Comptroller Franchot Reminds Taxpayers of Upcoming Tax Filing Extension Deadline

Taxpayers Have Until October 15 to File 2014 Returns

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (October 1, 2015) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today reminded taxpayers of the upcoming October 15 deadline for those who filed for an extension on their 2014 Maryland personal income tax return. He also reminded last minute filers of the simplicity, swiftness and safety of electronic filing.

“Every taxpayer should consider filing electronically because E-filing is the fastest, easiest and safest way to file a return,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot. “You’ll get your refund in only a few days if you choose direct deposit.”

The Comptroller also reminded taxpayers that his office provides free in-person state income preparation at the agency’s 12 local offices located throughout the state.

“Bring a completed federal return, all W-2 statements and supporting documents and my staff will complete a state return and file it electronically,” Comptroller Franchot said.

Taxpayers who filed for an extension on a federal return and didn’t owe state taxes are automatically granted a six-month extension for a state return. No request for an extension will be granted for more than six months, unless a taxpayer is currently out of the United States, in which case an extension of up to one year may be requested.

For the most up-to-date information on filing tax returns, or answers to other questions visit the Comptroller’s Website at or call the agency at 410-260-7980, in Central Maryland, or 1-800-638-2937, toll-free from elsewhere, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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

Comptroller Peter Franchot Releases Statement Regarding Updated Revenue Estimates

BRE to write up revenue estimates for FY 2016 and 2017 by $212.2 Million

Annapolis, Md. (September 21, 2015) – The Board of Revenue Estimates met today to write up revenue estimates for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 by $212.2 million. Comptroller Peter Franchot, as chairman of the Board, released the following statement:

“This action, coming just weeks after we closed the books on Fiscal Year 2015 with a fund balance of $295 million, provides reason for restrained optimism. As do recent occurrences within the broader Maryland economy, ranging from a pattern of modest growth in private sector wages to the reduction in the State of Maryland’s official rate of unemployment.

I would suggest that we keep these numbers in their proper perspective, and I believe that my colleagues, and those who are entrusted with fiscal policy decisions on behalf of the State of Maryland, should avoid falling into the trap of unrealistic expectations.

Our state continues to trail the nation in key economic indicators. Personal income in Maryland is growing at a rate of 4 percent, compared to 4.4 percent nationally. At 4.4 percent, private sector wage growth for the year remains substantially below the national rate of 5.4 percent. Finally, our year-to-date employment growth of 1.7 percent, even if this figure ultimately stands the test of time, lags considerably behind the national average of 2.2 percent.

Sluggish growth and challenging economic conditions mean far too many Marylanders are taking home the same or less pay at a time when their living costs are rising and they have less disposable income to spend. Which means that in this consumer-powered economy, far too many businesses – and in particular, small and locally-owned businesses that are the backbone of the Maryland economy – are struggling to survive at a time when consumers are reining in their discretionary spending. Make no mistake, this remains the slowest and most tentative economic recovery of our lifetimes, and I think that it would be imprudent to expect a return to pre-recessionary patterns of economic expansion.

Instead, I believe that we should accept these conditions as the “new normal” and I would encourage my fellow state leaders to adopt this approach when making spending and fiscal policy decisions in the months ahead.

More than anything else, we must establish a business climate that is characterized by stability and predictability, one in which employers feel comfortable investing capital and creating jobs. We must avoid decisions that take more money out of the pockets of consumers who are already reluctant to put money back into the Maryland economy.

Finally, we must be careful not to interpret these modestly encouraging numbers as a license to authorize excessive spending or to incur excessive debt. Rather, I would suggest that we maintain a cautious mindset and focus on those truly essential investment priorities, such as the overdue replenishment of our state’s historically underfunded pension system, which would reflect our State’s commitment to keeping its word to its teachers, law enforcement officers and all of our outstanding public employees.”

