Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published November 17, 2011

Caught in the Web: Comptroller Exposes Maryland’s Top 50 Tax Cheats

-Franchot Releases Names of Scofflaws Owing Nearly $21 Million-

Annapolis, Md. (November 17, 2011) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced the names of 25 businesses and 25 individuals owing nearly $21 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. The Comptroller’s Caught in the Web program lists the names of these 50 scofflaws on the agency's Website, which is a final effort to get them to pay their egregious tax liabilities.

"The Comptroller's Office is committed to ensuring that all taxpayers pay their fair share and the vast majority of Marylanders do," said Comptroller Franchot. "This program highlights the small subset of Marylanders who enjoy the benefits of this great state, but make conscientious efforts to avoid paying their taxes."

Created to send a message to those who have ignored all attempts by the state to collect overdue taxes, the program names the 50 worst delinquents owing the largest amounts in back taxes on the agency's Website for six months or until payment has been received or a payment plan is set up.

Since the program's inception in 2000, the agency has collected more than $26.5 million from delinquent taxpayers whose names appeared on one of the Caught in the Web lists. The most recent Caught in the Web list includes liabilities of nearly $5.8 million in back taxes, penalties and interest from 25 individuals and more than $15 million from 25 businesses.

Initially, the Comptroller's Office sends a letter to a delinquent taxpayer listing any unpaid charges incurred for taxes, interest and penalties and asking for return correspondence.

Should the taxpayer fail to pay, enter into a payment plan, or provide a qualifying reason for having not yet paid, the Comptroller's Office may then:

-file a lien
-garnish wages
-prevent renewal of state business licenses
-prevent renewal of professional and occupational licenses
-attach assets (including bank accounts)
-intercept state and federal tax refunds
-file an estimated assessment for taxes due in unreported periods
-issue a summons to appear at a hearing to revoke a sales tax license or initiate other legal processes
-suspend state payments if the taxpayer does business with the state

Taxpayers, who either fail to contact the agency to satisfy their tax liability or enter into an agreement to do so, are then eligible to be included in the Caught in the Web program. These individuals and businesses are notified prior to the list's posting that they will be included.