Office of the Comptroller

Mission Statement

It is the responsibility of the Comptroller's Office of Maryland to provide the very latest tax and financial information to residents. In addition, it is incumbent upon every member of this agency to adhere to the three R's: treating taxpayers with respect, ensuring that we are responsive to taxpayer needs, and getting results in a timely manner.

Further, it is our mandate to provide a transparent, lighted path forward in government; opening the Free state's books and deciphering in the clearest way possible how taxpayer dollars are spent, and what Marylanders get in return for their hard work.

The Comptroller of Maryland and the entire agency stand at the ready to serve the taxpayers, vendors, and tax professionals of Maryland.

Our Organization

Organizational Chart

Contact Information

Comptroller of Maryland
mdcomptroller@marylandtaxes.gov
410-260-7300

Len Foxwell, Chief of Staff
410-260-7840

Sharonne Bonardi, Deputy Comptroller
410-260-7806

Anne Klase, Assistant Comptroller
410-260-4055

Brian L. Oliner, Counsel to the Comptroller
410-260-7808

About the Office of the Comptroller of Maryland

The Comptroller is one of four statewide elected officials in Maryland. Unique among state financial officers, Maryland's Comptroller has diverse and far-reaching responsibilities that touch the lives of every Marylander.

The Comptroller of Maryland is the:

  • Chief financial officer for Maryland
  • Collector of revenue for state programs
  • Provider of information technology services for most state agencies
  • Regulator of the state's alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel industries
  • Member of many state boards and commissions

You have to go back to the 15th century to find the origin of the word "comptroller," which means "financial officer." Interestingly, "comptroller" has also often been erroneously associated with the French word compte, which translates as "calculation."

A recent survey found a slight majority who prefer to say "comptroller" - with emphasis on the "p" - but almost half still use the old English pronunciation, "controller." Take your pick.

Nine other states, mostly eastern, use "comptroller" and four use "controller." Texas has a "Comptroller of Public Accounts" and South Carolina has a "Comptroller General." The rest use versions of treasurer or auditor, while two don't appear to have any financial officer with a title. Alaska has a "Commissioner of Administration." Maryland's 1851 Constitution calls for the "Comptroller of the Treasury" to "superintend fiscal affairs...for the support of the public credit."

Since the office was created by the Maryland Constitution of 1851, it has grown from a comptroller and one clerk to an agency of 1,100 employees. Peter Franchot, former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, was elected Maryland's 33rd comptroller in 2006.

The principal duty of this office is to collect taxes. With a budget of $110 million, the agency collects approximately $16 billion a year in state and local tax revenue and provides 12 branch offices throughout the state.

The major revenue sources are individual and business income taxes and sales and use taxes. The agency also collects taxes on motor fuel, estates, admissions and amusement, and alcohol and tobacco. It also tests motor fuel to ensure the quality of the product for the consumer.

By enforcing the collection of use tax, the comptroller's goal is to provide a level playing field for local businesses in competing with out-of-state retailers who sell through catalogs and on the Internet. Enforcement agents control the smuggling of untaxed cigarettes and alcohol into the state.

The comptroller audits taxpayers for compliance, handles delinquent tax collection, and enforces license and unclaimed property laws. The agency publicizes forgotten bank accounts, insurance benefits and other unclaimed assets of taxpayers.

The office provides information technology services critical to the daily operation of most state agencies. Acting as Maryland's chief accountant, the comptroller pays the state's bills, maintains its books, prepares financial reports, and pays state employees.

Links

The history of the comptroller's office parallels Maryland's history. Both have been filled with great leaders, un-sung heroes, intrigue, and conflict. Like Maryland's other elected officials, the 30 people who have served as comptrollers have affected the lives of citizens in many ways since 1851.

The "Comptroller of the Treasury" was created by the state constitution of 1851 to have "general superintendence of the fiscal affairs of the state." More specifically, the Comptroller's Office was created to keep watch over the State Treasurer whose activities were going unchecked.

