Comptroller's Office Not 'Aggressively' Enforcing PTA Sales Tax

A spokeswoman for Comptroller Peter Franchot said the office only reacted in response to inquiry made about sales tax; and is not targeting PTAs.

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.

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Information101 November 27, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Looks like the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing. Consistent training from Maryland PTA needs to happen and avenues to properly train PTAs should widen. Maryland PTA also needs to take initiative to clear up questions sooner rather than later. Put money back into supporting local units first not last.
Information101 November 27, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Are local parent-teacher associations exempt? (Comptroller Maryland Website) Yes and no. Tax should not be collected on sales of goods to PTAs and similar groups associated with non-public schools if the property will be donated to an exempt school. Local PTAs may use their school's exemption certificate when claiming exemptions. Tax should be collected, however, on sales of items to PTAs that they will use in their operations, but which are not donated to schools.
Tim November 28, 2012 at 12:43 AM
of course they aren't.
Information101 November 28, 2012 at 12:50 AM
The person popping off from Maryland PTA should have said less because apparently he did not know enough.
Tim November 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM
and people wonder why the initial reaction to controversial topics/situations is "no comment" from the parties involved.
Bart November 29, 2012 at 02:13 AM
After years and years of Fundraising for PTAs, I know the unpaid time and effort that is given by these volunteers. I should certainly hope that the Comptroller's office would not go after the fine parents, teachers and students who put a lot of effort to support education for ALL! Maybe we didn't do it 100% right, but our hearts were in the right place, and nobody profited from the oversight.
Joe November 30, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Maryland Comptroller: Online Shopping 'Unpatriotic' ""Online shopping is convenient, but unpatriotic," says Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. "If you live in Maryland, get off the internet and come down and patronize these wonderful local businesses."" http://wamu.org/news/12/11/28/maryland_comptroller_online_shopping_unpatriotic#.ULaHTkXJ6NE.twitter Well, he just lost a bunch of votes for Governor. It is not patriotic to not save every dime I can to feed and house my family Mr Franchot. Lower sales taxes in Martyland and I will again shop locally.
Joe November 30, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I have made many on line purchases and many are delivered to my door for free. No gas used, no waiting in line, no parking problems and in the comfort of my home. Good for the environment if you believe in such a thing. I can research and compare prices and specs which I cannot do in the store easily. I have even negotiated better prices when purchasing a few items at a time. On line sellers that are not brick and mortar in any state are happy to work with you on prices. When I spend $1000 I have $60 in my pocket for a family outing. Thanks Mr Franchot for your insulting arrogance. I had more respect for you prior to that insulting comment.
Skip727 November 30, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Joe, The Comptroller CAN NOT RAISE or LOWER sales taxes in Maryland, he is just responsible for collecting them. The Governor and General Assembly are the ones to blame for our high taxes. Just saying.
Joe November 30, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I am well aware of that Skip. He pushes his favorite issues in Annapolis and he may be our next Governor, thus the comment.
Needaname December 01, 2012 at 11:38 AM
I need to find out where you guys are shopping and NOT paying that Maryland tax. Everywhere I shop on-line, I get taxed. Home Shopping Network is the ONLY place I have not been charged a tax and I do not really like their products.
Joe December 02, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Just bought 4 new tires for my car on line. Saved $43.20 in O'Malley Tax. Just saved enough for a few hours with the wife or kid at the shooting range using some of the 500 rounds I bought on line and saved another $7.80 and free shipping. I will continue to be "unpatriotic" as long as I can save money for my family.
Joe December 03, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Thanks Other Tim but I have the site bookmarked for every on line purchase. I dutifully fill out the forms and mail them in. Don't want to be called "unpatriotic" now do I?
Able Baker December 06, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Who are you kidding? You don't pay use tax. No one does.
Able Baker December 06, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Yes, how insulting and arrogant to expect you to support businesses where your friends and neighbors work and to fulfill your legal obligation as a citizen. How dare he.
Joe December 06, 2012 at 11:34 PM
And the many other day to day items purchased locally which I do pay the 6% and 9% for. I do my own plumbing and do you know how many trips I need to Home Depot? When I started it was Muirs Hardware. Yea, maybe HD had some cheaper prices but I still went to Muirs. If you had thought before you typed you would know how one can only escape so many sales taxes. Disclaimer: I do file Use Tax as required. That's the ticket.
Joe December 07, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Able Baker just didn't think about what his fingers typed. He wanted so to slur someone before he thought. Able, there are many things I cannot buy online that I need daily. There are things I can buy online cheaper than my auto mechanic can get them for locally. I pay my local neighborhood auto tech for his labor and he allows me, yes allows me to supply my own parts many times if the time allows. Many will not if I am not mistaken. After a 23 year relationship with him he has made me feel secure in my travels with my family. And every day to and form work. I can't buy my favorite adult beverage on line. I buy at the few places I have been for 23 years even if I can get it cheaper a few miles more away. Your assumptions preceded your brain. I don't think you are a bad person as you do I, but just think first.
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