Comptroller re­leases al­co­hol, cig­a­rette, fuel vi­o­la­tions

The Calvert Recorder - - Business Briefs -

Re­in­forc­ing his agency’s con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to ag­gres­sively en­force Maryland’s tax laws, Comptroller Peter Fran­chot (D) an­nounced the fi­nal fig­ures for al­co­hol, cig­a­rette and mo­tor fuel vi­o­la­tions for fis­cal 2017, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease. Mak­ing the an­nounce­ment sur­rounded by con­tra­band prod­ucts, Fran­chot praised the work of his agents and other law en­force­ment agen­cies in work­ing to­gether to pro­tect law-abid­ing busi­nesses from un­der­ground op­er­a­tions and tax cheats.

“The bla­tant dis­re­gard of Maryland tax laws, which pro­tect law-abid­ing busi­nesses and con­sumers, will not be ig­nored,” said Fran­chot in the re­lease. “I am very proud of the dili­gent ef­forts of my field en­force­ment agents and in­spec­tors to stop crim­i­nals and their con­tra­band. These en­force­ment ac­tions, along with the stricter penal­ties we’ve been able to en­act, send a clear mes­sage that this type of il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity will not be tol­er­ated in Maryland and that crim­i­nals will be pun­ished.”

For fis­cal 2017, which ended June 30, comptroller agents is­sued 87 cig­a­rette vi­o­la­tions re­sult­ing in the con­fis­ca­tion of a to­tal of 103,190 packs of cig­a­rettes and 87,561 pack­ages of other to­bacco prod­ucts, with a com­bined re­tail value of $738,415. This rep­re­sents a tax loss of more than $254,000. Fis­cal 2017 saw an in­crease in the amount of con­fis­cated al­co­hol. This past year saw 250 gal­lons of dis­tilled liquor, 9.39 gal­lons of wine and more than 1,186 con­tain­ers of beer con­fis­cated along with the is­suance of 25 vi­o­la­tions. The to­tal re­tail value of the seized al­co­hol was $42,843. The gal­lons of dis­tilled liquor and con­tain­ers of beer con­fis­cated rep­re­sent an in­crease of more than 100 per­cent from fis­cal 2016, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

In ad­di­tion to al­co­hol and to­bacco vi­o­la­tions, FED in­spec­tors is­sued 120 mo­tor fuel and In­ter­na­tional Fuel Tax Agree­ment (IFTA) vi­o­la­tions, a de­crease from the pre­vi­ous fis­cal year. In ad­di­tion, more than $217,000 of delin­quent sales and use tax was col­lected by FED agents, all of which goes to the state’s gen­eral fund, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Con­tra­band al­co­hol and to­bacco prod­ucts are re­tained by the Comptroller’s Of­fice as ev­i­dence against a de­fen­dant un­til the pend­ing case is ad­ju­di­cated. The Comptroller’s Of­fice is re­quired by state law to de­stroy or sell the prod­uct, with the ex­cep­tion of beer, which must be de­stroyed due to its short shelf life. Only li­censed Maryland re­tail­ers or whole­salers can bid on seized al­co­hol or to­bacco lots sold. All money col­lected from these sales is de­posited in the gen­eral fund, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

“My of­fice re­mains com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing a level play­ing field for all Maryland busi­nesses. We will con­tinue to work with law en­force­ment of­fi­cials on the lo­cal, state and fed­eral lev­els to keep con­tra­band al­co­hol and to­bacco prod­ucts out of Maryland com­mu­ni­ties,” Fran­chot said.

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