Comptroller’s Office Offers Guidance to Taxpayers Affected by Vendor Software Outage

Agency stands ready to assist filers

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 15, 2019) -  The Comptroller of Maryland is offering guidance and assistance to corporate taxpayers affected by a recent software outage by tax service vendor Wolters Kluwers CCH.

Comptroller Peter Franchot encourages these taxpayers facing today’s deadline to file on time, if possible. However, if they cannot file on time, these taxpayers are encouraged to file for an extension. Potential tax returns affected by this include Forms 500, 510, and 504 for some fiscal year filers.

“My office will strive to assist this group of taxpayers, who through no fault of their own, were affected by the software outage involving CCH,” Comptroller Franchot said. “I encourage these filers to file on time, however, if that isn’t possible, my agency stands ready to help with the necessary extension and other options.”

Extension forms 500E, 510E, and 504E are available on the Comptroller’s website at www.marylandtaxes.gov.

If no tax is due with the extension request, you may file the extension request at www.marylandtaxes.gov or call 410-260-7829 from Central Maryland or 1-800-260-3664 from elsewhere to telefile the return.

If a taxpayer wishes to request an abatement of interest or penalty incurred due to a delay in filing related to the CCH software outage, they may submit a request for abatement as a statement included with the return.  The statement should include the phrase “Late filed return due to CCH Software Outage.”

If a return already was filed without an adjustment request, but incurred interest or penalty due to a delay in filing related to the CCH software outage, a taxpayer may submit a request for abatement in writing to Taxpayer Accounting at the following address: Comptroller of Maryland, 110 Carroll St., Attn: Taxpayer Accounting, Annapolis, MD 21401.

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

Comptroller Peter Franchot and “Twin” Brother Pierre Team Up To Find Unclaimed Property

Marylanders should search the database to see if they are owed money

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 6, 2019) - Comptroller Peter Franchot has teamed up with his previously unknown “twin” brother, Pierre, to help reunite Marylanders with their unclaimed property.

Based on the popular HGTV series “Property Brothers,” starring twin brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott, the Comptroller’s annual promotional video features Peter, a local home remodeler, and his “twin” brother, Pierre, an area real estate agent. In this episode of “Unclaimed Property Brothers,” the pair discover a lost bank statement at one of their projects and attempt to find the rightful owner.

This year’s Unclaimed Property inserts, which will run in more than 30 newspapers throughout the state, lists 69,039 accounts worth more than $59 million. Individuals and businesses can also search the online Unclaimed Property database.

In total, the agency has more than 1.3 million accounts worth more than $1.6 billion in its Unclaimed Property accounts.

In Fiscal Year 2018, the Comptroller’s Office honored nearly 43,883 claims totaling more than $68 million. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has returned more than $700 million in unclaimed property to the rightful owners.

The Unclaimed Property list is full of possessions and financial payoffs that banks, insurance companies and financial institutions were unable to return to their owners. Any of the property that goes unclaimed is eventually handed over to the State.

The Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property division will help Marylanders find the items among the old bank accounts, stocks and bonds, security deposits, jewelry, insurance benefits, collectibles, valuable documents and other contents of safe deposit boxes.

The Comptroller appears on the cover of the 176-page insert that will appear in newspapers this month. The annual Unclaimed Property video is a complementary effort to draw attention to the campaign. In previous years, he has appeared as “Sheriff Franchot,” “Sherlock Franchot” and “The Most Interesting Man in Maryland.”

Along with the Unclaimed Property insert, 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.

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 physical property that isn’t monetary, the items are appraised and then auctioned off on eBay, as required by state law. The proceeds are held for the owner in perpetuity. Funds are available to be claimed at any time with no statute of limitations and in most cases are not subject to taxes. Since the eBay program started in July 2006, the Comptroller’s Office has sold 8,744 items, appraised at $2.1 million, but the items actually sold resulted in $2.4 million for owners’ accounts.

The Comptroller urges anyone who locates their name or that of a family member on the list to contact the office at 410-767-1700 (Central Maryland) or toll-free at 1-800-782-7383 or by email at unclaim@comp.state.md.us to find out how to reclaim their lost property.

