Frederick Branch Office closed today 2/7/18

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (February 7, 2018) – The Comptroller’s  Branch Office in Frederick will be closed today due to the closure of the Frederick County Court House, where it is located. Weather conditions are a factor.

The Comptroller’s Upper Marlboro Branch Office will open at 10:30 a.m. That branch is located in the Prince George’s County Court House, which is closed to the public until 10:30 a.m.

Taxpayers in need of free state tax assistance can continue to call the taxpayer services line from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-MD TAXES, or 410-260-7980.

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Joseph Shapiro -
                                        410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)

                                        Alan Brody –
                                        410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)

Comptroller Franchot Halts Returns from Nine Tax Preparers

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (February 2, 2018) -  In his ongoing effort to protect Maryland taxpayers, Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that his office has immediately suspended processing electronic tax returns from nine tax preparers due to a high volume of questionable returns received.

“My top priority is to protect Maryland taxpayers and detecting fraudulent tax returns,” Comptroller Franchot said. “We want to make sure the tax refunds we issue are legitimate and go to the correct taxpayers. My top-notch Questionable Return Detection Team is vigilant in rooting out returns that try to cheat the state and steal money from hardworking Marylanders.”

The businesses, which have been sent written notice of the action, were identified by the Comptroller’s nationally recognized fraud unit using state-of-the-art technology that allows the Office to detect fraud. The agency’s review process provides an opportunity for blocked preparers to have their filing privileges restored.

In 2016 and 2017, the Comptroller’s Office blocked suspicious tax returns at 95 tax preparation businesses in 113 locations. Since taking office in 2007,  the Comptroller’s team has identified and blocked more than 88,000 fraudulent returns and intercepted and denied $190.2 million worth of fraudulent refunds.

“Watching for tax fraud schemes and fraudulent returns is a big challenge for tax administrators across the nation,” Franchot said. “My agency uses every tool available to make sure Maryland’s tax filing system is safe and accurate.”

The tax preparers blocked from filing returns are:

  • Magino & Associates, 18943 Red Robin Terrace, Germantown, MD 20874
  • Accurate Taxes, 616 E. Patapsco Ave., Brooklyn, MD 21225
  • 1-866MoblTax Inc., 4812 St. Barnabas Road, Suite 6, Temple Hills, MD 20748
  • R & M Hannan LLC, 7751 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Glen Burnie, MD 21060
  • Rhonda’s Tax Service Inc., 5801 Allentown Road, Suite 303, Suitland, MD 20746
  • A & R Tax Accounting Service Inc. (aka A R TAX AND ACCOUNTING INC), 47 Peabody St. NE, Washington, DC 20011
  • Tax Time, 3902 Ednor Road, Baltimore, MD 21218
  • Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, 1912 Forest Drive, Annapolis, MD 21401
  • Precise Tax and Accounting Service, 7521 New Hampshire Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912

A complete list of all tax preparers blocked from filing returns is available at 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.
  • Fails to include the Preparer Taxpayer Identification number “P-TIN” on the return.

If taxpayers suspect 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

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

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
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
On-Site Tax Services, 1629 E. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21231
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
Security Tax & Accounting Srv LLC, 1724 Woodlawn Drive, Suite 12, Baltimore MD 21207
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
Tax Relief, 5601 McClean Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21214
Chimex Tax Service, 2654 Maryland Ave., Baltimore
Jovan LLC, 5225 Harford Road, Baltimore
Taxcare , 6711 Belair Rd, Ste. B , Baltimore MD 21206

Baltimore County
Alleluia Income Tax Service, 1055 Taylor Ave., Suite 212, Towson, MD 21286
ARPL Tax Services and More, 6737 Edwards Ave., Windsor Mill, MD 21244
Hitchye Tax & Business Cons Svc, 6350 Frederick Road, Suite C, Catonsville, MD 21228
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

