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WAMU 88.5 Washington:Maryland Is 500,000 Tax Returns Short Because Of Coronavirus, Top Finance Offic

Maryland’s top finance official expected to have far more state tax returns filed by the end of the filing deadline, but the state estimates about 500,000 returns have yet to be be filed.

Comptroller Peter Franchot reported Wednesday that Maryland has processed 2.73 million tax returns so far — hundreds of thousands of additional returns fewer than expected because of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic downturn.

“We understand how screwed up this whole tax season is,” Franchot told DCist/WAMU.

Marylanders have until July 15 to file state and federal taxes — an extension to the usual April 15 tax filing deadline. The deadline was extended for 90 days to allow taxpayers more time to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus. At this time last year — three months after the usual tax deadline — about 225,000 returns were outstanding.

Franchot is encouraging people to send in their tax returns even if they file late or are worried about not being able to pay. He said Wednesday that he had directed the state’s compliance and enforcement division to be “very light handed because of the volatility and the unusual aspect of the coronavirus tax season.”

Franchot said officials should have an idea of how much revenue the state has for its budget based on tax filings by the end of August. Earlier this year, state officials predicted that the state is likely to lose about $1 billion in revenue in the 2021 fiscal year because of the recession.

Once the state has an idea of how much revenue it actually has, the Board of Public Works and the General Assembly are expected to vote on more budget cuts. Earlier this month, the board approved $413 million in cuts, and delayed about $200 million in cuts in anticipation of the tax filing deadline and federal aid to states.

Franchot said he hopes to deliver the revenue numbers to the governor’s office by late August or early September. Officials will then proceed with budget cuts.

“The sooner we can make reductions the better off [the budget] is,” Franchot said.

State Treasurer Nancy Kopp was the only board member to vote against budget cuts, saying she preferred to wait until after September to make any additional reductions.

“I think it would be better to set out the problems and to set out where we are going to have to be looking for cuts,” Kopp told the board earlier this month. “Educate people and get input from the public and then way before January, Mr. Comptroller, start doing the cuts in an incremental serious way as we begin to understand what our state fiscal posture is.”

https://dcist.com/story/20/07/15/maryland-missing-tax-returns-july-15-deadline-coronavirus/


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