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New Year, New Tax Information; Helpful Filing Tips from Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has tax tips for the 2012 filing season

 

- Tax Filing Deadline is Monday, April 15, 2013- 

The new year is here and just as consumers are getting used to writing 2013 on checks, it’s time to start thinking about tax season. Comptroller Peter Franchot shared some important information today to assist taxpayers in completing their personal income tax returns.

This year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has pushed back the start date for filing personal current-year tax returns to January 30, and Maryland is following suit. Neither paper nor electronic returns will be processed prior to that date. The filing deadline for 2012 tax returns is Monday, April 15.

“We have less than three months until the April 15 tax filing deadline and my agency is available to help any taxpayer with questions or problems,” said Comptroller Franchot.  “I’m very proud of the work my staff does to help taxpayers year round, but especially during tax season.  My agency makes filing state taxes as easy as possible by offering forms online and providing free help and e-filing at any of the 12 branch offices.”

There are a few changes and tips for filing 2012 returns:

  • Tax Booklets - Tax booklets, forms and instructions are available from the Comptroller’s Website at www.marylandtaxes.com.  Taxpayers can find a limited supply of 2012 tax booklets at various libraries throughout the state, as well as at any of the Comptroller’s branch offices.  Taxpayers may also request a tax booklet by calling (410) 260-7951 or by email to taxforms@comp.state.md.us .
  • Hours – Branch offices will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, including Presidents’ Day (February 18).  Offices will also have extended hours on Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 15, to help taxpayers fill out and electronically file their tax forms for free.   
  • Libraries and Post Offices – The Comptroller’s Office no longer supplies all local post offices with tax booklets. We have sent a limited supply of tax booklets to requesting libraries.
  • What is needed to file - Before taxpayers file a Maryland income tax return, they are required to complete a federal income tax return.  Often the same documentation required to complete the federal income tax return is also required to complete the Maryland return.  Additionally, supporting documentation for Maryland credits and modifications may be necessary for preparing the Maryland return. For more information on credits, modifications and necessary documentation please go to http://individuals.marylandtaxes.com/taxforms/12forms.asp .
  • Discarding old returns - Generally, taxpayers should keep tax records for at least three years from the date of filing a return or filing deadline, whichever is later. 
  • New Income Tax Rates – The Maryland General Assembly has approved new income tax rates and rate brackets for individuals for all tax years beginning after December 31, 2011. See Instruction 17 in the resident tax booklet for the new tax rate schedules.
  • Local Tax Rate Changes - For tax year 2012, Anne Arundel County has decreased its local tax rate to 2.49% and Queen Anne's County has increased its local tax rate to 3.20%. For tax year 2013, Anne Arundel County has increased its local tax rate back to 2.56%; Talbot County has increased its rate to 2.40%; and Wicomico Count has increased its rate to 3.20%.   
  • Personal Exemption Amount - The exemption amount of $3,200 begins to be phased out if a taxpayer’s federal adjusted gross income is more than $100,000 ($150,000 for joint taxpayers). The $3,200 exemption is phased out entirely when the income exceeds $150,000 ($200,000 for joint taxpayers). See Instruction 10 in the Resident tax booklet for the reduced amounts. The additional exemption of $1,000 remains the same for age and blindness.
  • Dependent Form 502B – This form will be required to be attached to Form 502, Form 505 and Form 515 to determine what exemptions a taxpayer is entitled to claim. Taxpayers claiming more than two dependents on Form 503 must use Form 502.
  • Increased pension exclusion- Maryland's maximum pension exclusion, which is available to qualifying taxpayers 65 or older, increased from $26,300 to $27,100 for tax year 2012. 
  • Earned Income Tax Credit - Effective January 1, 2012, the Comptroller is required to publish the maximum income eligibility for the state earned income tax credit (EITC) on or before January 1 of each year. The Comptroller shall also notify the employers of such information, and the employers must notify each employee who may be eligible.
  • Subtraction Modifications - There are three new subtraction modifications created by the Maryland General Assembly for tax year 2012:

o     Gain resulting from a payment from the Maryland Department of Transportation as a result of the acquisition of a portion of the property on which your principal residence is located,

o     Qualified conservation program expenses up to $500 for an application approved by the Department of Natural Resources to enter into a Forest Conservation and Management Plan,

o        Payment received as a result of a foreclosure settlement negotiated by the Maryland Attorney General.

  • Farmers and Fishermen – The Comptroller will recognize the federal extension of the due date of the fourth quarter 2012 estimated tax payment from March 1, 2013 to April 15, 2013 for farmers and fishermen.

“In the interest of saving taxpayer money, and helping the environment, I always encourage every taxpayer to electronically file their returns,” said the Comptroller.  “E-filing guarantees a faster refund than sending it through the mail. Plus, it saves Maryland nearly $2 in processing costs.  Since its inception in 1990, e-filing has saved the state nearly $26.5 million in processing returns overall.  As always, each of the 12 branch offices throughout the state will assist you in completing and filing your tax return for free.”

            For more information on the IRS pushing back the filing start date, please visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Plans-Jan.-30-Tax-Season-Opening-For-1040-Filers. For more information on filing Maryland taxes, please visit http://individuals.marylandtaxes.com/incometax/taxseason.asp or call 1-800-MD-TAXES.

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