment Options. The fastest and easiest way to make estimated tax payments is through IRS Direct Pay. Or use the Treasury Department’s Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). 98005

6. Withholding. Taxpayers involved in the sharing economy who are employees at another job can often avoid making estimated tax payments by having more tax withheld from their paychecks. File Form W-4 with the employer to request additional withholding. Use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov.

Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

For more information, please visit IRS.gov.

 

Testimony of Comptroller Franchot on House Bill 1283

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Wednesday, March 29, 2017) – With the goal of supporting and protecting Maryland’s thriving craft brewing industry, Comptroller Peter Franchot today testified against House Bill 1283 (Alcoholic Beverages – Class 5 Brewery License) before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. Below is his submitted testimony:

“Chairwoman Conway, Vice Chairman Pinsky, and members of the Committee, I’m proud to join breweries across our state to express my strong opposition to House Bill 1283 – Alcoholic Beverages – Class 5 Brewery License as passed by the House of Delegates.

“The existing version of House Bill 1283 would jeopardize the future Maryland’s thriving craft brewing industry. The legislation that the House unanimously adopted is bad for business and bad for our state’s economy. This bill discourages innovation, collaboration, and expansion in an industry that continues to grow despite current regulations that are more restrictive than the laws of every other state in the Union.

“Instead of lifting unnecessary restrictions and supporting our breweries, House Bill 1283 creates roadblocks that will not only result in a considerable decline in economic activity, but will also make the process more difficult for starting a new craft brewery in Maryland. I am deeply concerned and remain vehemently opposed to three key provisions that severely impact our craft breweries.

“First, the legislation establishes hours of operations that would severely limit breweries’ ability to showcase and sell their products to Maryland consumers. Currently, Class 5 license holders who possess an on-premise consumption permit can operate until midnight or 2 a.m., depending on the permit holder’s jurisdiction. This legislation establishes a statewide limit on the hours of operation, reducing breweries’ taproom hours to 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Friday through Saturday.

“While Maryland craft beer products are widely available at local independent retailers, many consumers are understandably interested in visiting brewery taprooms. The vast majority of brewery taprooms across our state experience high foot traffic especially in the afternoons and evenings, and reducing hours of operation would drastically impact their ability to grow their brand and attract new customers. This provision is a step in the wrong direction and could potentially result in both staff layoffs and negatively impact brewery revenues.

“Second, the current version of House Bill 1283 imposes heavy restrictions on the types of beer that a brewery can sell in its taproom. In essence, this would effectively end the collaborative relationships that many breweries share by only permitting a brewery to sell products that are fermented and brewed on premises. For example, Peabody Heights in Baltimore – a large incubator for small startups that brew and sell off-site brands in its taproom – would be unable to continue to support start-up brewers who want to join our state’s growing brewery community.

“For many years, our brewers have joined forces to produce special beers that not only attract consumers from across the state and around the country, but to support our communities and philanthropic causes. Last September, four local breweries – Key Brewing Co., Monument City Brewing Co., Brewer’s Art, and White Marsh Brewers’ Co. – collaborated and brewed a special beer – Ryelief – to support the relief efforts after the devastating floods in Ellicott City and the Baltimore region. In addition, Jailbreak Brewing Co. and Flying Dog Co. jointly brewed the Watershed Moment Belgian IPA, whose proceeds went toward the Ellicott City Partnership.

“What’s more, these strong partnerships between our brewers directly help our retailers and wholesalers, by increasing variety and interest in Maryland beer. A beer enthusiast from Western Maryland who visits a Baltimore-based tasting room and becomes a fan of their products will most likely purchase those products at a local independent retailer. Simply put, a rising tide lifts all boats – and we need to continue to support, not hinder, the relationships that have been built and fortified by our brewers.