The first comptroller, Philip Francis Thomas, had a salary of $2,500 and a staff of one clerk. This first office provided the money and accounting that made the government work and still does today. Comptroller Thomas and his early counterparts put together fiscal reports, printed piles of forms and collected revenue from lotteries and property taxes as well as license fees for peddling, hunting and fishing and getting married. The first comptrollers also spent a lot of their time signing forms until the office was able to obtain an official signature stamp in 1858.

Maryland's comptrollers have been lawyers, doctors, bankers, miners, newspapermen, teachers and farmers and all of them have been men. Some have had a huge impact on how we live today. Some have made a difference in a quieter way.

Comptroller Biographies

Tax Compliance

Implemented a state-of-the-art data warehouse program which, since its inception, it has assisted in the identification and recapture of more than $525 million in delinquent taxes.

Since taking office in 2007, Comptroller Franchot renewed the agency's emphasis on tax collection, recapturing more than $3.4 billion in delinquent individual income taxes and more than $3 billion in delinquent business taxes.

Entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with the U.S. Department of Treasury that allows Maryland to intercept federal vendor payments to satisfy state income tax liabilities.

Worked with the General Assembly in 2008 to pass a corporate reporting law that provides information about the revenue potential of combined reporting.

In 2017, Comptroller Franchot worked with Governor Hogan and the General Assembly to pass the Taxpayer Protection Act. The TPA provides an increase in the Agency's statutory authority to investigate and prosecute unscrupulous tax cheats and identity thieves and requires all tax preparers to be registered through the Maryland Department of Labor.

Aggressively cracked down on Delaware Holding Companies and other tax avoidance strategies, with legal victories in Maryland Tax Court against Talbot's and Nordstrom.

Field Enforcement

Partners with law enforcement agencies across the state to investigate and enforce the state's updated video gaming ban and works successfully to keep untaxed cigarettes and illegal wine, distilled liquor and beer off our streets.

Since 2007, our agents have made nearly 1,400 arrests for tobacco violations which resulted in the confiscation of more than 3.1 million packs of untaxed cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products, combined, with a market value of over $13 million and representing a tax loss to the State of Maryland in the amount of $4.6 million.

Customer Service

Introduced B-file online filing service for Maryland businesses. Along with the flagship I-file program for individual tax payers, Marylanders can file, free of charge, electronically on our website.

Launched online BillPay system which allows taxpayers to pay their income tax bill and, if they so choose, allows them to schedule a payment as late as April 30th.

Pioneered outreach efforts that have led to record numbers of electronically filed returns. In 2008, over 1.5 million returns were filed electronically-- the first time ever that the Office received more electronic than paper returns filed. In 2018 more than 2.7 million taxpayers took advantage of e-filing.

In 2019, the Board of Public Works approved the contract for the replacement of the state's tax software system. The new Compass system will further serve to increase efficiency and responsiveness to taxpayer needs.

Financial Stewardship

As a member of the Board of Public Works, Comptroller Franchot has worked with his colleagues to enforce the State's MBE participation goals and support the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

As Chairman of the Board of Revenue Estimates, the Comptroller organizes the Economic Advisory Forums. These forums have given the Board a chance to hear from respected CEOs and small business owners about current economic conditions, and to factor those assessments into the State's updated revenue forecasts.

As Vice-Chairman of the State Retirement and Pension Systems, Franchot served as a primary catalyst of a multi-billion asset reallocation that will diversify the System's assets, maximize our long-term returns on investment, and reduce our exposure to risk.

Through our Central Payroll Bureau, Comptroller Franchot helped to negotiate an agreement that will allow State of Maryland employees to contribute to the Maryland College Investment Plan (MCIP) through automatic payroll deductions.

The public's right to information about government activities lies at the heart of a democratic government. Maryland's Public Information Act (PIA) grants the people of this State a broad right of access to public records while protecting legitimate governmental interests and the privacy rights of individual citizens. PIA requests made for information owned by the Comptroller of Maryland will be reviewed and processed per all applicable laws. The Maryland Office of the Attorney General (OAG) ensures that state agencies fairly, expeditiously, and correctly implement the Act when requests are made, while also protecting rights of privacy and other public policy goals.

For general information about the Public Information Act, review Access to Government Records Under the Maryland Public Information Act, Appendix I-1 from the Maryland Public Information Act Manual (14th Ed., October 2015) which is provided in full below.

