About Councilmember Navarro

I serve as the Council Vice-President and the Montgomery County Councilmember representing District 4. I am the chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and also serve on the Health and Human Services Committee.

Get The Latest News

Sign up to receive latest news

January 15, 2010

Comptroller Franchot Unveils Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Consumer Guide

Peter Franchot


NEWS release

Comptroller Franchot Unveils

Taxpayer Bill of Rights, Consumer Guide

-Offers Tips to Taxpayers on Selecting a Legitimate Tax Preparer –

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 14, 2010) –Comptroller Peter Franchot today released the Maryland Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and Consumer Guide, a publication designed to help Marylanders navigate the taxpaying process. The Comptroller unveiled the guide at his Baltimore office along with City Comptroller Joan Pratt and at a separate event at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and consumer protection officials.

“I believe in transparency of government. Taxpayers deserve to know their rights as well as what they can expect from my office when filing a tax return,” Franchot said. “This publication is designed to not only inform Marylanders of their rights but to protect consumers from fraudulent tax preparers,” he added.

County and city officials applauded Franchot’s efforts.

Montgomery County prides itself on its reputation for protecting its consumers from fraudulent and unfair business practices,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “And, because we place such a high premium on consumer protection, I applaud the efforts of Comptroller Franchot in launching this consumer bill of rights. An informed consumer is a better-protected consumer and I hope everyone who is filing a tax return this year will take a moment to read this important consumer guide.”

Baltimore City Comptroller Joan Pratt added, “I cannot stress enough how important it is for our taxpayers to have a clear understanding of their tax rights; and that the choices they make will affect their tax responsibilities. Comptroller Franchot’s Maryland Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and Consumer Guide is an excellent means of giving our taxpayers the ability to make good tax preparation choices.”

In addition to stating the rights all taxpayer can expect, the guide features tips on selecting a tax preparer. At today’s events the Comptroller offered the warning signs of a potentially-shady preparer. A tax preparer should never:

- promise you a refund before looking at your financial information

- guarantee you a larger refund than another preparer

- ask you to sign a blank or incomplete return

- ask you to sign a return in pencil

- claim they have a special relationship with the Comptroller’s Office or IRS

“We applaud Comptroller Franchot’s commitment to protect Maryland taxpayers from fraudulent and unqualified tax preparers. Along with the IRS’s new efforts to license paid tax preparers, the Comptroller’s bill of rights and consumer guide will help educate taxpayers across the state and help hold the entire tax preparation industry to a high professional and ethical standard,” said Robin McKinney, director of the Maryland CASH Campaign, a consumer protection organization.

At today’s events, the Comptroller also warned of the risks of Refund Anticipation Loans and Refund Anticipation Checks, high-interest loans designed to get taxpayers their refunds quickly but at a high price.

“RALs and RACs are nothing more get-rich-quick schemes that prey on our most vulnerable taxpayers. They are unnecessary for taxpayers to get a quick refund,” Franchot said. “Simply file a return electronically and choose direct deposit to get your refund in 72 hours,” he added.

More than 1.6 million taxpayers recognized the safety and simplicity of electronic filing last year- an increase of nearly 10 percent over last year. Additionally, efiling saves the state millions in processing costs. Since its inception in the 1990s, electronic filing has saved the state more than $18 million.

The Comptroller’s Office offers free tax preparation at any of its 11 branch office across the state. Taxpayers simply need to bring a completed federal return and a copy of their W2 information and state officials will prepare and electronically file their return for FREE. Visit www.marylandtaxes.com for a list of branch office locations.



Post a Comment