U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben

April 15, 2023

Not Quite Tax Day

Dear Fellow Marylanders,

April 15 is Tax Day, right? Don’t panic. This year, due to local holidays, Tuesday, April 18 is the last day to file your taxes before the standard deadline.

If you are like me, and one of the 31 percent of Americans who still need to file this year, I encourage you to get it done as soon as possible.

If you need help filing, check out marylandtaxes.gov, which is run by the Maryland Comptroller’s office, or email taxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov. They also have a toll-free number (1-800-MDTAXES) and office locations to provide Marylanders with tax filing assistance. Depending on your tax situation, check out the IRS Free File, which may allow you file online securely and at no cost. Check here to see if you qualify.

Let’s face it, customer service has not been a strong suit for the IRS in recent years, not because of the incredible workforce and their dedication, but because for years, the agency was starved for resources and strangled by outdated technology. That’s starting to change and hopefully you will see a difference if you try to call for information or tax filing support.\

The recent $80 billion allotment for the IRS, which comes from the Inflation Reduction Act that Congress passed last year, will help bolster the customer service experience both over the phone and online, increase the capacity to support complex filings, and improve critical data security. In fact, this funding has already improved customer service quality for this filing season with the IRS providing an 80-90 percent level of phone service and an average speed of answer of 4 minutes; up from a dismal 17 percent and 27 minutes last year.

No one likes paying taxes, especially when the deadline is looming, but those taxes represent our collective contribution to keeping our nation strong and our communities functioning with services we need.

At the local level, taxes ensure that schools are open, trash pickup runs on schedule and snow plows are ready for deployment when a storm hits. At the federal level, taxes support our military, diplomatic and intelligence personnel, so they can keep a watchful eye around the world and around the clock for changing conditions and threats to our national security.

Taxes keep air traffic controllers at work ensuring the smooth and safe operation of our busy national airspace. They support experts charged with inspecting our food and water, protecting our health and the safety of our supply chains. Taxes fund our national parks, higher education, and life-saving medical research—sources of national pride that we all benefit from and celebrate. They provide game-changing support for the small businesses that are constantly innovating and creating new opportunities for Americans. The list goes on.

Of course, we can only reap the benefits of federal support when everyone pays their fair share. CEOs should not be paying a lower percentage of their income in taxes than our teachers and firefighters. We need to ensure that even the richest Americans are paying at an equitable tax rate. I am confounded by colleagues who think it is acceptable to protect roundabout tax-evasion tactics that keep the top 1% from paying into the system.  

I will continue my work to develop a more progressive tax code that alleviates the burden on low- to moderate-income individuals and small businesses. There remains a persistent information and resource gap that prevents many taxpayers from underserved backgrounds and small businesses from accessing the resources and tax incentives intended for them.

Our current system remains complex, but I am optimistic that with increased long-term funding, and continued annual appropriations for the IRS, we can modernize the IRS, restructure the way taxpayers interact with the government and make it possible for those who typically have been left behind to benefit fairly from our tax code. I will continue to fight for Marylanders to make this hope a reality.

Paying your fair share – not more, not less – is the right thing to do.

Thank you for your time. Please get those taxes done. Feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts on this and any other topic.


Ben Cardin