State of Maryland
Sharonne Bonardi was the first African-American deputy comptroller in the Comptroller’s office 164-year history when she started work in October 2015. She has worked in tax administration for more than 25 years and leads the state’s tax-collecting agency, so she knows tax preparation can be a daunting task, especially for low-income taxpayers.
“Some underrepresented people lack the necessary resources to advocate for themselves,” she said. “To ensure that all taxpayers get the assistance they need to comply with Maryland tax laws, I feel it is important for departments of revenue to work with advocacy groups and low-income tax clinics. The Comptroller’s Office has worked to provide access and assistance to every taxpayer.
“Understanding that tax policy may have an unintended disparate impact on lower-income taxpayers is key to ensuring that underserved communities are not disenfranchised,” she said.
Bonardi has also worked with low-income tax clinics at the University of Maryland and University of Baltimore law schools and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service to improve access to the Comptroller’s Office.
Bonardi is also trying to attract more women and people of color into careers in tax and tax administration.
“Practitioners may be pleasantly surprised to find it rewarding to serve as a tax administrator because I have the opportunity to work with other tax professionals, taxpayers, legislators, associations and federal and state governments by assisting them with policymaking decisions while also leading an organization with about 10 programs and 1,100 employees,” she said. “I believe it is the most challenging and rewarding professional opportunity for a tax practitioner.”
Bonardi is working with the University of Baltimore School of Law to start a state and local income tax class for law students interested in studying tax administration.
Bonardi is also a board member of the Baltimore County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. and was a Girls’ Empowerment Mission board member from 2011 to 2016. She is helping to raise money for orphanages in Haiti and Africa with the Patapsco River Chapter of The Links Inc.
Understanding that tax policy may have an unintended disparate impact on lower-income taxpayers is key to ensuring that underserved communities are not disenfranchised.”