[color photograph, Building marker (near entrance), Goldstein Treasury Building, Annapolis, Maryland] Goldstein Treasury Building
80 Calvert St.
Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0466

Building marker (near entrance), Goldstein Treasury Building, Annapolis, Maryland, September 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

The office of the Comptroller of Maryland was established by the Constitution of 1851 (Art. VI, secs. 1-4). Delegates to the 1850 Constitutional Convention, concerned about the potential for fraud and corruption in the administration of the public treasury, established the office as a check on the State Treasurer. The present Constitution enumerates the duties of the Comptroller's office, beginning with the broad mandate to exercise "general superintendence of the fiscal affairs of the State", which includes collecting taxes and maintaining the general ledger. In contrast, the State Treasurer oversees the State Treasury, investing funds received by the State, issuing and redeeming bonds, and paying the obligations of State government. Whereas, the Comptroller (or deputies) countersigns all checks drawn by the State Treasurer upon the deposits of the State. The Comptroller also prescribes the formalities for transfer of other evidence of State debt and countersigns such papers.

Many State taxes are administered and collected by the Comptroller. These include personal and corporate (including employee withholding) income taxes; retail sales and use taxes; motor vehicle fuel tax; road tax on motor carriers; State tobacco tax; Maryland estate tax; and excise taxes on beer, wine, and liquor. Also administered by the Comptroller are the Abandoned Property and Dormant Bank Account Laws. Revenues collected by the Maryland Racing Commission, as well as motor vehicle revenues, are distributed to local jurisdictions by the Comptroller's Office. Admissions and amusement tax revenues are collected by the Compliance Division, at rates set by local officials, and distributed to each county and Baltimore City.

Each month the Comptroller collects license revenues, State property transfer taxes, death taxes, and real and personal property taxes from the clerks of the courts, registers of wills, and county treasurers of each county. The Comptroller also prescribes the form of all licenses required by the State licensing laws, which are issued through the clerks of the courts of the various counties. Distribution of certain taxes and revenue is made to Maryland cities, towns, and counties and to other State agencies as prescribed by law (Code 1957, Art. 78B, sec. 19; Code Tax - General Article, secs. 2-201 through 2-203, 2-301, 2-302, 2-606 through 2-609, 2-614, 2-617, 2-901, 2-902, 2-1001 through 2-1004, 2-1506; Code Transportation Article, secs. 8-401 through 8-407).

By law, the Comptroller of Maryland serves on the Board of Public Works; the Board of Revenue Estimates; the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation; the Banking Board; the Capital Debt Affordability Committee; the Maryland Food Center Authority; and the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority. The Comptroller also serves on the Board of State Canvassers; the Hall of Records Commission; the Maryland Higher Education Investment Program Board; the State Information Technology Board; the State Employees' Health Insurance Advisory Council; the Maryland State Employees Surety Bond Committee; and the Board of Trustees for Maryland State Retirement and Pension System.

The Comptroller is elected by popular vote for a term of four years (Const., Art. VI, sec. 1). The number of terms a Comptroller may serve is not limited. Neither the Constitution nor the Annotated Code of Maryland states qualifications for this office. Yet, the Comptroller must give a bond and keep the office at the seat of government. The Comptroller begins his duties on the third Monday in January following election.

The Office of Comptroller of Maryland is organized under two main functions: Administration, and Operations.


In July 1999, the Field Enforcement Division was created by merging the State License Bureau with the Investigative Services Unit of the Compliance Division, including the Motor Fuel Laboratory.

The Division pursues all legal and reasonable means to identify and collect revenues due to the State. The Division enforces the revenue laws relating to alcoholic beverages, business licenses, cigarettes, motor fuels, and sales and use tax. Division agents conduct investigations, arrest violators, collect unpaid taxes, issue citations, and perform inspections. From businesses that sell motor fuel, Division compliance inspectors conduct field inspections and collect fuel samples. These inspectors also carry out business license inspections and routinely inspect establishments that sell alcoholic beverages. Agents and inspectors work together to regulate transient vendors and use-tax violators.

Samples of gasoline, diesel fuel, home-heating oil, and kerosene collected by inspectors are tested at the Motor Fuel Laboratory. Testing ensures that Maryland standards for octane levels and other specifications, are met, and that certain dyed fuels are not being sold illegally. The Laboratory also tests alcohol.

The State License Bureau administers and tracks 21 different business licenses issued by clerks of the courts. These licenses are issued to construction companies and warehouses, hawkers and peddlers, restaurants, and traders, among others.


Formed in 1994, Administration is responsible for the Administration and Finance Division, the Office of Communications, and the Office of Personnel Services.


To consolidate administrative functions of the Comptroller of Maryland, the Budget and Finance Division began in 1994. It was renamed the Administration and Finance Division in 1996.

The Division is responsible for finance and procurement. It also oversees fleet management, mail, print services, and telecommunications. In addition, the Division administers capital grants, loan funds, and records of the bonded debt of State for General Obligation Bonds.


Operations formed in 1994 as Revenue Operations. It oversees the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, the Central Payroll Bureau, and six divisions: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax; Compliance; General Accounting; Information Technology; Motor Fuel Tax; and Revenue Administration.


P. O. Box 2999
Goldstein Treasury Building
80 Calvert St.
Annapolis, MD 21404 - 2999

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division began in 1936 as the Alcoholic Beverages Division. It was consolidated with the Tobacco Tax Unit in 1975 as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division. In 1993, it was renamed the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Unit, and became a division again in 1999.

The Division enforces certain alcoholic beverage and tobacco tax laws. Through the Division, the Comptroller controls, regulates, and issues licenses for the manufacture, sale, transportation, and distribution of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes into, within, and from Maryland. Twenty types of permits related to these activities are issued. The Division also regulates advertising, promotional activities, and other trade practices in the alcohol and cigarette industries.