This year’s video is also available captioned in Spanish. Display graphics are available in English in color and black-and-white, as well as Spanish in color and black-and-white.

The Comptroller’s Office appreciates the assistance of Severn Bankcorp, Hyatt Commercial, Spire Architecture, and Annapolis On the Level Home Improvement and Maintenance in the production of the video.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Susan O’Brien -  sobrien@comp.state.md.us
                                        410-260-7305 (office); 443-875-8540 (mobile)

Franchot to Celebrate Small Business Appreciation Week May 5-11

Comptroller will visit and honor businesses in Salisbury, Baltimore, Towson, Annapolis and Waldorf

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 3, 2019) - Comptroller Peter Franchot will visit small businesses throughout Maryland next week in recognition of Small Business Appreciation Week, which runs from May 5-11.

“From Oakland to Ocean City, small businesses are the beating heart of our state’s economy,” said Comptroller Franchot. “These companies create jobs, provide necessary services, invest in local communities, drive innovation and generate tax revenues that help fund our schools, roads, law enforcement and so much more.”

For more than 50 years, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

“As everyone knows, small businesses are the backbone of the economy,” said Mike O’Halloran, state director for NFIB-Maryland, the state’s largest small business advocacy group. “Here in Maryland, our small business owners serve their customers in every way possible. From family farms selling their produce at the local farmer’s market to auto shops getting your car back on the road, small businesses keep Maryland’s economy going. This week, be sure to pay your local shopkeepers a visit during Small Business Appreciation Week.”

The Comptroller often visits small businesses in his travels throughout Maryland to recognize the entrepreneurs who risk their life savings and make major sacrifices to run their own businesses.

During Small Business Appreciation Week, Mr. Franchot will visit and present proclamations at each of the following businesses:

  • Monday, May 6, 2:30 p.m. — The Irish Penny Pub & Grill, 1014 S. Salisbury Blvd., Salisbury, MD 21801
  • Tuesday, May 7,  2:30 p.m. — Baltimore Bicycle Works, 1813 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21201
  • Wednesday, May 8, 5:15 p.m. — Ayd Hardware, 6801 York Rd., Baltimore, MD 21212
  • Thursday, May 9, 10:45 a.m. — The Annapolis Pottery, 40 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401
  • Friday, May 10, 4:30 p.m. — Beacon Surplus, 3256 Leonardtown Rd., Waldorf, MD 20601

Additionally, the Comptroller will attend the Maryland Craft Beer Festival in Frederick on Saturday, May 11, which features more than 40 breweries representing every region of Maryland.

More information about each of these visits will be provided in separate media advisories.

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

 

Comptroller Franchot Warns BGE Customers About Phone Scam

Field Enforcement Division investigating phony threats of utility shut-off if money is not paid

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 25, 2019) - Comptroller Peter Franchot is warning Marylanders about a phone scam made to Baltimore Gas & Electric customers threatening to cut off utility service if money is not paid.

“These crooks are stoking fear with automated phone calls that sound legitimate, and trying to intimidate recipients into sending money they do not owe,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Do not fall for it. Agents in our Field Enforcement Division are investigating the source of the calls. Customers should remain vigilant and always double-check whether the calls are authentic.”

On Monday, the Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property Section received an influx of phone calls from BGE customers reporting that they had received scam calls threatening to shut off their power if they did not return a call within 30 minutes. Customers were told to send money via fund transfer services to avoid their power being cut.

The automated calls provided an 800 number to call back, but residents’ caller ID indicated it was placed from 410-767-1700, which is the Unclaimed Property Section’s main number. Over a two-day period, the unit received more than 300 calls in reference to the scam.

This type of scam uses “spoofing technology” in an attempt to trick victims that the call is coming from a legitimate source. Anyone who has received such a call should contact BGE at 1-800-685-0123 or consult their website for more information.

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

Comptroller Issues Statement on Veto of HB 1052

Franchot available for media interviews on costly, reckless, disruptive legislation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 27, 2019) - Comptroller Peter Franchot today issued the following statement in response to Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of House Bill 1052, which would create a new commission, led by political appointees and at great expense to Maryland taxpayers, to replace the nationally-renowned Field Enforcement Division that has been housed in the Office of the Comptroller for decades.