View the September 2015 Estimated Maryland Revenues Here

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Byrnie-Parker 410-260-6346 (office), 443-336-0215 (cell)

Comptroller Names Baltimore County Woman as New Deputy Comptroller

Sharonne Bonardi to Serve as State’s First African-American Deputy Comptroller; has Served as Director of Compliance Since 2009

Annapolis, Md. (September 17, 2015) – Comptroller Peter Franchot has named Sharonne Bonardi as Deputy Comptroller, effective October 1, 2015. Ms. Bonardi has more than 15 years of experience within the office, serving as Director of the Compliance Division since 2009 and, prior to that, as Deputy Compliance Director and as manager of the Hearings and Appeals Section.

In announcing the appointment, Comptroller Franchot credited Bonardi for her successful leadership of a division that, through the innovative use of technology, investments in personnel, and effective law enforcement, has collected more than $4 billion in delinquent taxes over the past eight years.

“Sharonne is one of Maryland’s truly exceptional public servants, and she has been vital to the nationally recognized success of our agency over these past eight years,” said Comptroller Franchot. “She is an effective and highly respected leader who will further enhance our ability to deliver timely and responsive taxpayer services, protect the security of our taxpayers and ensure that all Marylanders are paying their fair share.”

Bonardi, a resident of Woodstock, will become the first African-American Deputy Comptroller in the 164-year history of the Office. During her tenure in State service, she has served as an administrative law judge for the Office of Administrative Hearings and as an adjunct professor of English composition at Howard Community College. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College, received her M.B.A from The Johns Hopkins University, Carey School of Business, and earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Bonardi is active in the Tax Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, serves on the boards of the Girls Empowerment Mission and Jack and Jill of America, and is a member of the prestigious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Franchot also announced the appointment of David Roose as Senior Advisor for Tax and Fiscal Policy and announced that Daniel C. (Chris) Riley Jr. will succeed Bonardi as Director of Compliance.

As Deputy Comptroller, Roose streamlined daily operations within the Comptroller’s Office, has initiated the effort to replacing the Office’s aging tax processing and collections systems, and has coordinated the agency-wide effort to protect Maryland taxpayers from fraud and identity theft. Prior to his tenure as Deputy Comptroller, Roose served as Director of the State’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates, and also served for several years as a policy analyst with the Department of Legislative Services. He holds bachelors and masters degrees from the College of William and Mary.

“As Deputy Comptroller and as Director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, David has been invaluable to my efforts to sustain a culture of fiscal responsibility within the Office of the Comptroller,” said Comptroller Franchot. “The State of Maryland is fortunate to have someone with David’s exhaustive knowledge of tax policy laws and statutes in public service, and our entire team will continue to rely heavily on his expertise on a broad range of policy issues.”

Riley began his career with the Comptroller’s Office in 1980 and is a graduate of Towson State University. Initially hired as a field auditor by the then Retail Sales Tax Division, he worked in the Field Audit Section, finally serving as its chief auditor. He also served as assistant director and deputy director of the Compliance Division.

“Chris is one of the most respected and effective managers within our agency, and shares my commitment to improving Maryland’s business climate through the objective, transparent and consistent enforcement of our state’s tax laws,” said Comptroller Franchot. “I am pleased to appoint him to this important position of leadership within our Office, and I couldn’t be any more pleased with the leadership team that will guide the Office through both challenges and opportunities in the years ahead.”

Contact: Michelle Byrnie-Parker, 410-260-6346 (office) or 443-336-0215 (cell)

Comptroller Franchot Releases FY15 Year-End Closeout Numbers

Annapolis, Md. (September 3, 2015) — Reiterating his call for caution in the midst of a slow economic recovery, Comptroller Peter Franchot today released the final closeout numbers for Fiscal Year 2015. General Fund revenues totaled $15.9 billion in the fiscal year, $214.1 million above the official state forecast and representing a growth rate of 5.1 percent. While the results validate a sense of cautious optimism, there are underlying issues which overstate growth relative to underlying economic activity.

