Taxpayer Rights

Your Rights as a Maryland Taxpayer

Individuals and businesses remitting income, sales and use, admissions and amusement, motor fuel and/or alcohol and tobacco taxes have many rights under state law and the administrative policies of the Comptroller's Office. It is a pleasure to provide you with this summary of your rights under Maryland law and the policies I have established as state comptroller to ensure fair treatment for all taxpayers.

For more information regarding hearings, appeals and audits, visit the section on Tax Compliance.
  • fair and courteous treatment under the law.
  • clear and comprehensive instructions to help you comply with the law
  • free assistance and personal income tax return preparation at any branch of the Comptroller's Office
  • a copy of a previous filing period tax return at no charge, when requested in writing
  • strict confidentiality of your tax records, within the provisions of the law
  • inspect any record held by the Comptroller's Office containing personal information about you

The Maryland Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and Consumer Guide: To ensure all taxpayers understand their rights and are informed when filing their taxes, the Comptroller's Office has created the Maryland Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and Consumer Guide. This publication is designed to educate taxpayers on how to select a tax preparer, their rights and what they can expect when filing a return.

You have the right to file an appeal if you are assessed additional tax or your refund is denied. If you have received a notice, call the phone number on the notice to determine what you need to do to either resolve the issue or file an 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 all of the issues in dispute. You may bring your attorney, accountant, bookkeeper, or anyone else who has knowledge of your case and can assist you in your presentation. 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, or his or her supervisor, is expected to attend. For cases arising from collection activity, a representative from the collection section will usually attend.

At the informal hearing, the hearing officer will listen to any position you have regarding your case and will consider any 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.

If you have good cause, you may postpone the date of your hearing via a written request submitted at least 5 business days before the scheduled hearing date.

If you wish, you may contact the hearing officer in advance of the hearing date to discuss payment plans or to forward documentary evidence in support of your case.

For additional information about Hearings and Appeals, visit the Appeals section or you may request a hearing online.
Personal income and sales and use taxpayers:
  • may file a claim for refund of individual income tax within three years of the date of the filing of the original return or within two years of the date of payment of the tax, whichever is later
  • may file a claim for refund for sales and use tax within four years of paying the tax
  • are entitled to prompt action on a claim
  • may be entitled to interest under certain circumstances beginning 45 days after a claim for refund is made, unless the overpayment resulted from taxpayer error or was the result of excessive withholding or estimated tax
  • may write a letter to the Compliance Division requesting an informal hearing if any part of a refund claim is denied
  • may file an appeal with the Maryland Tax Court within 30 days of a final determination by the hearing officer denying any part of a refund claim
  • may file further appeals to higher courts after the Maryland Tax Court decision, if necessary
You have the right to:
  • have your return examined in a manner reasonably convenient to you
  • a written explanation of the audit, hearing or collection process
  • represent yourself or have someone represent you when your return is examined
  • know which records you will need to verify your return or support your claim prior to any audit or collection meeting
  • know the reasons for any proposed change in your tax liability and to receive an explanation of anything you do not understand
  • receive a written notice detailing any adjustments made to your return and stating any balance due or additional refund developed
  • a reasonable payment plan if you owe additional taxes. The Comptroller's Office must protect the state's interest when offering a lengthy payment plan by recording a tax lien in the appropriate circuit court
For additional information see My Individual Return Was Audited or My Business Was Audited.
You have the right to file an appeal if you are assessed additional tax or a fee or denied a refund. If you receive a notice from the Comptroller's Office, please review the instructions in the notice. If you dispute the tax assessment or refund denial, you must file a written appeal within 30 days of the date of the notice. For your convenience, you can submit your request in the following ways.
  1. You can file your request online
  2. You may send your request by e-mail
  3. Your request may be sent by mail to: Comptroller of Maryland, Hearings & Appeals, 301 West Preston Street, Room 315, Baltimore, Maryland 21201
If your appeal is timely filed, you will be eligible for an informal hearing. If you are dissatisfied with the final determination made by the Comptroller's Office, you may appeal to the Maryland Tax Court for a de novo review within thirty (30) days of the mailing of the notice of final determination.

For additional information, please see our webpage available at Appeals and our Frequently Asked Questions about Hearings and the Appeal Process.

The Comptroller of Maryland respects your privacy and the confidentiality of your tax records. We keep all the information we collect at this site strictly confidential, and we use the latest technology to secure the data on this site.

Let's start with what we don't collect. We don't collect or capture names; home, business, or e-mail addresses; telephone numbers; or account information unless you voluntarily give us that information for a specific purpose. If you do give us that information, we use it only for the stated purpose. We don't use cookies to track visitors to our Web site; however, for some of the interactive applications we do use them to hold your session information. Once you finish the application the cookie is removed.

Our web server software automatically logs the following information every time someone visits our Web site:

Information We Collect

Information Definition
Date Date the visit occurred
Time Time the visit occurred
Client IP Internet Protocol address of the visitor
Server IP Internet Protocol address of Web server accessed. This will always be the IP address of our Web server. We do not and cannot track sites you visit other than our Web site.
HTTP Status Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) status or error code
HTTP Request URL Identifies the Web page or file requested
Bytes Sent Amount of data sent from the Web server to a visitor during that connection
Bytes Received Amount of data sent from the visitor to the Web server
User Agent Type of Web browser or client software that made request to the Web server
Referrer Uniform Resource Locator (URL) that referred a visitor to the requested file
Protocol Version Version of HTTP used by the visitor's Web browser software

How We Use the Information

We do not and will not sell this information or distribute it to anyone outside the agency.

We use the information we gather from your visit to help us improve our Web site. For example, by tracking how many people visit the Web site, when they visit, and the pages they visit, we can give visitors more of the kind of information they want and need. And, by tracking client software (e.g., browser type), we can avoid using features on our site that visitors cannot view or use.

Laws That Protect Your Privacy

The privacy of all tax information, including any information you submit to our Web site or information accessed through our Web site (such as the status of your refund), is protected by the Tax General Article of the Maryland Annotated Code, Section 13 - 202. The tax confidentiality law prohibits any state employee from divulging confidential tax information.

If you have any questions....

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