Submission of PIA Requests to the Comptroller of Maryland

All requests for records maintained by the Comptroller of Maryland pursuant to the Maryland Public Information Act should be submitted via this website, email or mail.

If requesting confidential taxpayer information, you will be required to provide proof of identity and/or authorization to receive the information requested. Authorization to receive confidential taxpayer information relating to a third‐party can be granted using Maryland Form 548: Power of Attorney, the form may be accessed at: https://www.marylandtaxes.gov/forms/current_forms/548.pdf.

Fees may be waived in certain cases of financial hardship or if waiver is in the public interest. To apply for a waiver on the basis of indigency, please complete the Affidavit of Indigency using the link below
http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/OpenGov%20Documents/Appendix_D.pdf

A new online submission form will be available soon.

OR

To download the Public information Act (PIA) Records Request Form, please click here. You can email the filled form to pia@marylandtaxes.gov or mail it to the below address:

Justin Hayes
80 Calvert Street
P.O. Box 466
Annapolis, MD 21404-0466
(410) 260-7696
jhayes@marylandtaxes.gov

The OAG maintains a current list of State, county and municipal PIA representatives. The PIA representative for the Office of the Maryland Attorney General is:

Barbara Bond
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 576-6405
bbond@oag.state.md.us
www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

The most commonly requested records contain:

  • Income Tax information
  • Sales and Use Tax information
  • Uncashed check information
  • Unclaimed property information
  • State employee salary information

Generally, requests for tax information relating to a third-party (someone other than individual making the request) must be accompanied by a completed and signed Maryland Form 548: Power of Attorney document. The form may be accessed at: https://www.marylandtaxes.gov/forms/current_forms/548.pdf

.
  • A completed and signed Maryland Form 548: Power of Attorney document is not included with a request for a third-party's tax information (see above).
  • The records are not within the possession of the agency. Please note that the Office of the Comptroller does not maintain records relating to individual Property Tax assessments. Property Tax records are maintained by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (https://dat.maryland.gov/newsroom/Pages/default.aspx).

If the search for and preparation of requested records exceeds two hours a fee may be charged. Not including the initial two hours, the fee is calculated by prorating the salaries of the staff and attorneys involved in the response by the actual time spent searching for and preparing the records for disclosure. For example, if an employee's salary is $100.00 per hour, and the employee spends four hours searching for and preparing the requested records, the fee assessed would be $200.00 (note again that the first two hours are not included in the fee). Additionally, if paper copies of records are requested there is a $0.25 per page fee.

Yes, fees may be waived in certain cases of financial hardship or if waiver is in the public interest. To apply for a waiver on the basis of indigency, please complete the Affidavit of Indigency using the link below and include it with your submission: http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/OpenGov%20Documents/Appendix_D.pdf

Maryland Public Information Act References and Revisions

A resource for both government officials seeking to meet their responsibilities under the Act and members of the press and public seeking access to information.

Updates to the Manual are maintained by the OAG, made online, and revision dates are posted in the table below.

Download the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the .PDF files below.

Chapter Content Revised Date
Overview Preface and Table of Contents October 2015
Chapter 1 Scope and Agency Responsibilities October 2015
Chapter 2 Right of Access to Records October 2015
Chapter 3 Exceptions to Disclosure October 2015
Chapter 4 Request Procedures October 2015
Chapter 5 Administrative and Judicial Review October 2015
Chapter 6 Copies October 2015
Chapter 7 Fees October 2015
Chapter 8 Remedies October 2015
Chapter 9 Research Access October 2015
Chapter 10 The Right to Correction or Amendment of Public Records October 2015
Chapter 11 Restrictions on the Creation and Collection of Personal Records October 2015
Appendix A Sample Request Letter October 2015
Appendix B Sample 10-Day Letter (or E-Mail) October 2015
Appendix C Sample Denial Letter October 2015
Appendix D Affidavit of Indigency October 2015
Appendix E PIA Annotated Code of Maryland General Provisions Article October 2015
Appendix F Model Regulations on Public Information Act October 2015
Appendix G Opinions of the Attorney General on the Maryland PIA October 2015
Appendix H Responding to Requests Under the Maryland PIA October 2015
Appendix I Access to Government Records Under the Maryland PIA October 2015
Appendix J Public Information Act Representatives October 2015