Comptroller Franchot is available for additional comment. Interested media should contact Communications Director Susan O’Brien at 443-875-8540 or Press Secretary Alan Brody at 443-924-1473 to arrange an interview.

Following is the Comptroller’s statement:

“I commend Governor Hogan for vetoing this unnecessary, reckless and tremendously expensive bill that would put the regulation of alcohol and tobacco in the control of a politically-appointed board that is unaccountable to Marylanders.

“In light of the outrageous improprieties of several University of Maryland Medical System board members, it’s especially brazen and irresponsible for leaders of the General Assembly to use the legislative process to carry out political vendettas that lessens oversight and enables special interests to handpick their regulator. Now more than ever, legislative leaders need to take steps to restore faith and trust in our government, and this bill flies directly in the face of efforts to make government more transparent.

“This bill achieves no public good and serves only to punish me for my unwavering efforts to support Maryland craft breweries. It recklessly disrupts the outstanding public service long provided by the men and women of our Field Enforcement Division, who have been universally praised for their hard work and dedication. The uncertainty of this new commission’s function creates a climate ripe for potential malfeasance. If the veto is overridden, nearly $50 million of taxpayer money will be spent on the upheaval of dozens of state employees who are unfairly being used as political pawns.

“This veto must be sustained. Members of the Senate and House of Delegates should use this opportunity to focus on making government more accountable, not less, to the citizens we serve. Not only is this bill’s price tag too steep, but the cost of further eroding the public’s trust is too high a price to pay.”

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

Protecting Taxpayers: Comptroller Franchot Blocks Returns From Two Dozen Suspicious Tax Preparers

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 11, 2019) – As part of his continued efforts to combat tax fraud and identity theft, Comptroller Peter Franchot announces today that the agency has stopped processing electronic tax returns from 24 tax preparers at locations in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. The immediate suspensions were due to a high volume of questionable returns received. During the 2018 tax filing season, 74 tax preparers at 78 locations were flagged. Since Calendar Year 2016, 215 tax preparation firms at 228 locations have been suspended due to highly-suspicious tax returns. The complete list of previously blocked preparers is available online at www.marylandtaxes.gov .

“Our Questionable Returns Detection Team vigilantly monitors tax filings and is constantly keeping a watchful eye for unscrupulous preparers who submit false returns, causing financial harm to individual filers and their families and to the State of Maryland’s coffers. Blocking these swindlers and protecting hardworking Maryland taxpayers is the agency’s top priority each tax season,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot.

The Comptroller’s nationally recognized fraud unit uses state-of-the-art technology that detects suspicious returns. The unit then issues notifications to the identified fraudulent preparers. The agency refers the list of tax preparers to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, which will prioritize the cases to be prosecuted  after thorough investigations by agents with the Comptroller’s Field Enforcement Division. A review process provides an opportunity for blocked preparers to have their filing privileges restored.

The tax preparers and locations blocked from filing returns through this action are:

