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Owe back taxes in Maryland? Get ready for tax amnesty on Sept. 1

If you or your organization has failed to report, under-reported or failed to pay appropriate Maryland taxes in the past decade or so, you need to be aware of the state's upcoming tax amnesty period.

To get tax amnesty, you need to act now. The amnesty only lasts from Sept. 1 to Oct. 30, and you need time to prepare.

Governor Hogan signed the bill authorizing the tax amnesty in April, but it's crucial to get started right away, or you might miss your chance. The amnesty period begins Sept. 1 and ends Oct. 30, and taxpayers in certain situations will need to come to an agreement with the Comptroller beforehand.

What are the main benefits of the tax amnesty?

  • If you file and pay within the amnesty period, Maryland will drop the civil penalties and charge you only half the accrued interest.
  • In most cases you'll be immune from criminal tax charges and penalties for the affected returns.

What's covered by the amnesty?

Unfiled or inaccurate Maryland tax returns and delinquent taxes from 2014 or earlier, involving:

  • Personal income taxes
  • Local income taxes
  • Corporate income taxes
  • Sales and use taxes
  • Admissions and amusement taxes
  • Withholding taxes

However, you're not eligible if you previously participated in a Maryland tax amnesty program between 1999 and 2014. Also, 2003 and earlier tax returns won't qualify if they were eligible for the 2004 settlement period, which applied to returns for 2003 or before.

What do I need to do?

  • If you agree you owe the taxes and can afford to pay them, it's easy. All you have to do for a delinquent or inaccurate tax return is to re-file during the amnesty period and pay the taxes owed plus half the interest accrued.
  • If you agree you owe the taxes but can't pay them, you'll need to obtain a waiver from the Comptroller.
  • If you don't believe you owe the taxes but have not taken steps to appeal them, talk to a tax attorney.

In fact, we recommend discussing your situation with an experienced tax lawyer whenever you have questions about your taxes or are undertaking an unusual tax transaction like this. 

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