Study: D.C. residents have biggest tax headaches in region

A new study shows what D.C. business owners and residents already know: Doing your taxes in the District is way harder than it is in Maryland or Virginia.

American University’s Kogod Tax Center commissioned a survey of tax practitioners in Greater Washington, asking them to rate their jurisdiction from one to 10 in four categories: Tax forms and instructions; taxpayer assistance; regulatory guidance; and administrative processes, such as issuing refunds and resolving disputes.

The results were pretty stark. Virginia ranked tops in all four categories, closely followed by Maryland. The District, on the other had, got a big thumbs down, getting an overall approval rating that’s about half that of Virginia.

“The most surprising finding of the survey was the gap between how tax practitioners rated Virginia and Maryland on one hand, and the District of Columbia on the other, in every aspect of the tax compliance process,” said David Kautter, managing director of the Kogod Tax Center in a statement. “In some cases, the District was rated less than half as well as either of the other two jurisdictions.”

The areas where D.C. was rated the worst: Timely issuance of tax forms and knowledge of tax personnel.

“Based on our survey, taxpayers in Virginia and Maryland will have an easier time understanding the state tax forms they are working on, and getting help when they encounter something they don’t understand. They will have an easier time getting refunds and resolving disputes should they arise,” Kautter said. “Taxpayers in the District look to have a more difficult road in front of them.”

See how overall results broke down in the table below. Here are more detailed tables.

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