Comptroller of Maryland
Office of the Comptroller
I hope you are enjoying our Web site. Our goal is to create a place where all Marylanders can go to find the latest financial and tax information in easy to understand terms. We want to shine a light on how your tax dollars are spent and what you get for your money.
I believe it’s the role of government to be transparent in its actions. Some other sites have attempted to open the state’s books for review by taxpayers but many fail to provide the information in clear and simple terms. I think our new Web site illuminates the state of Maryland’s finances in a way we can all understand.
Send me your thoughts on the site or any other issue at [email protected]. I look forward to providing new features on this Web site as often as needed to make your experience better.
About the Comptroller of Maryland
The Comptroller is one of four statewide elected officials in Maryland. Unique among state financial officers, Maryland’s Comptroller has diverse and far-reaching responsibilities that touch the lives of every Marylander.
The Comptroller of Maryland is the:
What Does “Comptroller” Mean?
You have to go back to the 15th century to find the origin of the word “comptroller,” which means “financial officer.” Interestingly, “comptroller” has also often been erroneously associated with the French word compte, which translates as “calculation.”
A recent survey found a slight majority who prefer to say “comptroller” – with emphasis on the “p” – but almost half still use the old English pronunciation, “controller.” Take your pick.
Nine other states, mostly eastern, use “comptroller” and four use “controller.” Texas has a “Comptroller of Public Accounts” and South Carolina has a “Comptroller General.” The rest use versions of treasurer or auditor, while two don’t appear to have any financial officer with a title. Alaska has a “Commissioner of Administration.” Maryland’s 1851 Constitution calls for the “Comptroller of the Treasury” to “superintend fiscal affairs…for the support of the public credit.”
Comptroller of Maryland Duties and Responsibilities
Since the office was created by the Maryland Constitution of 1851, it has grown from a comptroller and one clerk to an agency of 1,100 employees. Peter Franchot, former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, was elected Maryland’s 33rd comptroller in 2006.
The principal duty of this office is to collect taxes. With a budget of $110 million, the agency collects approximately $16 billion a year in state and local tax revenue and provides 12 branch offices throughout the state.
The major revenue sources are individual and business income taxes and sales and use taxes. The agency also collects taxes on motor fuel, estates, admissions and amusement, and alcohol and tobacco. It also tests motor fuel to ensure the quality of the product for the consumer.
By enforcing the collection of use tax, the comptroller’s goal is to provide a level playing field for local businesses in competing with out-of-state retailers who sell through catalogs and on the Internet. Enforcement agents control the smuggling of untaxed cigarettes and alcohol into the state.
The comptroller audits taxpayers for compliance, handles delinquent tax collection, and enforces license and unclaimed property laws. The agency publicizes forgotten bank accounts, insurance benefits and other unclaimed assets of taxpayers.
The office provides information technology services critical to the daily operation of most state agencies. Acting as Maryland’s chief accountant, the comptroller pays the state’s bills, maintains its books, prepares financial reports, and pays state employees.
Len Foxwell, Chief of Staff