Comptroller of Maryland. Serving the People. Peter Franchot, Comptroller
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Transcript of Tax Chat with Comptroller Franchot - 04/09/2009

Tax Chat Moderator: Thanks for joining us. The Comptroller will be joining us in about 10 minutes.

Tax Chat Moderator: Please remember not include your social security number, phone number or any other personal information in your questions during the chat.

Tax Chat Moderator: If you have a very detailed question that requires you to include sensitive personal information please send it to

Tax Chat Moderator: Thanks to everyone for joining us. The Comptroller will be joining us in about 4 minutes.

Tax Chat Moderator: Welcome to the first on-line chat live from the Maryland Comptrollerís office. Comptroller Peter Franchot is here and ready to go. Before we begin taking your questions, please remember this online chat is public and not a secure forum. Therefore, do not include your social security number, phone number or any other personal information in your questions during the chat. If you have a very detailed question that requires you to include that type of personal information, please send it to, and the Comptroller will respond personally to you as quickly as possible.

Comptroller Franchot: I am very proud to serve as your Comptroller and I thank you for joining me today. One of my top priorities is to ensure that my agency is as efficient, effective, and innovative as possible. We take great pride in our reputation as the best Comptrollerís Office in the nation, and we want to take our standards for exceptional taxpayer service to an even higher level.

Comptroller Franchot: Todayís chat is just another example of how we are using the latest technologies and expanding our service delivery options. It is my hope that this chat will be an opportunity for you to learn more about the agency and a useful tool for you to get the answers to your last minute tax questions. Since we hope to take advantage of this interactive format more often in the future, we are using todayís chat as an opportunity to identify ways to make it simpler and more user-friendly for our taxpayers. To help us, please send any feedback from todayís session to me at I look forward to taking your questions.

Tax Chat Moderator: We will do our best to answer all the questions we get during the live chat, however, if we run out of time, please send your questions to that same e-mail address -- -- and we will get back to you with an answer. Now, letís start the chat.

Grace: I owe taxes and can't afford to pay for another two weeks. Any way I can get more time?

Comptroller Franchot: Grace,

Comptroller Franchot: Thank you for your question. If you file electronically by April 15 and choose the direct debit option for payment, you can schedule your payment to us as late as April 30 without penalties. Just another reason to file electronically!

Ray: A friend of mine told me he saw my name in the newspaper saying I had some money. Sounds fishy to me. Does your office have something to do with this?

Comptroller Franchot: Ray, your friend probably saw your name on our unclaimed property list. We are holding hundreds of millions of dollars for the rightful owners in Maryland. Congratulations, we may have money for you. Contact our website at to complete an unclaimed property search. Thanks for the question!

Nance: How does Maryland treat the taxing of property from an involuntary conversion? I'm referring to Garrett County farm land that the State purchased for highway use in 2008. Thank you.

Comptroller Franchot: Nance, thanks for the inquiry. You should comply with the federal tax laws for appropriate treatment of this transaction. That treatment will flow through automatically to your Maryland return. There is nothing in Maryland tax law which will alter the federal treatment. I am enjoying these questions. Keep them coming!

melvin: what forms do i use for an llc

Comptroller Franchot: Melvin, use form 510.

Tim: How is the sales tax deduction handled?

Comptroller Franchot: Tim, this is a federal deduction that is applicable to states that do not have an income tax. Does not Maryland.

Comptroller Franchot: Just to clarify... this federal deduction does not apply to Maryland. Excuse the typo!

TTC: I received a letter from your office regarding unemployment taxes for my LLC. I have no employees and don't plan to have any. What shall I do about this?

Comptroller Franchot: TTC... Glad to report I am not guilty here... another agency handles this. Contact the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation at 410 949 0033 or Let me know if they don't respond.

Gail: Good Afternoon Yes I am interested to know what the new tax rates are and where they can be found in the 2008 booklet.

Comptroller Franchot: Gail, good question. The tax rates can be found on page 9, instruction 17 of the 2008 tax booklet, available on my website at Good luck.

effie: This is my 1st time of doing my taxes by email and getting my refund the same way. It is faster and less trouble going straight to the bank I must say. I appreciate your doing all you can to save me a taxer money and making it convienent to pay my taxes. Thank You! Have a great day!

Comptroller Franchot: Effie, thanks for the nice comment and for doing the right thing. Electronic filing is good for the state because it is accurate, and saves processing money and is good for the taxpayer because it speeds up your refund. Glad you like the service!

ShaJan: I am a military spouse. My husband claims Washington State as his residence. I worked for 7 months last year (in Virginia). In other states I have lived, I file as a married filing single for the taxes on my salary. Can I do that in Maryland?

Comptroller Franchot: ShaJan, the answer is yes. Look at instruction 29 on page 16 of the Maryland 2008 Tax Book to learn more about guidelines for military personnel who are legal residents of another state. I served in the Army many years ago and I applaud you and your husband for the sacrifices you make in the defense of freedom!

