Md. suspends tax filings from more Liberty Tax franchises

Baltimore, MD -- Three individuals hired by Liberty Tax Service three years ago to drum up business on East Monument Street.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced Tuesday that his office has suspended accepting tax filings from 16 more Liberty Tax Service franchises, less than a week after it stopped accepting filings from seven other Liberty Tax franchises.

The comptroller's office cited a high number of "questionable" filings, with characteristics such as returns that reported business income when the taxpayer did not own a business, inflated or undocumented business expenses, and dependents claimed improperly.


Jim Wheaton, general counsel and chief compliance officer for Liberty Tax, based in Virginia Beach, Va., said the tax-preparation company has a robust compliance program and expects its franchisees to comply with all federal and state requirements.

"Since we learned of Maryland's concerns late last week, we have provided all requested information to the state and have devoted significant efforts to looking at the offices identified last Thursday," Wheaton said Tuesday. "We offered additional training to our franchisees' employees in Maryland earlier this week, and will do so again in the coming days. We will also address any concerns with the offices Maryland identified to us this afternoon."


A manager who declined to be identified at one Liberty Tax location in Baltimore said she was unaware of the actions and could not comment.

Fourteen of the suspended Liberty Tax locations are in Baltimore — out of 30 in the city. There are more than 100 Liberty Tax franchises in Maryland.

Representatives for four other outfits that the comptroller's office also suspended accepting filings from Tuesday — two EB Tax Services locations, B & B Tax Services, and DE Brown, all in Baltimore — could not be reached for comment.

If taxpayers want to check to see whether the comptroller's office is processing returns from a particular tax preparer, or on their status for a previously filed claim, they are asked to contact the Maryland comptroller's office ombudsman at 410-260-4020.