Sales And Use Tax Return Maryland

In this article, we will explore the topic of Sales And Use Tax Return in Maryland. If you are a business owner or resident in Maryland, it’s important to understand the process and requirements of filing your sales and use tax return. This article will provide you with valuable information on how to navigate this process smoothly, ensuring compliance and avoiding any potential penalties.

What is the Sales and Use Tax?

Definition of Sales and Use Tax

Sales and Use Tax is a form of consumption tax imposed on the sale, lease, or rental of tangible personal property in Maryland. It is collected by businesses on behalf of the state and is based on the purchase price of the goods or services. The tax is then remitted to the Maryland Comptroller’s Office.

Purpose of Sales and Use Tax

The purpose of Sales and Use Tax is to generate revenue for the state of Maryland. It helps fund various public services and infrastructure projects that benefit the residents of the state. Additionally, it ensures fairness and equity in the taxation system by distributing the tax burden among consumers and businesses.

Overview of Sales and Use Tax in Maryland

In Maryland, the Sales and Use Tax rate is currently 6%. However, certain jurisdictions within the state may impose an additional local tax, increasing the overall tax rate. It is important for businesses to be aware of any local tax rates that may apply to their sales. The Sales and Use Tax applies to a wide range of goods and services, including retail sales, leases, rentals, and even some digital products and services.

Who Needs to File a Sales and Use Tax Return?

Businesses Required to File

Most businesses that sell taxable goods or services in Maryland are required to file a Sales and Use Tax Return. This includes retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and service providers. Even businesses that make occasional sales or operate on a small scale may still be subject to the tax.

Thresholds for Filing

In Maryland, there are specific thresholds that determine whether a business is required to file a Sales and Use Tax Return. If a business has annual taxable sales of $200,000 or more, they are required to file the return on a quarterly basis. If their annual taxable sales are below $200,000, they may choose to file on an annual basis.


While most sales and services are subject to the Sales and Use Tax, there are certain exemptions and exclusions that businesses can take advantage of. Some common exemptions include sales to non-profit organizations, sales of certain food items, prescription drugs, and manufacturing equipment. It is important for businesses to understand the specific exemptions that may apply to their sales.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Quarterly Deadlines

Businesses that file Sales and Use Tax Returns on a quarterly basis have specific deadlines they must adhere to. The return for the first quarter (January-March) is due on April 20th. The second quarter return (April-June) is due on July 20th. The third quarter return (July-September) is due on October 20th. Lastly, the fourth quarter return (October-December) is due on January 20th of the following year.

Annual Return Due Date

For businesses that choose to file their Sales and Use Tax Return on an annual basis, the due date is January 20th of the following year. This is the deadline to submit the return and remit any tax owed for the entire calendar year.

Extensions and Penalties

Businesses may request an extension of time to file their Sales and Use Tax Return. This request must be submitted before the original due date of the return, and if approved, it will extend the deadline by 30 days. However, it is important to note that an extension of time to file does not mean an extension of time to pay. Late payments may incur penalties and interest, so it is advised to pay any tax owed by the original due date.

How to File a Sales and Use Tax Return in Maryland

Online Filing

The easiest and most convenient way to file a Sales and Use Tax Return in Maryland is through the Comptroller’s Online Services. Businesses can create an online account and securely file their return electronically. This method allows for faster processing and eliminates the need for mailing paper documents.

Paper Filing

Alternatively, businesses can choose to file their Sales and Use Tax Return using paper forms. The Maryland Comptroller’s website provides downloadable forms that can be printed, completed, and mailed to the appropriate address. It is important to ensure that the form is filled out accurately and legibly to avoid any processing delays.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Businesses that owe more than $20,000 in Sales and Use Tax in a year are required to make payments using the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) method. This means that instead of sending a check, businesses must initiate an electronic transfer of funds to the Maryland Comptroller’s Office. EFT payments can be made through the Comptroller’s Online Services or through the ACH Credit method.

Calculating Sales and Use Tax Liability

Taxable Sales

To calculate the Sales and Use Tax liability, businesses must determine the total amount of taxable sales made during the reporting period. This includes all sales of taxable goods or services, both in-state and out-of-state, where the buyer is located in Maryland. It is important to keep accurate sales records and separate taxable sales from nontaxable sales.

Rate of Sales and Use Tax

The current Sales and Use Tax rate in Maryland is 6%. However, certain jurisdictions may have additional local taxes that need to be collected and remitted. Businesses must be aware of the specific tax rates applicable to their sales to ensure accurate calculation of the tax liability.

Deductions and Exemptions

Businesses may be eligible for deductions and exemptions that can reduce their Sales and Use Tax liability. Certain sales to non-profit organizations, sales of qualifying food items, and specific business inputs such as manufacturing equipment may be exempt from the tax. It is important to maintain proper documentation and records to support any deductions or exemptions claimed.

