If a taxpayer files a timely appeal, the first step in the appeal process is an informal hearing. An informal hearing is a structured meeting between you and a hearing officer who is designated by the Comptroller to review any issues in dispute. After you file your written appeal, you will receive a Notice of Hearing that advises of the date and time of the hearing. If you believe that the circumstances of your case are straight-forward or based on a lack of documentation, including any missing information with your appeal may help to resolve your dispute without the need to appear in person for a hearing.
You must bring photo identification to the hearing. You may bring your attorney, accountant, bookkeeper, or anyone else who has knowledge of your case and can assist you in your presentation. If you elect to have someone appear for you at the informal hearing, that representative may be required to submit a power-of-attorney granting him or her authority to represent you in the proceeding. You may also bring witnesses you feel are necessary to your case, and you may request the hearing officer to subpoena other witnesses. The subpoena request must be in writing, received at least ten days before the hearing, and include an explanation of why the subpoena is necessary. Subpoenas are sent via first class mail unless you make other arrangements.
Depending on the type of hearing, the Comptroller may have other representatives in attendance at your hearing. For example, if the case is based on an examination of your books and other records, the auditor who examined them and/or the auditor's supervisor, is expected to attend. For cases arising from collection activity, a representative from the collection section will usually attend.
At the informal hearing, you may present any position you have regarding your case, and the hearing officer will consider any relevant information you present in support of your position. Assessments and refund denials are presumed to be correct, and you have the burden of proving otherwise. Therefore, you should be fully prepared to address all of the issues you intend to raise and have with you all of the records and documents that support your positions. Copies are usually acceptable, and anything you submit will be returned to you if you ask for it after the case is concluded.
The hearing officer may question you and your witnesses as well as the auditor to clarify any issues you may raise. The hearings are recorded, and witnesses may be placed under oath.
In the absence of a settlement, the hearing officer will issue a written Notice of Final Determination that explains the basis for the decision. If you disagree with the hearing officer’s determination, you must file an appeal with the Maryland Tax Court within 30 days of the date of the Notice of Final Determination.
If you have good cause, you may request to postpone the date of your hearing by submitting a written request at least five business days before the scheduled hearing date. You may be required to document any scheduling conflicts. Under Maryland law, failure to appear at an informal hearing is considered to be a withdrawal of your appeal, and the result is that the assessment or refund denial becomes final and nonappealable.
Online Hearings and Appeals Request