Dsc06589 The top of the Baltimore Hyatt Hotel overlooking the Baltimore Inner Harbor was the site of MACPA’s annual holiday luncheon for the Comptroller’s Office. With over 80 attendees, it was a who’s who of the top tax minds in Maryland.

The luncheon featured over twenty top tax officials from Maryland, MACPA’s  State Tax Committee and invited members of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Taxation committee. The highlight of the lunch was Comptroller Peter Franchot who gave an update on the special session and an overview of his priorities. He was followed by Robert Young of the State Department of Assessments & Taxation.

Here are some of the highlights of the Comptroller’s remarks:

  • Maryland blew the special session – it was a chance to fix Maryland’s tax structure but ended up with quick fix amendments being done without much debate.
  • Sales taxes on computer services was wrong – difficult to comply with, easy to outsource to other states, difficult to collect & administer, and represented a tax on the knowledge economy which is critical to Maryland’s future. He expects that will be repealed or changed.
  • The new reporting requirements are overreaching and onerous and need to be fixed.
  • He said that he was an activist Comptroller who wanted to shape public policy and administer the state’s revenue.
  • He believes there is a lot of money from non-compliance – he wants to find those who are avoiding paying their fair share. He acknowledged the right of all taxpayers to pay the legal minimum. Those e who abuse the tax system should be stopped – we agree!

Robert Young of the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation followed with an update of the latest developments in real property taxation areas that every CPA needs to know:

1. Transfer of Controlling Interests will be taxable after June 30, 2008 – This means any real property transfers via corporate or partnership interests will be subject to transfer taxes. See an alert from DLA Piper for more information

2. Homestead Credit – This limits the amount of increases in your real estate assessments for your primary residence. This is not the homeowners credit and not subject to income limitations. Make sure your tax bill has “primary residence” checked off for the right properties. Look for information in your next property tax bills and you must file this one time application to receive the credit. You can get more information here

3. Ground Rent Registry – owner’s of ground rent must file a registration form with the SDAT under this new law before 2010 or forfeit the rents. Here is the new form Download groundrent_registry.pdf

Many rekindled old relationships or took the chance to form new ones. The event is focused on celebrating the working relationships and the spirit of cooperation between the Maryland tax authorities and the CPA and Law Professions.

Dsc06610The photo on right features Karen Syrylo, sole practitioner and legislative tax consultant to the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Andy Bareham of Gross, Mendelsohn & Associates, Ed Ben of SC & H Group, and Bev Richards of SC & H Group were on hand representing four years of leadership in the State Tax Committee and continuing the legacy of prior MACPA leaders who started this luncheon over 35 years ago!

Happy Holidays & thanks to our State Tax Committee and the men and women of Maryland’s Tax Divisions!

“Peace on earth and goodwill to men (and women)!

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