- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Comptroller Peter Franchot says Maryland needs to strengthen its laws to fight rising cases of tax fraud.

Franchot said Tuesday he will ask lawmakers in the upcoming session to improve his agency’s ability to enforce the tax code and protect taxpayers from identity theft. He says legislation is needed to keep up with “rapidly-increasing fraud schemes and fast-changing threats to sensitive data.”

Franchot says one of the biggest problems is when identity theft opens the door to people stealing tax refunds. He says “the bad guys are getting much better, and we need to pick up our game.”

Some proposed changes include making major criminal tax offenses felonies instead of misdemeanors. Another would add a penalty for tax preparers who create fraudulent returns.

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