Harford County
Abayomi Olobatuyi, 3310 Shrewsbury Road, Abingdon, MD 21009

Montgomery County
Dem Tax and Accounting Services, 2200 Predella Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20902
Dieudonne Sossoukpe, 18825 Sparkling Water Drive K, Germantown, MD 20874
Global Alliance Solution LLC, 21304 China Aster Court, Germantown, MD 20876
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
Metrotax Services, 2443 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20910
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
Deldan Tax and Accounting Services, 9208 Fairlane Place, Laurel
Eze Tax Service LLC, 3601 Hamilton St., Hyattsville, MD 20782
Holmes Tax Services, 6495 New Hampshire Ave., Suite 120, Hyattsville, MD 20783
ICS Tax & Accounting Service , 8855 Annapolis Rd., Ste. 205, Lanham, MD 20703
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
STES Tax Service, 5510 Cherrywood Lane, Greenbelt, MD 20770
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
Yawn Tax and Tech Services LLC, 605 Halifax Pl, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

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

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
Valentine Tax, 328 Jefferson Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216
Verita’s Efile Service Inc., 3 Centerview Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407, and 5720 Alameda, Baltimore, MD 21239

MEDIA CONTACTS Joseph Shapiro -
                                       410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)

 Alan Brody –
                                        410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)

Mayors of Annapolis, Frederick, Cambridge, Ocean City Endorse Reform on Tap Act of 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (February 1, 2018) - Mayors from across Maryland, including the elected leaders of Annapolis, Frederick, Cambridge and Ocean City, today joined Comptroller Peter Franchot at Chesapeake Brewing Company in Annapolis to publicly endorse House Bill 518 – The Reform on Tap Act of 2018.

The legislation would overhaul the antiquated laws and burdensome regulations governing the state’s craft breweries, chiefly by removing limits on beer production and taproom sales, letting local jurisdictions establish taproom operating hours, eliminating franchise law requirements and removing restrictions on contract brewing by upstart breweries.

“No other manufacturing industry in the state is subject to the arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions placed on Maryland’s craft breweries,” said Comptroller Franchot, whose Field Enforcement Division regulates breweries, wineries and distilleries. “These businesses are succeeding in spite of the state’s antiquated laws, revitalizing neighborhoods, creating jobs, generating tax revenue and giving back to their communities.”

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, who owns four restaurants in the capital city, said the current three-tier system doesn’t provide a synergy between manufacturers, distributors and retailers for all to thrive. Worse yet, it prevents growth by tying the hands of business owners, which means fewer choices for consumers, he said, pointing to no production breweries located in the state capital.

“Annapolis is missing out on one of the most promising growth areas of tourism because we don’t have a single brewery in the historic district,” said Buckley. “Across the country from Bend, Oregon to Boulder, Colorado to Asheville, North Carolina, we are standing by and watching other small cities flourish from the explosive growth of breweries, which bring along with them – culture, art, music and everything that makes a city great and attractive. We must change our archaic system of laws and start supporting breweries instead of sending them away to other cities.”

Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor, whose city boasts the largest concentration of craft breweries in the state, noted how the businesses create local pride that goes far beyond simply brewing and pouring beer – they repurpose unused buildings, host other vendors like food trucks and showcase local products, creating ancillary economic benefits.

“In Frederick, we have seen firsthand the benefits of a growing craft brewing industry. These entrepreneurs create jobs, stimulate economic activity and attract tourists from around the region. But more than the economic stimulus they provide, these family-owned businesses have become engaged and active members of our community and work to help improve every facet of our city.”

RaR Brewing in Cambridge has been a cornerstone of the city’s renaissance. Its frequent events typically attract large crowds of locals and visitors with lines regularly stretching down the block, said Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley.

“The passage of HB 518 will result in continued success for RAR and its direct impact on economic growth and tourism for our local economy,” she said. “A local once told me, ‘Mayor, it’s all about local flavor.’ HB 518 supports our local flavor.”