The revenue data reflected moderate improvement in wages and salaries, and consumer spending, but they remain subdued relative to pre-recession levels. Withholding receipts finished the year up 3.9 percent from the prior year, in line with expectations and an improvement from last year’s 3.0 percent, but modest when compared to pre-recession growth rates and a reminder of continued economic pressures facing wage earners. Sales and use tax receipts increased by 5 percent from the previous year, but after factoring the impact of Amazon’s physical presence in Maryland, were still weaker than pre-recession norms.

Individual income tax revenues finished the year up 7.4 percent, however, the growth rate is skewed higher as a result of an artificially depressed tax year 2013. The threat of a fiscal cliff in 2012 drove down income tax revenues as individuals shifted income from tax year 2013 to tax year 2012 to minimize federal tax liability.

Given the state’s uncertain near-term economic outlook, the Comptroller urged the governor and General Assembly to proceed with caution and fiscal restraint.

“These revenue figures highlight an economy that has improved but is still fragile and has not returned to pre-recession growth rates,” Comptroller Franchot said. “We must proceed with the utmost caution and continue on a prudent fiscal course in the months ahead. I firmly believe any fund balance must be saved and not spent to assure Maryland taxpayers that their government understands the uncertain fiscal and economic climate. To turn the corner on the state’s economic recovery, we must provide a sense of predictability to businesses with a multi-year moratorium on all new or increased taxes, fees and major regulatory changes. This will give businesses the confidence to hire, invest and grow and give consumers the confidence to spend. If we can maintain a cautious mindset, Maryland’s economic bones are strong enough and resilient enough to withstand these challenges.”
Comptroller Franchot noted several factors that have contributed to a slow economic recovery for the past fiscal year which began July 1, 2014 and ended June 30, 2015. Among them were:

  • The ongoing consequences of sequestration on a state economy that remains heavily reliant upon federal jobs, spending and business opportunities;
  • Continued high unemployment relative to pre-recession levels (5.2% in July versus 4.3% pre-recession);
  • Average wage growth close to or below historic inflation rates.

“Given the challenges to the state’s economy, it is imperative that we spend taxpayer dollars in the most effective and efficient ways possible, and reassure Maryland taxpayers that we are getting the best possible results in return,” Comptroller Franchot said.


Media contact: Michelle Byrnie-Parker (office) 410-260-6346, (cell) 443-336-0215


Comptroller Reminds Marylanders: “Act Now, Pay Now” Tax Amnesty Program Runs Sept.1 – Oct. 30

Enacted by Maryland General Assembly; Applications Accepted Beginning Today

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (September 1, 2015) – Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot reminds delinquent taxpayers that they have from September 1 through October 30, 2015 to take advantage of Maryland’s “Act Now, Pay Now” amnesty period. The Tax Amnesty program, enacted by the General Assembly, gives delinquent taxpayers one final opportunity to pay their Maryland tax liability with only half of the interest owed. Tax Amnesty applications will be accepted beginning September 1, 2015.

“Tax Amnesty is a limited and rare opportunity for tax delinquents to settle any outstanding liabilities,” said Comptroller Franchot. “It’s vital for all Marylanders to do the right thing and pay their taxes which support important public services benefitting everyone in our great state.”

Taxpayers who failed to file a required return or pay a tax imposed on or before December 31, 2014, may file an application with the Comptroller requesting a waiver of all civil penalties (except for previously assessed fraud penalties) and one-half interest due. The waivers will be granted for all taxpayers who file their applications on time and meet the terms of the program. Payments made prior to September 1 are not eligible for the tax amnesty program.

The following taxes are eligible for amnesty:
•Personal income tax
•Fiduciary income tax
•Pass-through entity nonresident income tax
•Corporate income tax
•Employer withholding tax
•Sales and use tax
•Admissions and amusement tax

Taxpayers who submit an application may either pay their outstanding debts in full with their application or include 10 percent of the amnesty amount due with their application, and set up a payment plan before October 30, 2015. Taxpayers, who choose the payment plan, must complete the terms of the agreement on or before December 31, 2016.

During the amnesty period, a taxpayer may not be charged with a criminal tax offense arising out of any return filed and tax paid, so long as the taxpayer does not have any pending criminal charges in the state courts and is not currently under investigation by the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the State Prosecutor and the Office of the State’s Attorney or any office with Constitutional authority.