Comptroller of Maryland Transparency in Reporting

In serving as Maryland's fiscal watchdog, Comptroller Peter Franchot established the Spotlight on Maryland's Money web site in order to provide fiscal transparency in reporting of state revenues and expenditures so that the public knows where state revenues originate, how the revenues are spent, and how their own tax dollars are distributed.  Specifically, the Comptroller's Office was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which includes the financial statements of the State, as well as information required by Title 2, Section 102 of the State Finance and Procurement Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.  For a list of detailed reports, follow the links below:

Building upon his commitment to stellar customer service, Comptroller Peter Franchot has created a new agency unit dedicated to providing taxpayers with a high-level contact for tax issues that haven't been resolved adequately. The Ombudsman's Office is led by Dana Frank Buker, the office is dedicated to helping taxpayers navigate government channels and come to a swift resolution of their problems.

Ombudsman

If you have a problem with the Comptroller's Office that you are unable to resolve through routine channels, the Comptroller's ombudsman may be able to help.

The ombudsman can:

  • Respond to your inquiries about unresolved tax matters including mistakes made, undue delays, poor or misleading information or staff behavior;
  • Ensure that the appropriate staff person reviews your complaints;
  • Provide you with a written response about the Department's decision, if needed;
  • Inform you of what action, if any, you should take to resolve the issue, and
  • Assist you in understanding your rights and responsibilities under the Maryland Tax Statute.

The ombudsman cannot:

  • Review complaints relating to tax policy or legislation
  • Review matter that are before the courts
  • Automatically stop legal action being taken by the Comptroller's Office to collect a liability
  • Review complaints that other statutory bodies would deal with
Contact Information

Comptroller's Ombudsman: Dana Frank Buker
Telephone number: 410-260-4020
E-mail: ombudsman@marylandtaxes.gov
Address: 80 Calvert Street, PO Box 466, Annapolis, MD 21404-0466

Maryland Relay is a public service provided by the Maryland Department of Budget and Management/Telecommunications Access of Maryland, which enables standard telephone users to communicate with deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf/blind or speech-disabled people who use a TTY. For more information you can visit their web site, Maryland Relay or call the following numbers.

  • 7-1-1 (in Maryland)
  • 1-800-735-2258 (Anywhere)
  • 410-260-7157 or 410- 67-1967 (Baltimore Metro TTY)
  • 301-949-6032 (Wheaton TTY)
  • 1-888-VCO-WORD =1-888-826-9673 (for VCO)
  • 1-877-735-5151 (for ASCII)
  • 1-800-785-5630 (MD Speech-to-Speech Relay)
  • 1-900-386-3323 (900 call via MD Relay)

Contact Us by Phone

Topic Phone Number Toll-Free Number
Admissions and Amusement Tax 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Annapolis Branch Office 410-260-7060 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Baltimore Branch Office 410-767-1994 from Baltimore area 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Bulk Sales (on sale of business) 410-767-1579 from the Baltimore area 1-800-492-1751 from elsewhere in Maryland
Business Licenses 410-260-6240 from Central Maryland 1-866-239-9359 from elsewhere in Maryland
Central Registration Unit (for business taxes) 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Corporation Income Tax 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) from elsewhere in Maryland
Cumberland Branch Office 301-722-5741 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Electronic Funds Transfer Information 410-260-7980
(file and pay business taxes by telephone)
1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Elkton Branch Office 410-996-0465 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Employer Withholding Tax 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere
Estate Tax 410-260-7850 from Central Maryland 1-800-MD TAXES(1-800-638-2937)  from elsewhere
Estimated Income Tax 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) from elsewhere
Frederick Branch Office 301-600-1982 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Hagerstown Branch Office 301-791-7108 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Income Tax Refund Information 410-260-7701 from Central Maryland 1-800-218-8160 from elsewhere in Maryland
Income Tax Information 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) from elsewhere in Maryland
Landover Branch Office 301-459-0209 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Motor Fuel Tax 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Sales and Use Tax 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate Renewals 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Salisbury Branch Office 410-546-8100 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Tax Clearance Certificate 410-260-7813 from Central Maryland 1-888-784-0144 from elsewhere in Maryland
Tax Fraud/Non-Compliance-Individual Taxes 410-767-1322  
Tax Practitioner Hotline (for Tax Professionals) 410-260-7424  
Tire Recycling Fee 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Towson Branch Office 410-296-3982 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Unclaimed Property 410-767-1700 from the Baltimore area 1-800-782-7383 from elsewhere
Upper Marlboro Branch Office 301-952-2810 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Waldorf Branch Office 301-645-7818 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland
Wheaton Branch Office 301-942-5400 (local) 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland

