News Release, Office of Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot

Despite federal government shutdown, no delays anticipated with state refunds; file electronically and file early to prevent fraud

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 25, 2019) –With the 2019 tax season officially set to begin Monday, Comptroller Peter Franchot encourages Marylanders to file early to reduce the risk of tax fraud and to file electronically to ensure a quicker refund.

Comptroller Franchot also reaffirmed that while the federal government shutdown drags on, the agencywill continue to assist impacted workers who have outstanding tax obligations.

“The good news is our agency is prepared for the start of the tax season, just like any other year,” said Comptroller Franchot. “But it’s impossible to ignore the growing impact this senseless shutdown is having on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders and on the state’s economy.”

To protect taxpayers’ security, the Comptroller’s Office will not immediately process a state tax return if W-2 information is not on file with the agency. Employers are required to report wage information to the Comptroller on or before January 31.

The filing deadline for 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, but Franchot advised taxpayers not to procrastinate.

“Filing early gives tax cheats less time to steal your personal financial information and impersonate you,” added Franchot. “As always, our nationally-recognized fraud detection team stands ready to protect taxpayers and hold accountable bad actors who attempt to steal from hardworking Marylanders.”

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

The Comptroller’s Office does not anticipate the federal government shutdown having any impact in the processing of state returns or the issuance of state refunds. It’s unclear whether taxpayers will experience any delays with federal returns or refunds— the IRS has recalled employees to work without pay, but media reports have indicated there are a large number of no-shows.

An estimated 172,000 Marylanders and their families are directly impacted by the federal government shutdown, according to areportreleased earlier this month by the state’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates. Each bi-weekly payroll for which these residents are not paid results in $778 million of lost wages, which translates to about $57.5 million less in combined state and local income tax withholding, and $2.1 million less in sales tax collections.

Comptroller Franchot recently announced that federal contractors, furloughed employees and those working without pay who are currently on payment plans with the State may have their tax bills temporarily reduced or suspended to ease the financial burden while the shutdown lingers. Anyone seeking relief is encouraged to contact the Comptroller of Maryland’s Ombudsman’s office via email atombudsman@comp.state.md.usor via telephone at 410-260-4020.

For moreinformationon any tax-related matter, please visit the Comptroller’s website atwww.marylandtaxes.govor call 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...