The Ohio Department of Taxation has launched a tax amnesty program to allow Ohioans to get current on their obligations while avoiding penalties and some interest charges.
The general amnesty program, created in the biennial budget, will run May 1 through June 15 this year and applies to several taxes, with a notable exception of the consumer's use tax, which is the subject of a standalone amnesty program.
Tax Commissioner Joe Testa said the state expects to bring in $36 million, plus $4.2 million for local jurisdictions whose taxes are covered under the amnesty, such as school district income tax. A similar amnesty program offered in 2006 brought in nearly $60 million, according to the department.
Any person with outstanding taxes due as of May 1 is eligible, no matter how far back the liability stretches, unless the department has already initiated an audit or issued an assessment for the amount due. Those opting for amnesty will have penalties forgiven and pay only half the owed interest, which Testa said is levied at 3% plus the federal short term rate.
Eligible taxes include the following:
- Individual income
- Individual school district income
- Commercial Activity
- Sales and seller's use
- Employer withholding
- School district employer withholding
- Corporation franchise
- Pass-through entity
- Gross receipts of a natural gas company or combined electric and gas company
- Motor fuel
- Cigarette or tobacco products
- Dealers in intangibles
The department is running a publicity campaign, including social media and television advertising, to increase awareness of the program.
Tax Commissioner Joe Testa said increasingly sophisticated software is making it easier for the department to find those with outstanding taxes or identify areas where there likely are unpaid taxes.
Testa said the department decided to pursue a separate amnesty program for consumer's use tax because audits in recent years have shown it to be the least understood tax. He said the previous administration had already been planning a public awareness campaign to address the problem, and the Kasich administration decided to redesign, extend it and pair it with an amnesty program.
"The feeling was it deserved special attention and a longer period of time and more forgiveness," he said.
More information about the general amnesty program is available at www.ohiotaxamnesty.gov
. Information about the use tax amnesty program is available from the Ohio Tax Department