Facing intense competition from neighboring states, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan noted the importance for state and local leaders to stand behind innovators who are willing to invest their hard-earned dollars in Maryland.

“In Ocean City, our craft brewers are major contributors to our community, specifically our tourism and hospitality industry. In a resort whose economy is supported by small and locally-owned businesses, I think this legislation sends the right message,” Meehan said. “More importantly, the Reform on Tap Act of 2018 sends a message to our small businesses that we are behind you, we support you and we will do everything we can to encourage your growth and success.”

The Reform on Tap Act will be heard before the House Economic Matters Committee on Friday, February 23. The public is invited to deliver testimony.

The legislation reflects the findings of the Comptroller’s Reform on Tap Task Force, which held eight meetings this past summer and fall to get a better grasp of the state’s current laws and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for craft brewers. The 40-member task force represented every region in the state and industry stakeholders including brewers, distributors, retailers, consumers and lawmakers from both parties.

An economic impact study conducted by the Bureau of Revenue Estimates found that in Maryland, the craft beer industry had an overall economic impact of $802.7 million and supported or created 6,541 jobs in 2016. The industry contributed nearly $110 million in local, state and federal revenues, which directly supports investments in education, public safety, transportation and the environment.

Still, the state is a net importer of craft beer, meaning it consumes more (275,000 barrels) than it produces (247,000 barrels). Furthermore, the National Brewers Association ranked Maryland 47th in economic impact, 36th in number of breweries and 25th in gallons produced per adult aged 21 years and over – all indications that the state’s craft beer industry has plenty of room to grow if the arbitrary restrictions currently in place are lifted.

                                       410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)

Comptroller Urges Marylanders to Save During Shop Maryland Energy Weekend February 17 to 19

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 29, 2018) -  Comptroller Peter Franchot is urging Marylanders to take advantage of big savings as part of the annual Shop Maryland Energy weekend from Saturday, February 17, through Monday, February 19. 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. “Whatever modest sacrifice this tax-free shopping weekend creates for the state budget, it’s minimal compared to the relief consumers will feel when purchasing Energy Star products completely tax-free.”

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

  • Hagerstown: Tuesday, January 30
  • Pikesville: Monday, February 12
  • Cambridge: Thursday, February 15
  • Silver Spring: Friday, February 16

During the Shop Maryland Energy event, air conditioners, washers and dryers, furnaces, heat pumps, standard-size refrigerators, compact fluorescent 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 or at

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

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Joseph Shapiro:
                                        410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)

Alan Brody:
                                        410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)

Comptroller Releases Report on Impact of Federal Tax Reform

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 25, 2018) - Following an exhaustive analysis of the federal tax reform plan, Comptroller Peter Franchot today joined Bureau of Revenue Estimates Director Andrew Schaufele to deliver a report describing how changes to the tax code will impact Marylanders and the state’s revenues.

“This report gives Maryland taxpayers a glimpse at how the complicated and sweeping reforms will impact their tax liabilities, at least in the short term,” said Comptroller Franchot. “What remains to be seen is whether this plan provides long-term economic growth or if the predicted benefits are front-loaded and we’ll be left with a big bill to pay down the road.”

The report estimates a cumulative federal income tax cut of roughly $2.8 billion for Maryland residents in tax year 2018. Seventy-one percent of Marylanders will pay less federal tax, 13 percent will pay more and 16 percent will see no change to their federal obligation. The roughly two million taxpayers expected to benefit will see an average gain of $1,741 per taxpayer.

The reduced federal liabilities are largely the result of several provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: the doubling of the child tax credit, modifications to the standard deduction allowed for each filing status, changes to federal tax brackets and lower tax rates and a new deduction for qualified business income.

The impact on individual taxpayers’ state and local tax bills depends on whether they aim to minimize their combined federal-state-local tax burden or focus on their federal tax. Assuming most taxpayers prioritize greater overall savings, 68 percent of Marylanders would see no change in the amount of state and local tax owed, 28 percent would pay more and 4 percent would pay less.

