Supreme Court Will Hear Maryland Income Tax Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals in the case of Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Brian Wynne. Had the Court not granted certiorari for this case, the matter would have been considered fully settled, with Maryland’s counties liable for massive tax refunds dating back several years. MACo had joined with other actors seeking the decision announced today.

At issue in this case is whether the failure to allow a credit against the county income tax violates the commerce clause because it discriminates against interstate commerce. Future U.S. Supreme Court action will determine whether counties could be faced with refunding more than $190 million in income taxes, plus interest, for prior years and providing approximately $50 million a year in credits prospectively.

Solidifying the review, was a brief of the U.S. Solicitor General in April 2014 concluding that the U.S. Supreme Court should review the Maryland Court of Appeals decision. In January 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court requested the U.S. Solicitor General to comment on the case.

At the time the Maryland Attorney General petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in the fall of 2013 to review the case, MACo joined an amicus curiae brief prepared by the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) in support of the review.  Beside IMLA and MACo, other parties of interest who joined the brief include the National Association of Counties, United States Conference of Mayors, and the International City/County Management Association.

Further legal documents and filings are available on the SCOTUSblog website.

While a definitive timeline is not known, it is likely that this case will be argued in the fall of 2014, with a decision any time thereafter.

Additional information on this case can be found on Conduit Street.

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