Maryland Tax Court decides on statute applicable to Wynne refund claimants
The article immediately below on the Wynne case was authored by Karen Syrylo, CPA, an active member of the MACPA’s State and Local Tax Committee. The current article updates previous articles in the MACPA blog, including Wynne refunds: What Maryland taxpayers need to know, and Maryland offers more Wynne guidance, new form.
On September 19, the Maryland Tax Court ruled that the one-year period for filing a Wynne refund claim under Maryland’s tax code, Tax-General section 13-1104(j), applies only to the taxpayer who was the litigant in the “appeal of a decision of an administrative board” that gave rise to the refund.
That is, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Wynne, the one-year period specified in 13-1104(j) is applicable only to Mr. and Mrs. Wynne as the litigants in that case; all other claims are controlled by the three-year period required via section 13-1104(c).
The taxpayer in the case, Maizel v. Comptroller of Maryland, M.T.C. Nos. 16-IN-OO-1100 & 17-IN-OO-0011, had filed his Wynne refund claim outside of the required three-year period. The decision results in denial of refunds claimed by the taxpayer.
The taxpayer in this case had argued that:
- The clear wording of 13-1104(j) applied to all taxpayers who were impacted by the ruling in the Wynnes’ appeal. [Judge Silberg said no, the wording and history of the provision clearly applies only to the individual litigant who was successful in his appeal and thus entitled to refund as the result of the final decision in his appeal.]
- The State of Maryland had a duty to notify all taxpayers who were potentially impacted by the Wynnes’ ongoing litigation and failing that notification should not be permitted to apply the three-year period. [The oral argument involved much discussion of who knew what and when, including a description of how the Comptroller’s Office had worked with the MACPA et al to publicize the procedures for filing valid protective claims for refund even while the case was being litigated. Judge Silberg determined that the State must be allowed to have some parameters and procedures for refund claims and that the State had no duty to attempt to notify each and every taxpayer personally.]
Several additional taxpayers had filed appeals to the Maryland Tax Court with the same argument; those cases had been ordered held in abeyance pending the final order in the present case. We understand from Mr. Maizel that he plans to appeal the decision.
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