The driving factors behind the changes to state and local income tax bills are the taxpayer shift to the State standard deduction – a consequence of taxpayers’ choices to no longer itemize at the federal level – and related changes to itemized deductions for such things as real estate taxes and home equity indebtedness. In addition, taxable income changes for moving expenses, alimony and 529 College Savings Accounts.

As for the impact on the state’s coffers, the report estimates Maryland’s general fund would increase by $28.7 million and $392.5 million in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, respectively. The Education Trust Fund would realize an additional $867,000 and $5.1 million, respectively.

Changes to the tax code will result in fewer charitable contributions because those donations don’t carry the same tax benefit as they had previously, according to the report. Some taxpayers may no longer benefit directly from home ownership, which may have an impact on housing prices.

While the report does indicate that more money will be placed in the hands of consumers and investors, creating positive economic impacts, it is unclear how the cost of the reform ($1.5 trillion added to the deficit in 10 years) will impact interest rates.

Lastly, the report points out the looming issue of funding requirements for existing entitlement obligations, such as Social Security and Medicare. If the tax cut does not pay for itself, the federal fiscal situation will be even more dire and will negatively impact the state’s and the nation’s economy.

The full report can be viewed online here.

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Joseph Shapiro -
                                        410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)

Alan Brody –
                                        410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)

IRS, Maryland Comptroller Warn Employers to Be Wary of W-2 Scams

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 18, 2018) - With the 2018 tax season starting January 29, the Internal Revenue Service, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and tax industry leaders urge employers to educate their payroll staff about Form W-2 phishing scams. These schemes try to trick payroll personnel into disclosing sensitive information at small and large businesses, public schools and universities, hospitals, tribal governments and charities.

“These cybercriminals will try anything to access taxpayers’ personal and financial information,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot. “Bogus emails, fraudulent identities and persuasive claims are all in their bag of tricks. That’s why my team is laser-focused on stopping and holding accountable scammers who attempt to take advantage of law-abiding Maryland taxpayers.”

In 2017, the Maryland Comptroller’s office blocked suspicious tax returns from 95 tax preparation businesses at 113 locations throughout the state. Since taking office in 2007, Comptroller Franchot’s nationally renowned Questionable Returns Detection Team has identified and blocked more than 88,000 fraudulent returns and intercepted and denied $190.2 million worth of fraudulent refunds.

Last year, the IRS said reports to from victims and non-victims about this scam jumped to approximately 900, compared to slightly more than 100 in 2016. More than 200 employers were victimized in 2017, which translated into hundreds of thousands of employees who had their identities compromised.

By alerting employers now, the IRS and its partners in the Security Summit effort hope to reduce the number of victims this year. Last year, the IRS also created a new process to report these scams.

Here’s how the scams work: Cybercriminals identify chief operating officers, school executives or others in authority. Using a technique known as business email compromise or business email spoofing, fraudsters posing as executives send emails to payroll personnel requesting copies of Forms W-2 for all employees. The Form W-2 contains the employee’s name, address, Social Security number, income and withholdings. Criminals use that information to file fraudulent tax returns, or they post it for sale on the Dark Net.

The IRS has established a special email notification address specifically for employers to report Form W-2 data thefts. Email to notify the IRS of a Form W-2 data loss and use the subject line “W2 Data Loss” so that the email can be routed properly. Do not attach any employee personally identifiable information data. Include your business name, business employer identification number (EIN) associated with the data loss, name, phone number, summary of how the data loss occurred and volume of employees impacted.

Employers can learn more at Form W-2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers. Employers also should be aware that cybercriminals’ scams constantly evolve. Finance and payroll personnel should be alert to any unusual requests for employee data.

