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Local businesses, man part of latest Md. tax scofflaw list

December 01, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

The 2011 list of Maryland’s top tax scofflaws includes two businesses and a person in Washington County.

Each year, the Office of the Comptroller of Maryland releases what it terms the state’s top “tax cheats.”

This year’s list has 25 businesses and 25 individuals that cumulatively owe nearly $21 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest, according to the comptroller’s office.

The 2011 list includes:

My Precision Cleaning Inc., 14505 Industry Drive, Hagerstown. The comptroller’s office said the business owes $321,412.63 in sales and use tax and $21,341.94 in withholding tax. David Hallenbeck, as an officer in the incorporated business, also is liable for the sales and use tax debt.

William J. Beard, 22000 Leitersburg Smithsburg Road, Smithsburg, who, as an individual, owes $117,141.70.

Mark S. Cozzoli and Cozzoli Studio, 138 N. Potomac Ave., Hagerstown, which owe $68,029.51 in sales and use tax.

Hallenbeck said Monday that the debt actually was incurred by two previous businesses that he combined into one. One of those businesses was called My Precision Cleaning Services Inc.

Hallenbeck said he thought it was “extremely wrong” that the comptroller’s office attributed the tax debt to the new business, My Precision Cleaning Inc.

He said he’s working on “cleaning up” the previous debt and wondered why the comptroller’s office included his new business on the list of scofflaws.

Caron A. Brace, a spokeswoman for the comptroller’s office, wrote in an email that Hallenbeck is listed as an officer for the previous companies and the new one, so he is responsible for the debt of all of the companies.

“With regard to an agreement, Mr. Hallenbeck has still not set up a payment plan for his new debt,” Brace wrote.

Multiple attempts to reach Cozzoli on Monday were unsuccessful.

Andrea Sprout, who used to work for him, said Cozzoli closed his local photography business about three years ago and gave his customers to her.

A phone number and a website for Cozzoli’s old business are redirected to Sprout’s photography company, Imagery by Andrea.

A 2010 obituary for Cozzoli’s mother lists him as living in Cape Coral, Fla.

There were no online phone directory listings for Cozzoli or Beard.

The comptroller’s office lists Beard at 22000 Leitersburg Smithsburg Road in Smithsburg, as of 2006. Before that, he was listed as living at 4602B Bartholows Road in Mount Airy, Md.

A 2005 lien the comptroller’s office filed against Beard in Frederick County indicates he owed $97,146.90 at the time.

As of mid-November, with interest accumulating, the debt had grown to $117,141.70.

A separate federal lien filed against Beard in Washington County was $12,054.50 as of October 2008. It is not part of the debt the comptroller’s office considered for its list of scofflaws.

The comptroller’s office said it releases the scofflaw list “to send a message to those who have ignored all attempts by the state to collect overdue taxes....”

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