Hogan urges eligible Md. residents to apply for tax refund

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot on Monday urged state residents who paid income taxes in another state between 2011 and 2014 to apply for a tax refund against the county portion of their income taxes.

An estimated 55,000 taxpayers are eligible, due to a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year. The total amount to be refunded could add up to more than $200 million, Hogan said. The Republican governor who campaigned against Maryland tax increases in recent years highlighted the need for residents to be aware that they may be eligible for a refund, so they could file for them before deadlines pass.

"I wholeheartedly believe that this money will do more good in the hands of our citizens than it will do in the hands of the government," Hogan said.

Franchot, a Democrat, said his office already has processed more than 4,000 claims. The state has returned about $53 million so far.

"We expect thousands more amended returns to be filed in the coming weeks," Franchot said.

The state has created a website to provide taxpayers with more information about whether they are eligible for a refund. The website is: www.wynnetaxrefund.maryland.gov .

The Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional for Maryland to in effect double-tax income residents earn in other states. The state allowed residents to deduct income taxes paid to other states from their state of Maryland tax, but that deduction was not extended on a local "piggyback" tax collected for counties and some city governments.

The state will cover the expense with a reserve fund set aside to pay tax refunds, though local governments will pay the money back.

The case was brought by two Maryland residents, Brian and Karen Wynne, who contended that payment of taxes in both Maryland and other local jurisdictions amounted to double taxation. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in May in their favor.

Montgomery County, Maryland's largest county, has a significant number of taxpayers eligible for refunds under the high court's ruling. Delegate Bill Frick, a Montgomery County Democrat, said the county will lose about $100 million in local revenue due to the refunds. He said the revenue hit underscored the need for the governor to allocate more education aid already approved by the Legislature.

Maryland Democrats, particularly ones from larger jurisdictions like Montgomery, have criticized Hogan for not fully funding an education formula for jurisdictions where education costs more.

"So, we've got an education system to run," Frick said. "We've got a transportation system to run, and it would be nice if Larry Hogan were helping us do those things. Doesn't seem to be his priority."

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