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Comptroller to temporarily halt paper tax returns starting April 15th

| April 08, 2020, 04:44 PM

Comptroller Peter Franchot urges Maryland taxpayers seeking refunds to file electronically as soon as possible and reminds those who file paper income tax returns to make sure those returns are postmarked by April 10th to ensure processing. The agency will temporarily stop processing paper tax returns on April 15 in an effort to keep essential employees safe amid the spread of COVID-19.

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“We want to make sure every Marylander due a refund gets it as soon as possible, especially during this economic crisis,” Comptroller Franchot said. “We are taking this step to balance that goal with our commitment to protecting the health of our dedicated team processing those paper returns. Mailing your paper income tax return by April 10th will help ensure timely processing.”

Most taxpayers receiving refunds have already filed and the number of those anticipating refunds who have yet to do so and plan to file via paper returns is very low. The deadline for individuals and businesses to file and pay their state income tax was previously extended until July 15.

Since taking office in 2007, Comptroller Franchot has encouraged taxpayers to file electronically. Nearly 86 percent of the more than three million returns processed annually by the agency are filed electronically, while approximately 450,000 returns are manually submitted, costing the state about $5 each to process. It takes an average of 2.2 business days to process an electronically filed return compared to the average of 22 business days to process a paper return.

The decision to temporarily stop processing paper returns after April 15 will further reduce the staff required to work on site. The electronic filing process requires minimal human intervention, and is a cost-effective and more secure way to submit taxes at a time when tax fraud and identity theft schemes are on the rise across the nation.

The agency will continue to monitor the situation closely and could alter the schedule if necessary.

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