Tax Chat Moderator: Please remember, we will do our best to answer all the questions we get during the live chat, however, if we run out of time, please send your questions to

Buck: What's the difference between i-file and e-file?

Comptroller Franchot: Buck, tough question! They are both ways for Marylanders to file electronically. I-file allows you to file for free on my website. E-file lets you file electronically through other software. Both are a cost effective and user friendly alternative to paper returns and more than half of the 2.8 million payers are going to use them this year.

Tax Chat Moderator: The Comptroller is getting a lot of questions. We will do our best to answer all the questions we get during the live chat, however, if we run out of time, please send your questions to

TTC: Good afternoon everyone. Controller I'd like to know if i need to collect , taxes for an e-commerce retail business?

Comptroller Franchot: TTC, here's the deal.If you have a physical presence in Maryland, you are required to collect sales tax from Maryland buyers for retail sales derived from your e-commerce business.

Tyler: I have closed down a business but continue to receive requests for quarterly filings. How do I terminate the accounts for that business?

Comptroller Franchot: Tyler, contact my taxpayer service office at 410 767 1300 and they will take care of you. I hope you open another business in Maryland!

Joselin: What should a taxpayer do if their former employer refuses to provide a W2?

Comptroller Franchot: Joselin, my taxpayer service office follows up on these complaints. Contact them at 410 767 1300 and tell them the Comptroller sent you!

aarthi: Question1: If my husband and I are doing Independent filing for the Federal tax, can we do joint filing for state tax? Question2: If we are to do independent filing for state, how do we file the single tax document sent by our Bank for joint savings account interest earned.

Comptroller Franchot: Aarthi, let me take your questions in order. If you file separately on the federal return, you must file separately on the state return as well. See page 3, instruction 7 in the 2008 tax booklet on this site. On the second question, if it is a joint account you must apportion it equally. Make a photo copy and attach it to your return if required. These questions are getting tough. Keep them coming!

ree: How long does it take to get your refund. I mailed mine on February 14

Comptroller Franchot: Ree, because of budget cutbacks, paper returns are taking weeks to process. That said you should have already received your refund check. Send an email to our confidential email account, with your contact information and my office will get right on it.

noname: If we put a new roof on our home (not a rental, we live in it), do we receive any tax breaks?

Comptroller Franchot: Unless it is a solar paneled roof, there are no state tax breaks. Sorry.

Me: Mr Franchot, I am going to be filing for unemployment for the first time in my life and wanted to know how this is taxed and how much it is taxed?

Comptroller Franchot: Generally unemployment benefits are taxable under federal and state law. The recent stimulus bill included a provision for partial exemption from federal taxes. More information is available on line at Thanks.

Oscar: What form do you use for education deductions

Comptroller Franchot: Oscar, what deductions are you talking about?

Comptroller Franchot: I am having a lot of fun answering your questions. What do you think about this interactive format?

Amy: Why are we being punshied for sending out tax returns in by paper, when that is all our accountant uses. I have sent my return in over 3.5 weeks ago

Comptroller Franchot: Amy, Unfortunately budget cuts have significantly slowed the process of opening paper returns. We are encouraging all tax payers and tax preparers to file electronically this year and in the future. We save $1.60 of taxpayers' money with every e-file and you get your refund within 72 hours. Everyone wins!

Tax Chat Moderator: We are in the final few minutes with the Comptroller. We will do our best to answer all the questions we get during the live chat, however, if we run out of time, please send your questions to

Willie: What kind of tax break do you get on a solar paneled roof and are there programs in the state that helps?

Comptroller Franchot: Willie, Thanks for considering solar panels. This is good for the environment. The state and federal governments offer tax credits and other financial incentives. To learn more about Maryland please visit the Maryland Energy Administration website at Today is a good day for solar power!

vikas: I am married and am trying to do an i file but unfortunately i file doesn't let me proceed without entering the SSN of my wife, and she doesn't have one. What should I do?

Comptroller Franchot: Vikas, you need to contact the Social Security Administration to get a taxpayer identification number for your spouse.

oriole: this format is refreshing. I am glad that the Comptroller has taken some time out of his busy day to chat online with the taxpayers.

Comptroller Franchot: Oriole, how are the Birds doing right now! Two big wins over the #### Yankees. Hope we win today! Seriously, thank you for your kind comments. We have really enjoyed this interactive experience and look forward to doing this again!

Tax Chat Moderator: Thank you Comptroller Franchot and thank you to everyone who joined in and asked so many wonderful questions. If we weren't able to get to your question, please feel free to send it to

Tax Chat Moderator: The transcript will be available on the site tomorrow, so feel free to check it out. Always log onto for the most up-to-date tax information.

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