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