State Comptroller Peter Franchot is urging Maryland taxpayers who will file paper income tax returns and expect a refund to make sure their return is postmarked by Friday, April 10. His office  said it will temporarily stop processing paper tax returns on Wednesday, April 15 to reduce the number of state employees who must work on-site during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to make sure every Marylander due a refund gets it as soon as possible, especially during this economic crisis,” Franchot said in a statement. “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.”

Taxpayers planning to file electronically who anticipate refunds are urged to submit their state returns as soon as possible.

Most taxpayers anticipating refunds have filed already, Franchot’s office said. The deadline for individuals and businesses to file and pay their state income tax was previously extended from April 15 to July 15 due to the pandemic.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot

Fiscal and calendar year filers with tax years ending January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 are also eligible for the July 15 payment extension. The due date for March quarterly estimated payments also has been extended to July 15.

Nearly 86 percent of the more than 3 million returns the comptroller’s office processes annually are filed electronically, according to Franchot’s office. Franchot said he has always encouraged taxpayers to file electronically.

“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 statement said.

Processing electronic filing requires minimal human intervention, and is more cost-effective and secure from fraud and identity theft, his office said.

The comptroller’s office said it is monitoring the situation and might alter the schedule if necessary.

Business owners’ SUT tax deadline extended to June 1

Franchot is reminding business owners that their Maryland Sales & Use Tax (SUT) for April is not due until June 1. Interest and penalties will be waived for business taxpayers who file and pay by that date.

Businesses that have already submitted their April SUT may request a refund by emailing taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov

“This extension provides relief to Maryland’s business owners in this time of turbulence and uncertainty,” Franchot said Thursday in a statement. “In addition to prioritizing the safety of our citizens, we must also protect the financial health of our economy.”

The extension applies to certain business returns with due dates during the months of March, April and May for businesses filing sales and use tax, withholding tax, and admissions & amusement tax, as well as alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel excise taxes, tire recycling fee, and bay restoration fee returns, according to the statement.

The comptroller has set up a dedicated email address — taxpayerrelief@marylandtaxes.gov — to for extension-related questions. Business owners and individuals also can call the comptroller’s ombudsman at ombudsman@marylandtaxes.gov.