Comptroller Franchot to Help Raise Awareness of Elder Financial Abuse

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 5, 2018) – Comptroller Peter Franchot and Attorney General Brian Frosh will kick off PROTECT Week on Monday, January 8 at Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville at an event to raise awareness about elder financial abuse and tax fraud prevention. The Comptroller will participate in the week-long campaign, which will hold several events focused on how Marylanders can avoid becoming a victim of these crimes (see schedule below).
Guidewell Financial Solutions, a Maryland nonprofit credit counseling agency, is leading the statewide campaign sponsored by Wells Fargo in partnership with the Offices of the Comptroller and Maryland Attorney General and several other agencies.
“Over the last 10 years, my office has detected and blocked more than 80,000 fraudulent tax returns worth over $185 million,” said Comptroller Franchot. “Victims of tax fraud – many of whom are vulnerable, older Marylanders – sometimes deal with the impact of this abuse for years in silence. That’s why education and awareness are key to keeping seniors safe.”
“There are huge risks that older victims of financial exploitation can face in terms of their personal financial health and overall economic well-being,” said President and CEO of Guidewell Financial Solutions Helene Raynaud. “We’re legally obligated to report suspected financial exploitation of older Marylanders. Raising awareness about the prevalence of this issue is imperative to prevention.”
Financial elder abuse is when someone uses an older adult’s property or money improperly or illegally. PROTECT Week is to raise awareness, to help Marylanders recognize the warning signs and to provide tools to intervene early when an older adult is in danger.
The schedule of events is as follows:
• Monday, January 8, 10:30 a.m. to Noon
Kickoff news conference at Charlestown Retirement Community Main Auditorium: 215 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville, MD 21228
Comptroller Franchot and Attorney General Frosh will kick off a presentation to safeguard financial well-being and to prevent financial harm and elder financial abuse. Also taking part are Wells Fargo, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers and Robert E. Frey of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
• Tuesday, January 9, 10:30 a.m.
Tele-Town Hall with AARP. To participate, register here.
Comptroller Franchot along with AARP Maryland and the AARP Fraud Watch network will take part in a telephone town hall with Guidewell Financial Solutions and Robert E. Frey from the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to help Marylanders learn how to spot and avoid scams.
• Wednesday, January 10, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Holiday Park Senior Center, Multi-Purpose Room: 3950 Ferrara Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20906
The Comptroller’s Office will be part of a presentation on elder financial abuse fraud featuring EverSafe, the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition and the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection. Speakers also will address policy issues for the first day of the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session.
• Thursday, January 11, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Riderwood, Montgomery Station Maryland Room: 3120 Gracefield Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904
Comptroller Franchot will join representatives from the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Crimes Against Seniors Division and the Maryland CASH Campaign to provide tips and highlight resources available to seniors to help protect their identities and prevent financial abuse and loss.
• Friday, January 12, 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Charlotte Hall Veterans Home: 29449 Charlotte Hall Road, Charlotte Hall, MD 20622
Deputy Comptroller Sharonne Bonardi will take part in a presentation for Maryland’s veteran community on tax assistance and resources to help safeguard financial well being. Also participating are AARP, the Maryland CASH Campaign and Robert E. Frey from the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
Anyone who suspects that an older adult is being mistreated or is the victim of financial exploitation or fraud is urged to call the Maryland Department of Aging at 1-800-332-6347 or the police.
410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)
Alan Brody:
410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)

Comptroller Franchot Announces Opening of Tax Season January 29

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 5, 2018) – Comptroller Peter Franchot announced today that Maryland will begin processing personal income tax returns for Tax Year 2017 on January 29 – the same day the Internal Revenue Service begins accepting returns. The Comptroller’s Office will not immediately process a state tax return if W-2 information is not on file. Employers are required to report wage information to the Comptroller on or before Jan. 31.

Processing of business tax returns begins Monday, January 8.
This year, the filing deadline for 2017 tax returns is Tuesday, April 17 rather than the traditional April 15. In 2018, April 15 falls on a Sunday and Emancipation Day – a legal holiday in the District of Columbia – falls on April 16, which pushes the filing deadline to the following day.