“Lastly, the provisions that were added to increase the production cap from 500 barrels to 2,000 barrels are also a cause of great concern. Under the current version of the bill, brewers who exceed the 2,000-barrel production cap to sell the products in their taprooms would essentially be required to buy back the beer they’ve sold to distributors. Burdensome regulations such as this are precisely the reason why so many Marylanders – and Americans across our nation – have lost faith in their government and those that represent them. By requiring brewers to take this extra, unnecessary, and costly step, the State is erecting yet another roadblock for our businesses to function efficiently and successfully.

“The passage of this legislation would effectively end the innovative and collaborative spirit that is flourishing in the Maryland beer community, and no one – not the brewer, not the consumer, and not our state – will benefit.

“As Maryland’s chief fiscal officer and its alcohol regulator, I am cognizant and appreciative of the vital role that our breweries play in our communities and our state’s economy. As this Committee is well-aware, the beer industry is pivotal in our state and local economies – directly supporting more than 14,000 brewing, distributing, and retail jobs and generating more than $150 million in state and local revenue.

“Our state is proud to be home to some of the best breweries in the country, and this industry continues to grow at a rapid pace every year. As policymakers, we must work to ensure their continued success and growth and identify even more ways to make it easier for aspiring brewers to do business in Maryland.

“For these reasons, I respectfully request an unfavorable report on House Bill 1283.”

Media contact: Joe Shapiro, Director of Communications, 443-871-2244 (cell), 410-260-7305 (office)

 

Ten Tax-Time IRS Tips to Consider

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 28, 2017) –The tax filing deadline is Tuesday, April 18, this year. This is because April 15 falls on a weekend and the following Monday is a holiday in the District of Columbia. Even with an extra three days, the IRS urges taxpayers to avoid waiting until the last minute to file their taxes.

For those who have yet to file, the IRS has 10 quick ideas to help:

1. Gather Records. Good recordkeeping is important. It helps to ensure that nothing gets overlooked. Records such as receipts and cancelled checks also provide expense documentation.

2. Use IRS Online Tools. The IRS has many useful online tools. The Interactive Tax Assistant tool provides answers to many tax questions. It gives the same answers that an IRS representative would give over the phone.

3. File Electronically. Most taxpayers file electronically these days. It offers ease and convenience. The tax software guides people through the entire process. There are no forms to fill out. Electronic filing is also a more accurate way to file.

4. Use IRS Free File. Free File is available only on IRS.gov. Taxpayers earning $64,000 or less last year can use free name-brand tax software to file a federal tax return. Free File Fillable Forms, an electronic version of IRS paper forms, is available for those who earned more than $64,000. People can use Free File to get an automatic six-month extension to file. An extension to file a tax return, however, is not an extension to pay any taxes owed. April 18 is still the deadline for any taxes owed.

Taxpayers can now use their cell phone or tablet to prepare and e-file a federal tax return through IRS Free File. Access Free File two ways: Use the IRS app, IRS2Go, which has a link to the Free File Software Lookup Tool, or use the device’s browser to go to www.IRS.gov/freefile and select the “Free File Software Lookup Tool” or “Start Free File Now” to find the software product desired. The IRS2Go app is available for Android and iOS devices.

5. Report All Income. Taxpayers must report all of their income from Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and Forms 1099. Other income may be reportable as well, even if the taxpayer does not receive a statement.

6. Choose Direct Deposit. The fastest and safest way to a refund is to file electronically and choose Direct Deposit. The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days.

7. Visit IRS.gov. IRS.gov is an excellent resource. Taxpayers can click on the “Filing” icon for links to filing tips, answers to frequently asked questions and IRS forms and publications. The IRS Services Guide outlines the many ways to get help on IRS.gov.

8. Explore Filing Options. Taxpayers have many options to file. Self-prepare or use a tax preparer. Millions are eligible for free help from a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly site. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers provides information on tax professionals including their qualifications and credentials. IRS tools are available 24/7.

9. Check out IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, is a complete tax resource. This 300-page guide is available as an eBook as well.

10. Avoid Errors. Taxpayers should take extra time to review their return to file accurately the first time. Mistakes slow down refunds. IRS e-file is the most accurate way to file as using it eliminates many common errors. Paper return filers should check all names, Social Security numbers and sign the tax return.

Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.