ANNAPOLIS – Auditor Peter Franchot announced that processing of income tax returns for the 2020 tax year started on February 12th.
The later than usual start date allowed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) more time to implement changes related to federal COVID-19 aid packages.
The corporation tax return was approved on February 1st.
“The tax season may be shortened this year due to the pandemic, but my advice to taxpayers remains the same,” said Comptroller Franchot. “Submit early, submit electronically and submit carefully.”
Currently, the deadline for filing tax returns for 2020 is the traditional April 15th. If the pandemic results in changes to this deadline or other tax return due dates, the Comptroller office will share this information.
Taxpayers are encouraged to submit their tax returns electronically to ensure the fastest possible turnaround, ensure they receive all possible refunds, and avoid further delays with the United States Postal Service. A list of approved providers for submitting your electronic return can be found on the Comptroller website.
Maryland taxpayers can also use the agency’s free I-File system to file their state tax returns.
“I know a lot of Marylanders have lost their jobs, used up their savings and are barely getting around,” said Franchot. “They are counting on us to process tax returns and issue refunds quickly. We have always prioritized that and will do it again this year.”
Franchot recognizes that this year some Marylanders may have a hard time paying their tax liabilities due to the impact of the pandemic on individuals, families, and businesses. The agency will work with taxpayers who have financial difficulties and offer flexible payment plans.
Some key points taxpayers should keep in mind when preparing tax returns:
The federal stimulus payments signed in March and December are not considered income and are therefore not taxable.
Unemployment benefit is taxable.
Recipients of PPP loans (Paycheck Protection Program) granted do not have to pay taxes on the amount granted.
Maryland Department of Commerce COVID-19 grants are taxable if included in gross federal income.
Purchases of personal protective equipment or PPE are deductible for federal tax purposes, and currently these business expense deductions are included in Maryland returns.
Last month, Franchot extended the filing and payment deadlines for certain Maryland business taxes and quarterly estimated income tax returns and payments due in January, February, and March by April 15. No interest or penalties are charged, and no filing is required to request an extension.
Taxpayers with COVID-19-related tax issues or in relation to tax extensions can visit the dedicated COVID-19 page on the Comptroller’s website or email the Comptroller’s ombudsman at email@example.com. Please see the latest tax warning for more information.
Tax fraud is more common than ever. The Comptroller’s nationally recognized Questionable Return Detection Team identifies potential cases of fraud and suspends processing by tax advisors if necessary. All taxpayers should be vigilant about protecting their personal identification information and make sure they are working with trusted creators. The agency maintains a list of blocked creators on its website.
As in previous years, the Comptroller’s Office will not process a government tax return immediately if W-2 information is not on file with the agency. Employers must report wage information to the comptroller on or before January 31st.
Taxpayers can continue to receive assistance through the agency’s 12 branches. However, all personal customer service operations have been temporarily suspended. Virtual appointments can be scheduled online at https://www.marylandtaxes.gov/contact-us.php. Expand the Local Offices & Directions tab and look for the planning link under each branch.
The agency’s branches are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Telephone support up to the tax deadline on April 15 is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Taxpayers can also call 1-800-MD-TAXES or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, address and only the last four digits of your social security number in your email message. This will help generate a quick response to your query. Please send inquiries for tax forms to email@example.com.