  • CB2 Consulting LLC, 10410 Kensington Pkwy., Ste. 309, Kensington, MD 20895
  • Innovative Business Accounting & Taxation Services LLC, 7029 Oak Grove Way, Elkridge, MD 21075
  • Square & Eagle Group, 2100 McMahon Road, Unit 2122, Silver Spring, MD 20902
  • Kang Solutions LLC, 6475 New Hampshire Ave., Ste. 504K, Hyattsville, MD 20783
  • Albert Nsiah, 7104 Hanover Parkway D2, Greenbelt, MD 20770
  • DonNeshia Tax Service, 6508 Asset Drive, Landover, MD 20785
  • Sheila’s Tax Service, 7400 Greeley Road, Landover, MD 20785
  • SW Accounting Associates, 1726 D Street, NE, 1st Floor, Washington DC 20002
  • CPG & Associates LLC, 5206 Grunion Place, Waldorf MD 20603
  • Kate E. Whaley, 4110 Lakeview Drive, Temple Hills, MD 20748
  • Sum Up Tax Services, 6325 Brightlea Drive, Lanham, MD 20706
  • Richman Financial Services, 8404 Eureka Court, Alexandria, VA 22309
  • Aldrin F. Ngwa, 13810 Castle Blvd., Apt. 102, Silver Spring, MD 20904
  • Henry’s Tax LLC, P.O. BOX 4916, Alexandria, VA 22303
  • Keep It Simple Tax Services, 4309 Rockport Lane, Bowie, MD 20720
  • Foundation Enterprises LLC, 5729 Janice Lane, Temple Hills, MD 20748
  • Agadbak Tax and Financial Services, 20137 Welbeck Terrace, Montgomery Village, MD 20886
  • Dionne Makins, 7301 Flag Harbor Drive, District Heights, MD 20747
  • Valerie Robinson Tax Service, 12438 Old Colony Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
  • Whites Tax Service, 102 Billy Ave., Archdale, NC 27263
  • Excellent Tax Professional, 18216 Merino Drive, Accokeek, MD 20607
  • Keen Taxes And Associates LLC, 2410 Tredway Drive, Macon, GA 31211
  • Taxjam LLC, 13205 3rd Street, Bowie, MD 20720
  • M&S Tax Service, P.O. BOX 322, Temple Hills, MD 20757

Since taking office in 2007, the Comptroller’s office has identified and blocked more than 100,000 fraudulent returns and intercepted and denied $206 million worth of fraudulent refunds.

If taxpayers suspect fraud, they should 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 taxhelp@comp.state.md.us.

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

Board of Revenue Estimates Approves $268.5 Million Writedown for Fiscal Years 2019, 2020

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 7, 2019) – The Board of Revenue Estimates voted today to decrease the revenue projection for the State of Maryland for Fiscal Year 2019 by $138 million and to decrease the projection for Fiscal Year 2020 by $130.5 million.

The writedowns are largely the result of taxpayer uncertainty and changed spending habits in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December 2017, that significantly revised the federal and state tax codes

Below are Comptroller Franchot’s remarks from the BRE meeting, as prepared for delivery:

“As always, on behalf of my colleagues, Treasurer Kopp and Secretary Brinkley, I would like to start by thanking Andy Schaufele for his outstanding work in preparing this exceptional report, and I would also like to thank the entire BRE staff, along with the Revenue Monitoring Committee, for their thorough and tireless work in drawing up these estimates.

It is certainly not easy work, but your professionalism and expertise allow us to make responsible, tough decisions that strengthen our economy, ensure our long-term growth, and safeguard the people of Maryland, so I thank you for the incredible work that you do each and every day.

As Mr. Schaufele noted in his report, this Board is being asked to approve recommendations that would decrease our December 2018 revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2019 by 0.8%, or $138 million.

Additionally, we will be revising the December estimates for Fiscal Year 2020 to $18.5 billion, representing a 0.7%, or $130.5 million, decrease from our previous projections.

In total, the proposal before the Board is to decrease our December estimates by 0.7%, representing a total of $268.5 million.

As Andy intimated, these estimates – as we have underscored time and time again in past months – are marked by taxpayers’ continued uncertainty in the face of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

For many working families and small businesses, the highly-confusing provisions instituted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act continue to impact their spending behavior.

Many Marylanders faced unprecedented uncertainty entering this tax season because of the comprehensive changes to federal tax law, which, among many factors, changed how they could claim deductions and capped state and local taxes for the first time.

The federal tax reforms resulted in 1 in 3 Marylanders seeing their state tax liabilities go up, and some Marylanders are seeing reduced refunds at the state level and, for many working families, that places a constraint on their finances since so many of them depend on that money every year to pay off important bills and reduce debt.

In addition, the decrease in non-wage income affected by the market crash in December among other factors, only highlights what we have been saying for months.

There is widespread consensus among experts, including our own Bureau of Revenue Estimates, that we can expect an economic downturn in the next several years.

So the State of Maryland must continue to prepare for the inevitable, by putting as much money aside in our Rainy Day Fund to prevent the types of drastic budget cuts, furloughs, and tax increases that we witnessed during the Great Recession.

