News Releases

News Release

January 14,  2004  -  New Form Simplifies Income Tax Filing -  Abbreviated filing instructions replace unneeded tax booklets this year

COLUMBUS (January 14, 2004) 

More than two million of Ohio’s individual income tax filers will find their mailbox a little less congested this month. The Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) is not sending out the complete Individual Income Tax booklet to those who last year filed returns electronically or through a tax professional.

Taxpayers who don’t get the full 56-page booklet of forms and instructions, are instead receiving a four-page mailer providing basic tax filing information, the changes in Ohio income tax laws, and ways to obtain forms and assistance.

Ohio Tax Commissioner William W. Wilkins said moving to the new mailer is a reaction to taxpayer behavior, "Every year, more and more taxpayers are going on line or to a tax preparer to file their return. They’re not using the booklet. It just makes sense to stop sending it."

Wilkins says last year more than forty percent of Ohio taxpayers filed a ‘paperless’, or electronic, return using Ohio I-File, TeleFile or the IRS e-File system. Only California had more. He expects continuing growth in electronic filings this year because of the benefits involved, including faster refunds and a direct deposit option. Electronic filers due a refund will receive it in 5-7 days rather than weeks with a paper return, and they can have it deposited directly into their bank account.

Wilkins says electronic filing is also important because it saves tax dollars and speeds up the filing process. It costs ODT about $1.15 to process an electronic return compared to $3 to handle a paper return. Ohio has about 5.7 million tax returns.

Beyond the new mailers, Wilkins says other changes for the 2003 tax year include:

  • An increased personal deduction of $1,250, up from $1,200 in 2002;
  • An increased deduction for contributions to a Medical Savings Account, (from $3,533 to $3,575);
  • The option of making estimated payments for individual and school district income taxes electronically and at no charge; and
  • The option of post-dating the electronic payment of taxes owed, up to the April 15th deadline.

Wilkins says ODT is urging taxpayers to carefully report their school district number on their tax return. He stressed that the school district number is important in calculating state funding for schools and ensuring that each district receives the proper amount.

In addition, Wilkins is reminding taxpayers who shop on the Internet or through catalogs, that they may owe use tax on purchases from out-of-state retailers. Use tax is owed if

the retailer collects no sales tax. The use tax rate is the same as the sales tax rate for the county in which the individual who made the purchase lives.

Taxpayers again this year can pay taxes due with a credit card. A private vendor approved by ODT and the IRS will charge a fee for this service, however.

Taxpayers needing information or assistance can e-mail the department via the ODT web site (tax.ohio.gov), call 1-800-282-1780, or visit any of the ODT Taxpayer Service Centers around the state. Forms can be ordered at 1-800-282-1782.

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(For more information, contact Gary Gudmundson, ODT Communications Director, at 614/644-6903.)