Working for Taxpayer Fairness and Convenience
Recognizing the extraordinary benefits of e-filing to both the state and its taxpayers, Comptroller Franchot developed legislation that requires all tax preparers who prepare 100 or more returns to file electronically. This will save Maryland millions of dollars in processing costs, ensure greater accuracy and privacy in the tax filing process, and accelerate the distribution of refund checks.
In an effort to make the tax filing process as convenient and user-friendly as possible, Comptroller Franchot supported successful legislation (HB 883lSB 698) that allows taxpayers to deposit refund checks into at least two bank accounts.
In a response to the largest case of investor fraud in U.S. history, Comptroller Franchot's office developed legislation that would have enabled victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme to gain a measure of financial relief. Senate Bill 1069 would have reflected recent changes in the federal tax code by allowing investors to claim a theft-loss deduction equal to 95 percent of their investments.
Comptroller Franchot supported Senate Bill 785, which extends the State's existing inheritance tax exemption to domestic partners. This legislation allows for uniformity with existing tax laws in cases where property is being passed down to a loved one. This legislation strengthens and protects families without regard to sexual orientation.
Supported legislation, sponsored by Delegate Galen Clagett, that would have allowed the Comptroller's Office to withhold unclaimed property from recipients who are delinquent in child support payments.
As a result of the bill hearing, Comptroller Franchot searched the Unclaimed Property database for child support delinquencies and uncovered 1,700 delinquent parents who, in total, owed their families more than $670,000.
Improving Maryland's Business and Economic Climate
Maintaining his record of strong support for Maryland's Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program, Comptroller Franchot supported successful legislation (HB 471lSB 489; SB 21 1) that created new opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses by expanding the criteria for MBE eligibility.
Supported successful legislation (HB 389lSB 61 1) designed to safeguard the integrity of the State's procurement process and protect the MBE program from fraud and abuse.
A strong advocate of Maryland's globally recognized life sciences industry, Comptroller Franchot supported successful legislation (HB 493) that helped ensure the continued success of Maryland's Biotechnology Tax Credit, expanded opportunities for its application and attracted greater investment in our state's growing biotech companies.
Supported the O'Malley Administration's successful legislation that prohibits construction companies and landscaping businesses from misclassifying their employees as independent contractors. Such misclassification results in a substantial loss of tax revenue and creates an uneven playing field for those who adhere to the rules. By establishing strong enforcement mechanisms, the legislation provides important protections for both law-abiding businesses and workers.
Continuing his support for Maryland's fast-growing and nationally acclaimed wine industry, Comptroller Franchot supported legislation that provides Maryland-based wineries the chance to host more successful wine-tasting events and create a more enjoyable experience for both local consumers and tourists. In July 2011, a new law, passed by the Maryland General Assembly, allows citizens to have wine shipped directly to their homes. The initiative offers better consumer choice and aids wineries in reaching customers across the state. Prior to this legislation, Marylanders could only purchase wine from in-state retailers which frustrated many who couldn’t find their desired smaller boutique wines.
Safeguarding Maryland's Natural Resources
A steadfast advocate of land preservation as a member of the Board of Public Works, Comptroller Franchot supported successful legislation that allows the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to issue bonds for open space and farmland acquisition, and finance the bonds with transfer tax proceeds.