As I have for the last twelve years, I once again urge my colleagues down the street to exercise caution with respect to spending and fiscal policy decisions.

Those of us entrusted with fiduciary responsibilities in state government must show our constituents that we learned our lesson from the events that transpired over a decade ago, and that we are better prepared to weather whatever comes our way in the future.

As Maryland faces continued uncertainty during this highly volatile economic and political climate, we must prioritize creating a stable, predictable fiscal climate for working families and small businesses.

And as Comptroller and chair of this Board, I look forward to continuing to be an active and vocal participant in those discussions.”

The full BRE data table can be viewed here.

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

Maryland Surpasses One Million Individual Tax Returns Processed

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 7, 2019) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that his office has processed more than one million individual income tax returns for tax year 2018. The one-millionth electronic return was submitted by a Frederick County tax filer.

As of Thursday morning, more than 1.1 million electronic and paper returns have been processed, with almost 95 percent of those being electronically filed. Comptroller Franchot has long encouraged Marylanders to e-file because it’s the most secure and efficient way to submit a tax return. Most Marylanders who file electronically receive their state refunds within three business days.

“The hardworking staff in the Comptroller’s Office processes thousands of state tax returns each and every day,” Comptroller Franchot said. “They’re focused on preventing tax cheats from stealing fraudulent refunds and ensuring honest taxpayers receive their hard-earned money as quickly as possible.”

Through the years of public outreach by the Comptroller’s Office, the number of electronic returns processed has steadily increased. Last year, the Comptroller’s office processed more than 2.7 million returns electronically. Electronic filers represented about 85 percent of the 3.2 million personal income tax returns filed last year.

The filing deadline for 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15.

Free state tax assistance is available at all of the agency’s 12 taxpayer service offices Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A list of office locations can be found at marylandtaxes.gov.

For more information on any tax-related matter, please visit Comptroller’s website at marylandtaxes.gov or call 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland.

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

$50 Million Payback

BRE projects huge cost of bills to remove enforcement duties from Comptroller’s Office; Tobacco settlement money, tax fraud efforts also at risk

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (February 19, 2019) – The Bureau of Revenue Estimates, in a policy report to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, has put the price tag of a proposal to remove the Field Enforcement Division from the purview of the Comptroller’s Office at nearly $50 million over the next five years, a cost that would be borne directly by taxpayers.

Legislation to move licensing and regulatory functions for alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel from the Comptroller’s Office to a newly created Alcohol, Tobacco and Motor Fuel Commission (ATM) would result in significant operational costs for both the agency and the commission. In addition, Senate Bill 703/House Bill 1052 would lead to increased administrative expenses, inefficiency and lost revenues, according to the BRE analysis.

The report, prepared in advance of bill hearings on Friday, states that the disruption of longstanding tobacco enforcement policies and procedures could jeopardize up to $750 million in tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) funds over five years. The bill’s passage could also undermine efforts to preserve taxpayer security at a time when the Maryland Comptroller’s Office has been nationally recognized for its work to prevent tax fraud and as the agency is transitioning to a new, state-of-the-art tax processing system.

The costly and damaging impacts of the proposed legislation will be further outlined during a media briefing to be held Thursday, February 21 at 11:30 a.m. in the Assembly Room of the Goldstein Treasury Building, located at 80 Calvert Street in Annapolis. Comptroller Peter Franchot will be joined by BRE Revenue Policy Analyst Kevin Ross, Field Enforcement Division Director Jeff Kelly and several of his agents to explain the fiscal analysis and the impact to enforcement operations.

“The impacts of this reckless political power grab are plainly obvious and it has nothing to do with good government,” said Comptroller Franchot. “On the contrary, it would cost Marylanders tens of millions of dollars, weaken our regulatory enforcement laws, jeopardize tobacco settlement funds that the state relies on, endanger taxpayers’ security and potentially impact the job security of dozens of hardworking enforcement agents who protect consumers at the pump, crack down on cigarette smuggling, regulate alcohol and go after tax cheats.”

