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Taxing returns; Taxpayer confusion: C'mon. There must be an easier method for calculating the local piggy back tax.


MARYLAND taxpayers may get a tax cut this year, but the cost is a more complicated state tax return. And it didn't have to be this way. Last session, the General Assembly reduced the state's top tax rate, cutting state income taxes about $24 for a family of four earning $40,000. But the lower tax rate won't apply to the piggy-back tax Maryland residents pay to their local governments. As a result, what had been a simple calculation has become overly difficult. To remind taxpayers that their counties refused to give up any revenue, the state requires taxpayers to figure their piggy-back rate by going through eight lines of additional calculations. The General Assembly should stop this pettiness and investigate user-friendly ways of simplifying the piggy-back calculation. One possible solution would require the reluctant Comptroller's Office to use mathematical formulas to develop tax tables for future tax forms that would help a taxpayer in any county determine the appropriate piggy-back tax rate. After all, it makes sense to simplify life for the people who are footing the bill for government -- at all levels.

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