ANNAPOLIS—Comptroller Franchot announced December 19 that the Board of Public Works has approved a $159.7 million contract to replace and upgrade the state's tax processing system with a state-of-the-art program that will expand revenue-generating projects, provide enhanced reporting functionality and make it easier for taxpayers to view their accounts with the agency. The contract was unanimously awarded to Pembroke, Massachusetts-based Revenue Solutions Inc.
"I am very excited about our new COMPASS tax system, which will let us process tax returns more quickly and stop tax cheats from stealing Marylanders' hard-earned money," said Comptroller Franchot. "For taxpayers, this means an even speedier tax refund and a more user-friendly experience that will eventually let them view and manage their accounts online."
The COMPASS tax processing system will replace the agency's State of Maryland Tax (SMART) system, Computer Assisted Collection System and other antiquated tax processing systems that operate on outdated, often-unsupported technology platforms.
Some highlights of the new system include:
• Improved fraud detection and prevention programs. Compass will provide additional information in a centralized system that will allow the agency to use more complete and complex fraud models, reducing the number of fraudulent refunds issued and streamlining the pursuit and recovery of refunds obtained by fraud.
• Increased ability for taxpayers to manage their accounts via online self-service applications. Taxpayers will be able to manage accounts online. After an initial learning period, the increase in online services will result in a reduction in call center and correspondence volumes.
• Maximized compliance with best-practice security standards, internal controls and policies. The new system will improve the agency's security posture by allowing for the implementation of additional cutting-edge security controls.
• Maximized audit, collection, reporting and estimating functionality. Applying analytics to processing data will result in more efficient audit selection, targeted collections, flexible reporting and more refined estimating.
• System stability and security. Maintaining the current system requires tremendous effort from very specialized resources that are increasingly harder to acquire. It is only a matter of time until the current system fails or becomes unable to handle new requirements, such as additional tax types.
The new system will be implemented over the next several years, but there will be no impact for the 2019 tax season. Upon completion, the Comptroller's Office will be able to make changes to Maryland tax laws more quickly than it can now and be more responsive to taxpayers' needs.