Those who took advantage of two previous amnesty programs in 2001 and 2009 are not eligible for the new program. Those who participated in or were eligible to participate in the Delaware Holding Company settlement established by Chapter 577 of 2004 for tax periods prior to tax year 2003 also are not eligible.

The amnesty application form is accessible at, or taxpayers will be able to request a form by calling 1-800-MDTAXES or 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland. Email requests may be sent to: or by regular mail to: Maryland Tax Amnesty, Comptroller of Maryland, P.O. Box 2031, Annapolis, MD 21404-2031. Completed applications can also be sent to this address or dropped off at any of the 12 local Comptroller offices.

An interactive tax amnesty calculator is available online to help taxpayers determine the amount of tax owed. Taxpayers with an outstanding liability can determine their amnesty liability through the agency’s Amnesty BillPay application by using the notice number on bills up to six months old.

For more information and a list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Byrnie-Parker 410-260-6346 (office), 443-336-0215 (cell)


Comptroller Franchot Statement on Passing of Governor Marvin Mandel

Annapolis, Md. (August 31, 2015) – “Marvin Mandel is a monumental figure in the history of our great state, and more importantly, he was fundamentally a good man and public servant. As a Marylander and as Comptroller, I will forever be grateful for his determination as governor to modernize and streamline state government operations which earned national renown and were vital to Maryland’s longstanding reputation for sound fiscal stewardship.

On a personal note, I will always treasure his gestures of friendship, whether it was spending an afternoon in my office discussing World War II with my father, offering sage advice, or sharing one of his patented stories from days gone by. It is with deep affection and admiration that Anne and I extend our love and prayers to his family during this sad time.”

Media Contact: Michelle Byrnie-Parker 410-260-6346 (office) 443-336-0215 (cell)


Comptroller Names Cecil Woman to Elkton Branch and as Liaison in Cecil and Harford Counties

Lyn Price Nickle Brings 40 Years’ Experience to New Roles 

Annapolis, Md. (August 26, 2015) – Comptroller Peter Franchot has named Lyn Price Nickle of Elkton as his special assistant to help taxpayers at his Elkton Branch Office and to serve as his public taxpayer liaison in Cecil and Harford counties. Nickle previously had served as Cecil County’s Register of Wills for 16 years and as Chief Deputy for eight years, and has 18 years of experience as a legal assistant with a local law office specializing in real estate and probate.

A lifelong Cecil County resident, Nickle is a graduate of North East High School and the National Academy for Paralegal Students as a paralegal/legal assistant. She also holds several certificates related to conflict and dispute resolution and continuing education credits in accounting from Cecil College. She has continuing professional and legal education courses from the Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers Administering Estates in Maryland at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Nickle has lectured on the importance of having a will and the administration of estates to faith-based and civic organizations. She also spearheaded operations to digitize paper files and dockets from the time Cecil County was established in 1674 through 1985.

Throughout her career, Nickle has provided exceptional customer service to individuals and families as they go through a time of loss. She is a member of the Cecil County Historical Society and has taken part in various community, religious, civic, political and youth activities. She is married and has four children.

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

Comptroller Peter Franchot visits Annapolis Regional Library to Encourage Enrollment in the College Savings Plans of Maryland

BALTIMORE (August 24, 2015) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today joined the College Savings Plans of Maryland on a visit to the Annapolis Regional Library to stress the significant financial benefits and tax advantages of utilizing college savings accounts. As students head back to school this week, the Comptroller encouraged families to save in one or both of the State of Maryland’s two 529 college savings plans: the Maryland Prepaid College Trust and the Maryland College Investment Plan.

Franchot, who serves as a member of the College Savings Plans of Maryland Board, highlighted the importance of establishing a college savings strategy to reduce or even eliminate the need to borrow money in the future to pay for higher education expenses. The rising cost of a college education has sparked the need for families to start saving early and Maryland’s two 529 plans can be a great option to ultimately lower the burden of student loan debt, which has ballooned to exceed 1.2 trillion nationally.

