Franchot Suspends Processing Returns from 16 More Liberty Tax Franchises, Four Other Tax Prep Sites

New Locations Added Amid Comptroller’s Investigation of Questionable Filings

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (February 2, 2016) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that, effective immediately, he has suspended processing electronic and paper tax returns from 16 additional Liberty Tax Service franchise locations and three other private preparers at four locations due to a high volume of questionable returns received. On the heels of last week’s announcement to stop processing returns from seven Baltimore-area Liberty Tax Service franchises, the Comptroller’s Office has halted processing returns from 16 additional locations of the tax preparation businesses. They are:

• 11262 Georgia Ave., Wheaton
• 200 N. Highland Ave., Baltimore
• 201 Back River Neck Road, Middle River
• 2039 W. Pratt St., Baltimore
• 2201 N. Charles St., Baltimore
• 2927 Emmorton Road, Abingdon
• 312 S. Broadway, Baltimore
• 3343 Belair Road, Baltimore
• 3414 Eastern Ave., Baltimore
• 3427 Dundalk Ave., Dundalk
• 435 C Eastern Blvd., Essex
• 4422 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore
• 6518 B Reisterstown Road, Baltimore
• 7305 York Road, Towson
• 7565 Ritchie Highway, Glen Burnie
• 8020 New Hampshire Ave., Langley Park

The seven Liberty Tax Service locations in which tax processing remains suspended include:

• 7730 Wise Ave., Dundalk
• 2400 E. Monument St., Baltimore
• 1742 W. North Ave., Baltimore
• 2401 Liberty Heights Ave., Baltimore
• 1818 Pennyslvania Ave., Baltimore
• 3308 Greenmount Ave., Baltimore
• 503 W. Lexington St., Baltimore

In addition, three private preparers at four different locations have been added to the list of suspended processing sites due to exceedingly high volumes of suspicious tax filings:

• EB Tax Services, 1809 Pennsylvania Ave. & 2322 Monument St., Baltimore
• B & B Tax Services, 4707 Harford Road, Ste. B, Baltimore
• DE Brown, 36 E 25th St., Baltimore.

Comptroller Franchot, pursuant to the recently signed IRS Security Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”), 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 action, so that they can take any additional appropriate actions.

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.
The Comptroller’s Office is continuing its investigation of all Liberty Tax Service franchise locations and other independent tax preparers in the State of Maryland and will notify the public of any additional actions taken as a result. Taxpayers should carefully review their returns for these issues and should be suspicious if a preparer: deducts fees from the taxpayer’s refund to be deposited into the tax preparer’s account; does not sign the tax return; or fails to include the Preparer Taxpayer Identification number “P-TIN” on the return.

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.

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