Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot made his second trip to the UpCounty area this week when addressed the morning meeting of the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning at GrillMarx Steakhouse and Raw Bar in Clarksburg.
“I am delighted to be here and delighted to see a large turnout,” said Franchot as he addressed a room of more than 50 Clarksburg area business leaders. On Monday, Franchot was at Capt. James E. Daly Jr. Elementary School in Germantown to award the Silver Hammer awards to the school’s principal and building services staff.
Franchot presented Ibi Sofillas, president of the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce with a Comptroller’s Medallion for her work to re-energize the once floundering Clarksburg Chamber.
The Clarksburg Chamber has a renewed energy in recent months. Meetings prior to October 2015 would draw just 10-12 members whereas a meeting in January saw nearly 50 members of the Clarksburg business community engaged and ready to connect, according to a press release from the organization.
“Having Comptroller Franchot join us at our Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting was a fantastic vote of confidence for our growing chamber,” said Sofillas. “Since January, we have increased membership from 0 to 80 members strong, with 50 in attendance this morning. This growth mimics the exponential growth that Clarksburg has seen and will continue to see over the coming years.”
“Comptroller Franchot’s time and willingness to come to our event shows us that our CCC and the Clarksburg Business Community is getting noticed at the state level, and that is a gigantic step for us,” added Sofillas.
Franchot congratulated the members of the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce for being re-energizing their organization, before speaking about the 2016 Maryland State Tax season.
“We just finished 2.8 million tax returns,” said Franchot, “and we are turning over $2 billion in refunds to Marylanders in what is essential an eight week period. This is a very complicated and technical effort. I have a tremendous staff which organizes this system. Our average refund takes 2.1 business days upon receipt of an electronic tax return. So we deposit your money into your bank account 2.1 business days after we receive the electronic filing, and no one else in the country can come close to that.”
Franchot told the Clarksburg Chamber that his office has seen a dramatic increase in the number fraudulently filed tax returns in recent years.
“If your tax return is held up it is likely due to this avalanche of hacking of financial information from government agencies and corporations because we have seen a wave of tax fraud in recent years. My first year as Comptroller we had 314 fraudulent tax returns totaling about $300,000, currently I am seeing 50,000 fraudulent tax returns in a little over a year, totaling almost $50 million. He explained that sometimes honest returns end up getting flagged as fraudulent which require a bit of investigation before we release the refund.”
He explained that sometimes honest returns end up getting flagged as fraudulent which require a bit of investigation before we release the refund.
Also today, Franchot has released state’s Unclaimed Property listings. The Unclaimed Property basket is chock full of possessions and financial payoffs that banks, insurance companies, and financial institutions told the state they were unable to return to the rightful owners. Any of the goods not claimed by those who own it eventually goes to the state.
Since he was first sworn in as Comptroller in 2007, Franchot has been trying to get Marylanders to claim their property. The list, which is available online at www.marylandtaxes.com and also published as an insert to more than 30 newspapers statewide. It only takes a minute to check for your name alphabetically.
Top: Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot speaks to members of the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce at their meeting held at GrillMarx Steakhouse on Wednesday morning.
Next: Comptroller Franchot presents Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce president Ibi Sofillas with a Comptroller’s Medallion.
Photo by Germantown Pulse.