Email Security Warning!

When sending an email to the Comptroller of Maryland, do not include information such as your full social security number (use only the last 4 digits), bank account numbers, routing numbers, or any other sensitive information.

If you wish to send sensitive information, email a description of the issue (without the sensitive data), and let us know you have confidential information to send. We will reply back via an encrypted email account, which will have "#secure#" in the email subject. In reply to the secured email, you may then provide the additional detail, including the sensitive information.

Feedback
feedback@marylandtaxes.gov
Let us know how the Comptroller's Office can better meet your needs through the services we offer and how we can make this site more useful to you.
Comptroller Peter Franchot
mdcomptroller@marylandtaxes.gov
Have a question or comment for State Comptroller Peter Franchot?
Alcohol Tax
att@marylandtaxes.gov
For manufacturers, transporters, and wholesale distributors of alcoholic beverages into, within and out of Maryland.
Bureau of Revenue Estimates
bre@marylandtaxes.gov
Provides staff support to the Board of Revenue Estimates, which is responsible for estimating state revenues. Maintains detailed data and forecasts on state revenues and the state economy.
cdcprograms@marylandtaxes.gov To report suspected tax fraud/non-compliance concerning individual taxes.
Central Payroll Bureau
cpb@marylandtaxes.gov
Responsible for issuing paychecks to all state employees, except those in the Mass Transit Administration. Handles deductions, payroll taxes, W-2 forms, and other payroll reports for state government.
Compliance Division
compliance@marylandtaxes.gov
The division's primary functions are auditing and collecting various business and personal income taxes. Operating sections include Administration, Auditing, Collections, and Hearings and Appeals.
Electronic Filing Program
efil@marylandtaxes.gov
For online filers, tax preparers, and software developers with questions or comments about Maryland's electronic filing program for personal and corporate income tax returns.
General Accounting Division
gad@marylandtaxes.gov
Maintains the state's accounting records and accounts for all state funds received and disbursed. Countersigns and distributes all State Treasury checks.
General Information
taxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov
A service which provides assistance and general information regarding Maryland tax returns, notices and other agency matters.
Motor Fuel Tax
mft@marylandtaxes.gov
For motor fuel dealers and diesel fuel sellers and users, commercial motor carriers, and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) members.
Sales and Use Tax
sut@marylandtaxes.gov
For business and individual taxpayers with questions about the state sales and use tax.
Corporate Information Reporting
cdcombinedreporting@marylandtaxes.gov
For business taxpayers with questions about corporate information reporting.
State License Bureau
slb@marylandtaxes.gov
Responsible for enforcing local revenue laws which require business licenses.
Tax Information for Tax Professionals
taxprohelp@marylandtaxes.gov
For tax professionals with questions about income tax law and client accounts.
Tax Forms
taxforms@marylandtaxes.gov
For requesting tax forms and instructions.
Tobacco Tax
att@marylandtaxes.gov
For manufacturers, transporters, and wholesale distributors of tobacco products into, within and out of Maryland.
Unclaimed Property
unclaim@marylandtaxes.gov
Financial assets, such as bank accounts, insurance benefits and wages that remain unclaimed for three years must be reported to the Maryland State Comptroller's Office. The comptroller serves as custodian of these unclaimed funds and maintains a database to help locate the legal owners.
Web Manager
webman@marylandtaxes.gov
Develops and maintains the pages and computer systems for the Maryland State Comptroller's Web site

If you are unsure of the appropriate e-mail address to use, please e-mail the Web Manager account.