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Baltimore Business Journal: Take a breath, you have extra time to file your Md. tax returns

Worried about paying your taxes on time in the current economic landscape?

Businesses and individuals in Maryland now have three extra months to file and pay their state income taxes, Comptroller Peter Franchot announced in a statement Tuesday night.

“Right now, Maryland taxpayers and businesses must stay focused on their health and keeping their lights on, both in their homes and businesses,” Franchot said in the announcement.

The call comes as Maryland, and most of the country, is practicing extreme social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The impact on the food service, entertainment, event and hospitality industries and their employees has been severe.

Maryland made the call to extend the income tax deadlines for state filings and payments shortly after the White House announced a payment extension for federal income taxes. For federal income taxes, individuals and businesses must file for an extension by April 15, but can defer payment until July 15.

For Maryland state income taxes, individuals and businesses have until July 15 to both file and pay and do not need to formally request an extension by April 15.

"Extending the due date for Maryland state individual and business income tax payments helps us keep cash flowing in our economy and into employees’ bank accounts," Franchot said in the statement.

The 90-day extension also follows other changes offered up by the Comptroller last week.

Companies in Maryland also have more time to file certain business-related taxes due during the months of March, April and May.

Those business filings include;

Sales and use tax

Withholding tax

Admissions and amusement tax

Alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel excise taxes

Tire recycling fee

Bay restoration fee returns

Spokesperson for the Comptroller, Susan O'Brien, said the idea behind the extensions are to give affected businesses and individuals a chance to recover from any losses related to social distancing and other actions aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus. The hope is that if concerns surrounding the virus are lowered by April, people will start going out and spending money again in time for businesses to be more stable by the time taxes are due in June.

"Fingers crossed it's not prolonged," O'Brien said.

In the meantime, the agency is still continuing to process refunds and O'Brien encouraged taxpayers to file as soon as possible — and to do so electronically and with a direct deposit route number. Most people who are waiting until the deadline to file are doing so because they owe money, she added.

For those expecting refunds, "the faster you file the faster you get it," she said.

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