Comptroller's publications outline taxpayer rights Two new brochures are available on Web

Taxation

November 21, 1997|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

The state comptroller's office yesterday unveiled new publications spelling out the rights of taxpayers, including one enabling them to bring tape recorders to hearings.

Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein said his office began to review how it spelled out taxpayer rights after Del. Michael J. Finifter, a Baltimore County Democrat, introduced a "taxpayer bill of rights" in the General Assembly last year.

"I sat down with him and told him we had had a program on taxpayer rights since I've been comptroller," said Goldstein, who was elected in 1958. "I said we would do anything reasonable administratively."

Finifter, who is an accountant and tax attorney, said his bill had not been prompted by complaints, but by his feeling that "sound tax policy includes giving taxpayers written notice of what their rights are."

He described Goldstein as "very receptive," and said of the new publications, "I think it's good for the taxpayers." He said he wanted to review the publications further before deciding whether to introduce further legislation in 1998.

There are two new brochures. One, called "If you get a personal income tax notice," will be sent out with any notice in which the state says it believe someone owes back taxes or failed to file a return. The state sent 140,000 such notices this year, said Marvin A. Bond, assistant comptroller.

The brochure tells how to get questions answered or file an appeal hearing request.

The other is called "Your rights as a Maryland taxpayer," and will be distributed through branches of the comptroller's office. A condensed version will be included with state tax forms.

Both are also available on the World Wide Web at www.comp.state.md.us and through the comptroller's forms-by-fax number, 410-974-3299.

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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