Under the Division are Administration and Trade Practices; Operations; and Support Services.


P. O. Box 466
Goldstein Treasury Building
80 Calvert St.
Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0466

Created in 1945, the Board of Revenue Estimates is concerned with revenues that will fund State government (Chapter 991, Acts of 1945). The Board reviews the findings and recommendations of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates. The Board then sends to the Governor, for submission to the General Assembly, an itemized statement of estimated revenues for the current and next fiscal years. With the itemized statement, the Board submits its recommendations to the Governor.

The Board has three ex officio members: the Comptroller of Maryland, the State Treasurer, and the Secretary of Budget and Management. The Director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates serves as Executive Secretary (Code State Finance and Procurement Article, secs. 6-101, 6-102, 6-106).

P. O. Box 466
Goldstein Treasury Building
80 Calvert St.
Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0466

The Bureau of Revenue Estimates was established in 1945 (Chapter 991, Acts of 1945). The Bureau studies and analyzes all sources of revenue to operate State government. For the Board of Revenue Estimates, the Bureau prepares an analysis of the State's economic outlook, and the itemized statement of anticipated revenue. The Bureau also devises equitable and economical means to collect such revenue and may recommend new revenue sources. Proposals to change Maryland tax laws are analyzed by the Board to determine their fiscal impact.


P. O. Box 2396
Annapolis Data Center
108 Carroll St.
Annapolis, MD 21404 - 2396

The Central Payroll Bureau is responsible for issuing paychecks to all State employees, except those in the Mass Transit Administration. The Bureau handles deductions, payroll taxes, federal withholding (W-2) forms, and other payroll reports for State government.

Formed in 1953, the Central Payroll Bureau was authorized several years earlier by the Board of Public Works. The Bureau was created to begin a standardized system of paying wages to State government employees. Prior to its formation, each agency issued paychecks. Thereafter, the Bureau (beginning with a few agencies) extended a uniform payroll system throughout State government.

Originally, the Comptroller of Maryland and the State Treasurer jointly exercised supervision over the Bureau. This arrangement ended in 1958. Since that time, the Bureau has reported directly to the Comptroller.


301 West Preston St., 2nd floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

Created in 1993, the Compliance Division consolidates certain functions of the former Sales and Use Tax Division and the former Income Tax Division.

The Compliance Division is responsible for Accounting and Systems Support, Business Tax Audits, Fiscal Administration, and Unclaimed Property; and Collections, Compliance Programs, and Hearings and Appeals.

The Collections Section collects delinquent and deficient taxes administered by the Comptroller. These include personal income tax, employer withholding, sales and use tax, admissions and amusement tax, corporate income tax, and the tire fee. The Compliance Programs Section oversees Bulk Sales and Special Events, Business Nexus Programs, Individual Nexus Programs, and Tax Investigation. The Hearings and Appeals Section hears and issues decisions on all contested tax assessments.

The Business Tax Audits Section audits all business taxes administered by the Comptroller. These taxes include alcohol and tobacco, corporate income, motor fuel, and sales and use. The Fiscal Administration Section provides fiscal support for budget, payroll, and Division purchasing. The Unclaimed Property Section administers the Uniform Disposition of Abandoned Property Act. The Systems Support Section processes data for the Division.


P. O. Box 0746
Goldstein Treasury Building
80 Calvert St.
Annapolis, MD 21404 - 0746

The General Accounting Division was the original office of the State Comptroller, created with the establishment of the office in 1851. The Division maintains the State's general ledger and other accounting records. The Division accounts for all State funds received and disbursed and countersigns and distributes all State Treasury checks.

The Division consists of two sections: Administration, Office Systems, and Development; and Financial Reporting, Operations, and Pre-Audits.


P. O. Box 2367
Annapolis Data Center
108 Carroll St.
Annapolis, MD 21404 - 2367

The Information Technology Division began in 1967 as the Data Processing Division, and received its present name in July 1999. Through the Division, the Comptroller operates a large computer center in Annapolis. The center provides local and remote computer services via terminals and communications networks for all divisions under the Comptroller, thirteen major departments of State government, and many small agencies. Operating costs are reimbursed by the using agencies.

Under the Division are three units: Administrative Services; the Annapolis Data Center; and the Applications and Systems Center.


P. O. Box 1751
Goldstein Treasury Building
80 Calvert St.
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 1751

The Motor Fuel Tax Division originated in 1929 as the Gasoline Tax Division. In 1989, the Division was renamed the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Division and, in 1993, the Motor Fuel Tax Unit. In 1999, it became the Motor Fuel Tax Division.

The Division administers the Motor Fuel Tax and Motor Carrier Tax Laws for the purpose of collecting motor fuel and road use taxes. The Division registers and licenses motor fuel dealers, diesel fuel sellers and users, and motor carriers. For quality control, the Division also administers and enforces the Motor Fuel and Lubricants Law by registering and regulating entities that store, sell, and transport motor fuel.

The Division is responsible for two offices: Administration; and Licensing and Registration.


Revenue Administration Center
110 Carroll St.
Annapolis, MD 21411

The Revenue Administration Division was created in July 1993, when the revenue divisions of the Comptroller of Maryland were reorganized from a tax-type to a functional basis. The Division processes paper and electronic tax returns; receives payments from individuals, corporations, businesses, employers, and fiduciaries; and issues refunds. Part of the revenue received is distributed to Maryland's county and municipal governments.

Through its taxpayer services branch offices, the Division provides free income tax preparation. The Division also helps citizens obtain forms and instructions, and answers questions about Maryland tax laws.

The Division is composed of three main units: Administration; Legal; and Taxpayer Services.

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