Five questions with Peter Franchot
1. What do I need to start getting together for my tax filing?
Before an individual files a Maryland income tax return, that individual is 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.
This documentation may include:
Taxpayer information (including the Social Security numbers, full name, birth date for all individuals on a return)
IRA/pension/annuity/profit-sharing plan records
Receipts for business expenses
Receipts for education expenses
Receipts for medical expenses
Receipts for travel expenses
Receipts for child care expenses
Receipts for charitable contributions
2. When is it safe to discard old tax file copies or documents, receipts, etc.?
Generally, an individual should keep tax records for at least three years from the date of filing a return or filing deadline, whichever is later.
3. If I want to give a gift of money to someone, do I need to fill out a form so they won’t have to pay taxes on it?
In most cases, the recipient of the gift will not be taxed for the value of the gift. However, in some cases, the donor of the gift may be responsible for paying a federal gift tax.–Maryland does not levy a gift tax. In most cases, both the recipient and donor of the gift will not need to file additional forms in Maryland. Note that a gift may have Maryland estate tax implications.
4. If I file early and tax laws change, what should I do? Will I be informed of a refund or to pay more?
The Comptroller’s Office is committed to informing Maryland taxpayers about changes in the law. If a taxpayer files a return, and there is a subsequent change to the law that affects the taxpayer’s return, the taxpayer is generally responsible for filing an amended return to report the effect of the law change.
5. What are good resources (Comptroller’s and IRS website, reputable preparer)?
The Comptroller’s website is an invaluable resource for individuals and businesses alike when it comes to tax information. In fact, you can even file your state taxes for free by going to www.marylandtaxes.com.
Some other good resources include the U.S. Internal Revenue Service at www.irs.gov.– The Maryland CASH Campaign site offers valuable tips and also information on how to receive free and safe tax preparation at locations across the state, www.mdcash.org. In addition, if you are searching for a reputable paid tax preparer, check the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for tax preparers that have registered with the state and have the required skills and certificates.–