Comptroller Sends $11.7 Million of Local Income Tax Revenue In Error to Counties

The state Comptroller’s office mistakenly sent $11.7 million in the local share of the first quarter’s income tax withholdings to all 23 counties and Baltimore City at the end of May.  The overpayment was the result of an error made in the formula used to distribute the revenue to the local jurisdictions.  According to the Daily Record,  while the overpayment was small, just 1.5 percent of the sum distributed that day, it gave a false sense of an economy recovering faster than it truly was.  The counties and Baltimore City received letters from the Comptroller explaining the error and indicating the amount of the overpayment would be withheld from the next scheduled payment.

“We did have an error in calculations. Each county got more than they were supposed to,” said Joe Shapiro, spokesman for Comptroller Peter Franchot. “Nobody is going to get any less than they deserved. But nobody is going to get any more than they deserved either.”

Overpayments ranged from $16,142 extra sent to Somerset County to $2.9 million for Montgomery County. Baltimore city saw the largest relative overpayment, with $1.8 million accounting for 4 percent of the $47.7 million it received.

t was not the first such slip-up for the state. In 2007, workers in the State Department of Assessments and Taxation typed in an incorrect total property value for Montgomery, entering a number that was $16 billion too high.

Using that figure, the state overestimated the county’s ability to pay for its schools and shorted the county $24 million while overpaying other jurisdictions $31 million. The state restored the Montgomery funding, but ate the $31 million loss.

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