The report describes how removing FED from the Comptroller’s Office would strip it of access to sensitive tax information, which is fundamental to its enforcement power. Under the bills, FED could no longer review tax audit reports, and its status with federal agencies through Memorandums of Understanding could result in requiring subpoenas for tax information from the Comptroller’s Office, which could cause delays or even hamper criminal investigations and prosecutions.

“Removing FED from COM would result in a significant unseen cost to the State,” asserts the BRE report. “The cost of this loss to the State’s efforts at eliminating tax fraud, identity theft, criminal and terrorist funding, etc., cannot be overstated.”

FED also would lose the administrative, functional and technical overlap it currently has and would require the hiring of eight new positions for information technology, human resources, public health liaison, external communications, attorney general and administration and finance. In the first year alone, the cost of duplicating these eight positions would be nearly $795,000; over five years, the cost is almost $4 million.

Additional costs would be incurred from the need for new computer hardware and software, as well as new office space for the newly created commission that includes secure storage and a loading dock for confiscated alcohol and contraband tobacco products. Government efficacy will also suffer with the separation of the State licensing bureau, wherein the new commission would have authority over alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel licenses, while the Comptroller would retain enforcement authority over merchant licenses and tax compliance.

“My team has earned the respect of both those they regulate and those they serve and protect,” said FED Director Kelly. “Not a single comment has been made during this debate about the quality of our work, the need to change what we’re doing or how moving our division would improve our outcomes. This legislation seems like a solution in search of a problem.”

The potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of tobacco settlement funds is particularly concerning. FED agents work with the Attorney General’s Office to ensure the State remains a beneficiary of the 1998 settlement agreement between Maryland and large tobacco manufacturers. To receive the fund, states must show they are diligently enforcing tobacco compliance. If the State is found to have not diligently enforced in any given year, it will forfeit the money. The Attorney General’s Office uses FED for enforcement. If that is affected, the state risks losing $150 million annually and $750 million over five years.

“It’s okay for Annapolis insiders controlled by big beer distributors to disagree with my advocacy on behalf of Maryland’s craft beer industry, but it’s not okay for them to use innocent hard-working state employees as pawns in their political games and make Maryland taxpayers and consumers foot the bill for this nonsense,” Franchot said.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Susan O’Brien -  sobrien@comp.state.md.us
410-260-7305 (office); 443-875-8540 (mobile)

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

Comptroller Urges Marylanders to Save During Shop Maryland Energy Weekend February 16-18

Sales tax waived on qualifying ENERGY STAR products 

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (February 7, 2019) -  Comptroller Peter Franchot is urging Marylanders to take advantage of big savings as part of the annual Shop Maryland Energy weekend from Saturday, February 16, through Monday, February 18. On these three days, consumers will not pay the state’s six percent sales tax on qualifying ENERGY STAR appliances.

“Shop Maryland Energy weekend is a great time to take advantage of potentially hundreds of dollars in savings on ENERGY STAR products that are good for the environment,” Comptroller Franchot said. “This program boosts sales during an otherwise down time for businesses and gives consumers an incentive to purchase energy-efficient appliances.”

The Comptroller will visit locally-owned retailers in the following cities and towns to promote Shop Maryland Energy weekend. Details about each visit will be released ahead of the planned stops.

  • Silver Spring: Friday, February 8
  • Rising Sun: Monday, February 11
  • Hagerstown: Tuesday, February 12
  • Cambridge: Thursday, February 13
  • Pikesville: Thursday, February 14

During the Shop Maryland Energy event, air conditioners, washers and dryers, furnaces, heat pumps, standard-size refrigerators, compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs, dehumidifiers and programmable thermostats that have been designated as meeting or exceeding the applicable ENERGY STAR efficiency requirements developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy will be tax-free. A list of ENERGY STAR items may be found at energystar.gov/products or at marylandtaxes.com.

For more information on Shop Maryland Energy weekend or to download printable rack cards and shareable logos, visit marylandtaxes.comFor additional questions e-mail taxhelp@comp.state.md.us or call 410-260-7980 (central Maryland) or toll-free at 1-800-MD-TAXES.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Susan O’Brien -  sobrien@comp.state.md.us                                                         410-260-7305 (office); 443-875-8540 (mobile)

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