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Pay Your Taxes, Help The Chesapeake Bay

| April 03, 2011, 11:00 AM | 0 Comments

With the April 18 tax deadline fast approaching, Marylanders are encouraged to “Check Line 37” on their Maryland state income tax form and contribute to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund, a voluntary mechanism created to support Bay restoration and education programs and to protect Maryland’s endangered species. The fund, which is split evenly between the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, allows Marylanders to donate through their state income tax return to help the Bay and conserve Maryland’s native wildlife and endangered species.  In 2010, more than $1.1 million was contributed through the tax check-off, which funded Bay restoration initiatives, community stewardship projects and environmental education programs throughout the state.

“At tax time, Marylanders have a unique opportunity to help the Bay and Maryland’s wildlife by making a contribution to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot.  “Simply look for line 37 on your tax form, decide what you’d like to contribute, and then take pride in an action that helps preserve Maryland’s rich natural heritage and treasured Chesapeake Bay.”

The Chesapeake Bay Trust, the independent nonprofit foundation that receives half the proceeds generated from the Bay Fund, awards hundreds of grants each year to organizations that engage individuals and local communities in efforts to improve the health of the Bay and local waters.  Since 1985, the Trust has awarded more than $34 million in grants, including $4.2 million in 2010 alone.  And these dollars have a real impact: last year, Trust grants engaged 97,803 students and 42,000 volunteers who removed 553 tons of trash from Maryland streams and rivers, planted 115,665 native plants and trees, and restored 47 acres of wetlands, oyster reefs and streamside buffers.

“Marylanders care deeply about the Chesapeake Bay and they show their commitment at tax time by participating in the State’s income tax check-off program for the Bay,” said Chesapeake Bay Trust Executive Director Allen Hance. “Small contributions of $10, $25 or $50 add up in a big way and generate the funds that the Trust uses to support hundreds of community-based projects that get kids outdoors and help improve the health of Maryland’s streams, rivers and the Bay.”

Launched in 1990, the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund is one of the most successful voluntary tax check-off programs in the nation.  Last year, almost 46,000 Maryland state income tax statements were returned with contributions to the fund, which averaged $28 per donation.  To make your donation, simply complete line 37 on your Maryland state income tax form or ask your accountant.  Donations of any dollar amount can be made and all are tax deductible.  For more information on the Chesapeake Bay Trust, visit www.cbtrust.org, or for details on the Department of Natural Resource’s Wildlife and Heritage Division, visit www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife.

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