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Shop tax free — don’t go to jail on smuggling charges

Few like to see the tax man when he’s coming to the door.

But Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot — who is ultimately responsible for collecting state taxes enacted by the General Assembly and Gov. Martin O’Malley — is trying for a few laughs before  asking Marylanders to pay up.

Franchot’s office released a YouTube video Monday to advertise the state’s tax-free shopping week, which runs Aug. 12-18.

In it, actors parody the one-thing-leads-to-a-really-bad-thing commercials currently anchoring satellite television provider DirecTV‘s marketing campaign.

“When you don’t shop for clothes during Maryland’s tax free week, you won’t have money for your date,” the video begins.

About 35 seconds and an appearance from that-roommate-everyone-hates-from-college later, failing to shop during tax free week has landed you in jail for smuggling cigarettes (the comptroller also regulates the state’s tobacco, alcohol and motor fuel industries).

“Don’t let that happen to you,” says a smiling Franchot. “Shop tax free in Maryland.”

It’s up to the viewer to decide whether the smuggling charges are any worse than waking up in a roadside ditch, having a grandson with a dog collar, selling your hair to a wig shop or having your house explode.

(Photo: Comptroller’s YouTube channel)