“In today’s knowledge-based economy, a college education has become an increasingly important to future success,” said Comptroller Franchot. “For years, the College Savings Plans of Maryland has played a vital role in helping families attain higher education with significant tax advantages. With the increasing cost of tuition, now is the best time for parents to begin saving for future education expenses by enrolling in one of Maryland’s 529 Plans.”

Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who chairs the College Savings Plans Board added, “CSPM is committed to making a college education attainable by providing all of Maryland’s families with affordable ways to save for college. Our plans are structured to offer many flexible savings choices that optimally help families to cut the cost of college in half by saving versus borrowing.”

The College Savings Plans of Maryland offers two 529 college savings plans, the Maryland Prepaid College Trust and the Maryland College Investment Plan. The Maryland Prepaid College Trust gives families an opportunity to lock in tomorrow’s tuition at today’s prices and is backed by the assurance of a Maryland Legislative Guarantee. The next enrollment period for the Prepaid Trust will begin on December 1, 2015 and runs through April 20, 2016. The Maryland College Investment Plan enrollment is open year-round and is managed by T. Rowe Price. The College Investment Plan offers a variety of investment options and families can start with as little as a $25 per month with automatic deductions. Both plans offer attractive federal and Maryland State tax benefits and can be used at nearly any accredited college in the country.

All college savings portfolios are subject to market risk, including possible loss of principal.

Please carefully read the Enrollment Kit which describes the investment objectives, risks, expenses, and other important information that you should consider before you invest in the College Savings Plans of Maryland. The Enrollment Kit is available at or by calling 888.4MD.GRAD. Also, if you or your beneficiary live outside of Maryland, you should consider before investing whether your state or your beneficiary’s state offers state tax or other benefits for investing in its 529 plan.

 College Savings Plans of Maryland, Administrator and Issuer T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Program Manager and Investment Advisor T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc., Distributor/Underwriter

 Media contact for Comptroller’s Office: Michelle Byrnie-Parker, 410-260-6346 (office) 443-336-0215 (cell)




Comptroller Franchot Statement on Starting Maryland Public Schools After Labor Day

Annapolis, Md. (August 24, 2015) – “With thousands of students returning to Maryland public schools today, I would like to thank teachers, administrators and support staff for their hard work, selfless dedication and commitment to making a difference in our children’s lives. They have my continued support and appreciation for the sacrifices they make each and every day. This is an exciting time for students and families, and I wish them success in the coming school year.

By next Monday, students from all but one of Maryland’s 24 public school systems will return to the classroom. Sending kids back to school during the hot and humid days of August just doesn’t make sense to me – or to an overwhelming majority of Marylanders that support starting the state’s public schools after the Labor Day holiday. Very rarely does an issue make so much sense that it crosses all demographic, geographic and partisan lines like this one does, as evidenced by Governor Larry Hogan’s support, along with the 13,240 Marylanders from every corner of the state who signed the “Let Summer Be Summer” petition.

Despite facing firmly entrenched opposition from within the educational bureaucracy, this issue is just too important for me to back down. Once again, I will put my full support behind legislation to make a sensible change to Maryland’s public school calendars. As with most legislation that is introduced, I recognize that this is a multi-year effort.  With the tremendous support of families, teachers and small business owners I have met while traveling across our state, I am more certain than ever that this is an issue of great importance to our quality of life and our economy.  An independent poll by Goucher College found that 72 percent of Marylanders favor adjusting the school calendar and a Virginia Commonwealth University study showed no link between a pre-Labor Day school start and student achievement.

A legislative task force chaired by a representative of the Maryland State Department of Education voted overwhelming to endorse the initiative, concluding that starting school after Labor Day could easily be accomplished without moving the end of the school year beyond mid-June. Worcester County, the only school system with a post-Labor Day start, has been able to do so without extending the school year or creating major disruptions.

