Maryland Issues Guidance Regarding Private Letter Rulings

The Maryland Comptroller has issued a technical bulletin providing guidance and procedures for submitting a petition for a Private Letter Ruling (PLR), effective December 22, 2023. PLRs are formal, binding guidance issued by the Comptroller to a specific taxpayer, addressing unusual or complex questions applying to a specific transaction. PLRs are generally issued for scenarios that aren’t covered by other guidance already published by the Comptroller.

A petition for a PLR should contain all the information and documentation listed in the Comptroller’s Petition Submission Checklist, which can be viewed here. Each petition must include a completed Petition Submission Checklist. The petition must be made in writing and sent to the Legal Division of the Comptroller’s Office. It can be submitted via email, mail, or in-person. Details on how to submit via the above methods can be found at the link above. There is no fee for submitting a petition for a PLR.

A petition may be submitted only by or on behalf of a person who is a party to the transaction that is the subject of the petition. A petition may not be submitted by or on behalf of a group of persons that are not related parties in the subject transaction; a person that is not a party to the subject transaction; or an anonymous or hypothetical party. If the petition is submitted by an authorized representative, it must include a Maryland Form 548 Power of Attorney.

Upon receiving a petition, the Comptroller will confirm receipt by letter within 10 business days. If merited, the Comptroller will issue a denial for good cause within 60 days after receiving the petition. Upon reviewing a petition, the Comptroller may determine that additional information is required. A petitioner must submit the additional information within 30 days of the Comptroller’s request, or the Comptroller may deny the petition.

Once the Comptroller issues a PLR, it becomes binding on the Comptroller. The PLR is binding on the Comptroller for 7 years from the date it is issued, unless void, revoked, or modified. The petitioner may rely on the PLR, and such reliance can be used as a defense to a tax assessment, interest, or penalty sought to be imposed by the Comptroller. A PLR cannot be appealed, and it is not binding on the petitioner. A PLR is not binding on the Comptroller in regards to any person other than the petitioner. However, members of the public may treat a published PLR as non-binding, informal guidance.

A PLR is void and not effective from the date it is issued if the petition misstates or omits material facts, or the facts are otherwise determined to be materially different from the representations made in the petition.

At any point during the 7-year period in which a PLR is in effect, the Comptroller may modify or revoke the PLR. Modification or revocation is warranted when the Comptroller determines that a material change in facts or a change in law, regulations, rules, or a final decision in a contested case affects the PLR’s validity. The Comptroller will promptly send notice to the petitioner when a PLR is modified or revoked.

No sooner than 6 months before a PLR’s expiration date, a petitioner may request a renewal of the PLR. A renewal request must be submitted in writing to the Legal Division of the Comptroller of Maryland, and it must include a detailed description of the basis for renewal.

Note that the Comptroller may publish a redacted or anonymized version of a PLR that the Comptroller determines may be of interest to the public on the Comptroller’s website. (Technical Bulletin No. 44, Effective December 22, 2023, Comptroller of Maryland)

Posted on February 14, 2024