United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se Plaintiff Deborah El-Bey ("El-Bey"), a
citizen of Maryland, was previously licensed to work as a
dental hygienist by the Maryland State Board of Dental
Examiners. ECF No. 1. In her Complaint filed May 2, 2019 (ECF
No. 1), El-Bey alleges that the Comptroller of Maryland
("Comptroller") unlawfully placed a lien on her
state dental hygienist license. ECF No. 1. The lien was
placed after she failed to pay state income taxes for tax
year 2012, did not make a timely appeal of the assessment,
and was unable to provide a justification to the state for
her non-payment. ECF No. 6-1. El-Bey asks the Court to remove
the lien on her license and award her compensatory damages
and court fees. ECF No 1, p. 2.
Peter Franchot, Comptroller of Maryland,  has moved to
dismiss this Complaint. ECF No. 6. Relying on Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1), the Comptroller argues that the Court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction because the case is barred by the Tax
Injunction Act ("TIA"), codified at 28 U.S.C.
§ 1341. ECF No. 6.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See
Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, the
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is
Factual and Procedural Background
April 23, 2014, El-Bey was issued an assessment from the
Maryland Comptroller for failing to pay state income taxes
for the year 2012. ECF No. 1-2. In the same issuance, she was
advised that her failure to appeal the decision within 30
days would "constitute a final and nonappealable
determination of liability." Id. El-Bey took no
action, her original unpaid balance of $9, 679.90 accrued
interest, and a penalty was added. ECF No. 6-1, p. 2, 19. On
September 14, 2017, the Comptroller issued El-Bey a notice of
lien of judgement for her unpaid income taxes for the year
2012. Id. at 1. At the time the notice was issued,
El-Bey owed $16, 607. Id. at 2.
after receiving the notice, over three years after she was
advised of the 30-day deadline by which to submit an appeal,
did El-Bey finally appeal the assessment, on November 6,
2017. ECF No. 1-2.
December 12, 2017, the Comptroller responded by letter to
El-Bey and explained that her untimely appeal precluded her
from receiving a hearing but that he could still
"correct an erroneous final assessment."
Id. He, thus, requested that she provide
"documentation supporting a reduction in the
assessment" by January 12, 2018, if, in fact, the
assessment was erroneous. Id.
appears that El-Bey did not respond to this request, and on
February 13, 2018, the Comptroller wrote again to El-Bey
asking for "any Maryland statutory law that states [she
is] not required to file a state tax return."
Id. The Comptroller reiterated that in the absence
of any documentation showing that her 2014 assessment had
been erroneous, or that she was exempt from taxation, her
failure to make a timely appeal within 30 days of receipt of
the assessment had barred her from receiving a hearing on the
matter and that the assessment was "final" and
March 4, 2018, El-Bey responded, asserting that she was
exempt from filing state income taxes by Maryland Tax-General
Code Ann. § 10-809. ECF No. 1-3, p. 3. In support of her
assertion, El-Bey quoted the following statutory language:
"If an individual is not required to file an income tax
return under § 10-805, § 10-806, or § 10-813
of this subtitle, the individual: (1) Is not liable for
income tax, and (2) May file an income tax withheld or
estimated income tax paid or a refund." Id.
El-Bey did not explain why the subsections cited apply to her
and only stated that "she was never liable nor obligated
for income taxes since she has declared that she is
not an artificial or corporate person and
thus, by legal definition and the Supreme Court, never could
have made an 'income'" (emphasis in original).
Id. It is unclear whether the Comptroller replied to
this response, or, in the alternative, if it found a reply to
this peculiar assertion was simply unwarranted.
February 26, 2019, the Maryland State Board of Dental
Examiners notified El-Bey that her state dental hygienist
license would not be renewed until the Board "receive[d]
notice from the. . . Comptroller that the State's
liability concerns ha[d] been addressed." ECF No. 1-1.
1, 2019, El-Bey filed her Complaint in this
Court. ECF No. 1. She claims her assessment was
erroneous because she does "not have any liabilities
with the Maryland Comptroller." Id. at 2. She
further alleges that the State has taken her "private
property," and "for many years. . . has unlawfully
removed large quantities of funds from [her] daily
wages." Id. El-Bey demands that the Court
remove the lien on her occupational license, and she seeks $2
million dollars in compensation, court fees, and a return of
any overpayment of Maryland taxes. Id. at 2-3.
20, 2019, the Comptroller filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction, asserting that the suit is
barred by the TIA and the Eleventh Amendment. ECF No. 6. On
June 28, 2019, El-Bey responded, claiming that the TIA does
not apply and, alternatively, that the Court has jurisdiction
pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3124 ("Refund of Internal
Revenue Collections") and the Fourth Amendment. ECF No.
9, p. 1. To date, the Comptroller has not filed a Reply.