Last year, the Comptroller’s Office stopped accepting income tax returns from 95 companies doing business in 113 locations for submitting numerous highly suspicious returns. Collectively, they filed thousands of state returns that the agency believed were fraudulent.

“In 2017, my office blocked more than 10,000 fraudulent returns worth more than $16 million,” said Comptroller Franchot. “I urge Marylanders to be on the lookout for those who want to steal taxpayers’ identities and personal financial information. Any taxpayer with concerns about a tax preparation business should call my office. We remain vigilant in our efforts to thwart these unscrupulous practices.”

Taxpayers are encouraged to file their returns electronically for the fastest possible processing and to ensure they receive all possible refunds. A list of approved vendors for use in filing your electronic return can be found at

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

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

410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (mobile)
Alan Brody:
410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (mobile)

IRS Says Standard Mileage Rates for 2018 to Increase From Rates for 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (December 28, 2017) - The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate and the medical and moving expense rates each increased one cent per mile from the rates for 2017. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. More information may be found at

IRS Has Tips for What to Do Before the Tax Year Ends on December 31

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (December 27, 2017) - As tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers that there are things they should do now to get ready for filing season. Here are some tips to get ready:

  • For most taxpayers, Dec. 31 is the last day to take actions that will affect their 2017 tax returns. For example, charitable contributions are deductible in the year made. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2017 count for the 2017 tax year, even if the bill isn’t paid until 2018. Checks to a charity count for 2017 as long as they are mailed by the last day of the year.
  • Taxpayers over age 70 ½ are generally required to receive payments from their individual retirement accounts and workplace retirement plans by the end of 2017, though a special rule allows those who reached 70 ½ in 2017 to wait until April 1, 2018, to receive them.
  • Most workplace retirement account contributions should be made by the end of the year, but taxpayers can make 2017 IRA contributions until April 18, 2018. For 2018, the limit for a 401(k) is $18,500. For traditional and Roth IRAs, the limit is $6,500 if age 50 or older and up to $15,500 for a Simple IRA for age 50 or older.
  • Taxpayers should be careful not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations.
  • Taxpayers who have moved should tell the U.S. Postal Service, employers and the IRS. To notify the IRS, mail IRS Form 8822, Change of Address, to the address listed on the form’s instructions. For taxpayers who purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, they also should notify the Marketplace when they move out of the area covered by their current plan.
  • For name changes due to marriage or divorce, notify the Social Security Administration so the new name will match IRS and SSA records. Also notify the SSA if a dependent’s name changed. A mismatch between the name shown on your tax return and the SSA records can cause problems in the processing of a return and may even delay a refund.
  • Some refunds cannot be issued before mid-February. By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds before mid-February for tax returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb 27, 2018, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.
  • Some Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers must be renewed. Any Individual Taxpayer Identification Number not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years will expire on December 31, 2017. Additionally, all ITINs issued before 2013 with middle digits of 70, 71, 72 or 80 (Example: 9XX-70-XXXX) will also expire at the end of the year. As a reminder, ITINs with middle digits 78 and 79 that expired in 2016 can also be renewed. Only taxpayers who need to file a U.S. federal tax return or are claiming a refund in 2018 must renew their expired ITINs. Affected ITIN holders can avoid delays by starting the renewal process now.
  • Those who fail to renew before filing a return could face a delayed refund and may be ineligible for some important tax credits. More information, including answers to frequently asked questions is available on
  • Keeping copies of tax returns is important. Taxpayers may need a copy of their 2016 tax return to make it easier to fill out a 2017 tax return. Some taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need to provide their 2016 Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI, to e-file their 2017 tax return.

Taxpayers who do not have a copy of their 2016 return and are existing users can log in to if they need their AGI. Otherwise the IRS will mail a Tax Return Transcript if requested online or by calling 800-908-9946. Plan ahead. Allow five to 10 days for delivery. Visit the IRS’ website to learn more about identification verification and electronically signing tax returns.