By Adam Pagnucco.
The District of Columbia and several local jurisdictions in Maryland have begun deferring a variety of taxes, fees and regulations during the coronavirus crisis. Taken together, these deferrals provide a useful menu of options for local policy makers.
The District has been the most aggressive local jurisdiction in deferring tax payments. D.C. has extended its filing deadline for individual and fiduciary income tax returns, partnership tax returns and franchise tax returns to July 15. (This matches the income tax filing extensions of the federal government and the State of Maryland.) D.C. has also extended deadlines for filing sales and use tax returns and paying hotel property taxes.
Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. issued an executive order “providing an extension of all County licenses, permits, registrations and other authorizations until 30 days following the end of the local state of emergency. The order also authorizes the head of each government agency to suspend the effect of any legal or procedural deadline, due date, time of default, time expiration, period of time or other statute, rule or regulation that it administers. This applies to suspensions concerning payments of late fees owed to Baltimore County.” The county also suspended all parking citations.
Garrett County deferred three scheduled payments of its accommodation tax by more than two months each. The deferrals followed closures of rental properties. Vacation rentals are a big business in Garrett County so this is not an insignificant act by the county.
Charles County closed its government buildings but agreed to waive online transaction fees for payment of taxes and utilities.
The City of Frederick suspended daytime parking meter enforcement and extended due dates for city bills, permits, licensures and citations until 30 days after the state of emergency ends.
The City of Annapolis delayed its liquor license renewal requirement for 90 days and left open the possibility of further delays.
WSSC announced it would “suspend all water service shutoffs for those facing financial difficulties until further notice.”
None of these deferrals are earth shattering but they are helpful to residents and businesses in small ways. Policy makers in Montgomery County and beyond should consider if any of them, or perhaps others, are feasible and appropriate in their own jurisdictions.