Saying the office she seeks is “about partnership, not partisanship,” Maryland comptroller candidate Brooke Lierman used a televised Oct. 18 forum at Goucher College to call for a cooperative, teamwork-driven relationship between the comptroller and the state’s tax attorneys and CPAs.

“The comptroller is the elected CFO of our state,” said Lierman, a Democratic state delegate representing Baltimore City. “We need somebody in that role who can embrace creative solutions and bring people together to tackle the challenges we face. I’m really excited about the work we can do together and build on the work that exists today, to be bold and do better.

“I value people — like CPAs and tax attorneys — who know what I don’t know,” she added. “I’m excited to be their partner, to listen and learn from them about what’s working and what’s not.”

Presented jointly by the MACPA and the Maryland State Bar Association, the forum was meant to allow the two candidates for comptroller to share their positions and ideas. Lierman’s Republican opponent, Howard County Executive Barry Glassman, was unable to attend due to a family health emergency. 

Lierman answered questions on a number of topics, including Maryland’s new private letter ruling (PLR) process approved by lawmakers earlier this year. 

PLRs allow taxpayers to get binding answers from the Comptroller’s Office to their tax questions. In turn, the taxpayers can then pay the right amount of tax at the right time, rather than years later after an audit or litigation. Several dozen other state departments of revenue have a similar process in place, and MACPA legislative volunteers have advocated for a private letter ruling process for some time. By establishing a Legal Division in the Office of the Comptroller and creating the PLR process, Maryland has taken a strong step in the fair and transparent administration of state tax laws.

Lierman said the PLR process is “essential both as a service to taxpayers and as a compliance tool.”

Another vital service to taxpayers, she said, would be the creation of a state Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, which would address many of the tax-related issues encountered by Maryland taxpayers and the tax professionals who serve them.

Lierman also would like to pave a path toward business success for Maryland’s entrepreneurs — particularly women of color, who are among the fastest growing demographics for entrepreneurship in the country.

“There’s no reason why Maryland shouldn’t compete with every other state in the nation when it comes to entrepreneurship,” she said. “We need to build a supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs.”

The comptroller candidates’ forum was sponsored by Rosen, Sapperstein & Friedlander, LLC

Watch the forum in its entirety on the Maryland State Bar Association’s YouTube channel

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