Starting school after Labor Day would give teachers, who have to return to classrooms in the stifling heat of mid-August, sometimes in schools without air conditioning, the break they need to recharge their batteries and to spend more quality time with their own families. Students would have greater opportunity to learn life lessons outside the classroom, including those involved in agricultural organizations like 4-H and Future Farmers of America. These kids work incredibly hard all year to earn a spot at the Maryland State Fair, only to have to choose between attending the start of school or exhibiting at the state fair. Simply put, a post-Labor Day start to school would give more families the time to build lasting memories.

Small businesses that lose seasonal workers would get a much needed boost during these tough economic times. A 2013 study conducted by Maryland’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates determined that a post-Labor Day school start could generate an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity, including $3.7 million in new wages and a separate $7.7 million in state and local revenue.

I have complete confidence that our local school systems can make reasonable and modest adjustments to the school calendar to make a post-Labor Day start work for each of their communities. While there are significant economic benefits to changing the school calendar, this is ultimately about family and about the precious, but fleeting time parents have to spend with their kids.”

Media Contact: Michelle Byrnie-Parker 410-260-6346 (office) 443-336-0215

Maryland Shoppers Get a Break during Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week, August 9-15

Sales Tax Waived for Qualifying Clothing and Footwear

Annapolis, Md. (Aug. 3, 2015) – Comptroller Peter Franchot is encouraging shoppers to take advantage of Maryland’s tax-free week which begins Sunday, August 9, and runs through Saturday, August 15. During that time, any single, qualifying article of clothing or footwear priced $100 or less – regardless of how many purchased – will be exempt from the state’s 6 percent sales tax.

“Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week is a great opportunity to get deals on back-to-school clothes or to refresh a tired wardrobe,” Comptroller Franchot said. “During these tough economic times, having a break from the 6 percent sales tax on shoes and clothing can make a real difference for families, enabling them to save more of their hard-earned money. Retailers also benefit with a boost in revenue. The savings can really add up for families, putting more money in their pockets.”

The Comptroller will be promoting the annual shopping event at various retail locations throughout the state to encourage shoppers to take advantage of the sales tax break on back-to-school clothes and shoes. He will visit shops and stores in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Annapolis, Queenstown, Bethesda and Waldorf.

“Back-to-school shopping is the second biggest shopping season for retailers,” said Maryland Retailers Association spokesperson Tom Saquella. “Tax-Free Week has become a welcomed opportunity for consumers to save on clothing and footwear as they prepare for the new school year, and also for adults looking to buy something from the new fall clothing lines. Tax-Free Week is a wonderful gift provided every year to Maryland taxpayers and you can count on Maryland retailers to do their part with great sales and promotions.”

Resulting from legislation passed in the 2007 special session of the Maryland General Assembly, a tax-free week will occur every year during the second week in August, until the legislature decides to revisit the issue. During this period, each qualifying article of clothing or footwear selling for $100 or less is exempt from sales tax, regardless of how many items are purchased at the same time.

Businesses selling items that are not eligible for inclusion in the tax-free week can still participate in Shop Maryland. Under “Sellers Privilege,” other unqualified merchandise can be sold tax-free but the retailer is responsible for paying the sales tax owed to the state.

For more information on qualifying items, visit the Comptroller of Maryland’s Website at, e-mail or call 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or toll-free at 1-800-MD-TAXES.

Planned stops for Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week include:

Tuesday, August 4
11 a.m.
The Avenue at White Marsh
(Starting at Famous Footwear)
8125 Honeygo Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21236

2:30 p.m.
Cloud 9 Clothing
111 West 36th St.
Baltimore, MD 21211

Thursday, August 6
11 a.m.
Queenstown Premium Outlets
(Starting near the Eddie Bauer store)
441 Outlet Center Drive
Queenstown, MD 21658

12:30 p.m.
Hatley Boutique
158 Main St.
Annapolis, MD 21401

Friday, August 7
11 a.m.
Beyda’s Lad & Lassie
5444 Westbard Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20816

1 p.m.
St. Charles Center
(Starting at Center Court)
11110 Mall Circle
Waldorf, MD 20603

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