Late Payments and Interest

If a business fails to remit the Sales and Use Tax payment by the due date, penalties and interest may apply. The late payment penalty is 10% of the tax due, with a minimum penalty of $5. Interest is also charged at the rate established by the Maryland Comptroller’s Office and accrues daily until the tax is paid in full.

Common Errors and Mistakes to Avoid

Misreporting Sales

One common mistake businesses make is misreporting their sales. It is crucial to accurately record and report all taxable sales to ensure compliance with the Sales and Use Tax regulations. Failure to do so may lead to penalties, interest, and possible audits by the Maryland Comptroller’s Office.

Inaccurate Calculation of Tax Liability

Another common error is the inaccurate calculation of the Sales and Use Tax liability. Businesses must ensure they are applying the correct tax rate to their taxable sales and properly calculating the amount owed. Using outdated tax rates or failing to account for additional local taxes can result in underpayment or overpayment of taxes.

Failing to Remit Payment on Time

Timely remittance of Sales and Use Tax payments is essential to avoid penalties and interest. Businesses should carefully track their payment due dates and ensure that payments are made in a timely manner. Failure to remit payment on time can result in financial penalties and may trigger additional scrutiny from the Maryland Comptroller’s Office.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Sales and Purchase Records

Keeping accurate and organized sales and purchase records is essential for proper Sales and Use Tax reporting. Businesses should maintain detailed records of all sales made, including invoices and receipts. Additionally, documentation of all purchases, both taxable and exempt, should be retained for future reference and audit purposes.

Documentation for Exemptions

When claiming exemptions or deductions on the Sales and Use Tax Return, businesses must be able to provide supporting documentation. This may include invoices, exemption certificates, or any other relevant paperwork that verifies the eligibility for the exemption. Keeping these documents organized and easily accessible will be helpful in the event of an audit.

Retention Period

Records related to Sales and Use Tax must be retained for a minimum of three years from the date of the return or the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. It is essential to keep these records in a safe and secure location to comply with recordkeeping requirements and facilitate potential audits.

Audits and How to Prepare for Them

Selection for Audit

The Maryland Comptroller’s Office may conduct audits to ensure proper compliance with Sales and Use Tax regulations. Audits are typically selected based on various factors, including business type, industry, and risk assessment. While audits can be conducted randomly, businesses with inconsistent or inaccurate reporting are more likely to be audited.

Documentation and Record Preparation

To prepare for an audit, businesses should gather and organize all relevant sales and purchase records, as well as any supporting documentation for claimed exemptions or deductions. This includes invoices, receipts, bank statements, and any other records that may be requested during the audit. Being prepared and having documentation readily available will help facilitate the audit process.

Working with an Accountant or Tax Professional

Navigating the intricacies of Sales and Use Tax can be complex and time-consuming. Businesses may benefit from working with an accountant or tax professional who specializes in Maryland tax laws. These professionals can provide guidance, ensure accurate reporting, and assist with audit preparation, helping businesses maintain compliance and avoid costly penalties.

Resources and Support

Maryland Comptroller’s Office

The Maryland Comptroller’s Office website ( is a valuable resource for businesses looking for information on Sales and Use Tax. It provides access to online services, downloadable forms, and up-to-date tax rates. Businesses can also contact the Comptroller’s Office directly for assistance with specific tax-related inquiries.

Online Guides and Publications

The Maryland Comptroller’s Office offers a variety of online guides and publications that provide detailed information on Sales and Use Tax requirements, filing procedures, and exemptions. These resources can be accessed on their website and serve as a helpful reference for businesses navigating the Sales and Use Tax return process.

Taxpayer Assistance

For businesses seeking additional assistance or clarification on Sales and Use Tax matters, the Maryland Comptroller’s Office provides taxpayer assistance services. Businesses can contact the Comptroller’s Taxpayer Services Division by phone or email to receive guidance and support in understanding and meeting their Sales and Use Tax obligations.

Deferred compensation is still taxed. Find out more here.


Summary of Sales and Use Tax Return Process

Filing a Sales and Use Tax Return in Maryland is a critical responsibility for businesses that engage in taxable sales. It involves accurately reporting taxable sales, calculating the tax liability, and remitting the payment by the set deadlines. Businesses must understand the exemptions, thresholds, and recordkeeping requirements to maintain compliance with the tax regulations.

Importance of Compliance

Compliance with Sales and Use Tax regulations is essential for businesses in Maryland. Failing to meet filing deadlines, misreporting sales, or inaccurately calculating tax liability can result in penalties, interest, and potential audits by the Maryland Comptroller’s Office. By understanding the requirements and seeking necessary support, businesses can ensure compliance and contribute to the fair and effective functioning of the state’s tax system.