Following confusion about how PTAs should apply the sales tax, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot's office announced Tuesday that the school organizations will not be sanctioned for failing to uphold the law.
"It is a tax obligation," said Caron Brace, a spokeswoman for the office. "But it's just impractical and cumbersome to aggressively enforce."
The issue arose when a member of the Maryland PTA sent an email to the comptroller's office asking about sales tax. Brace said a colleague responded to the email to clarify what sales taxes PTAs are expected to collect.
She said on Monday that the office wasn't looking to target the groups.
"We want to work with the PTAs," Brace said.
Initial news reports quoted incoming Maryland PTA President Ray Leone as saying PTAs were unaware they had to pay sales tax. Leone expressed concern that if the comptroller's office called for a collection of back taxes or audits, the PTAs would become bankrupt.
Current Maryland PTA President Rita Lowman could not be reached for comment ahead of deadline for Monday's blog post on the matter. However, Monday evening, Lowman said PTAs have known for "years and years" to collect sales tax, but there was confusion about how the tax applies to food items.
Lowman said PTAs across the state received notices this month clarifying the law regarding food items.