News Releases

News Release

January 15, 2002  -  Columbus, Ohio  - (More) Tax Changes for the Better

COLUMBUS – A new taxpayer services bill that takes another step towards reducing red tape for taxpayers and modernizing Ohio’s tax laws had it’s first hearing today in the Ohio General Assembly. Senate Bill 200 is sponsored by State Senator Robert F. Spada, (R-Parma Heights/Cuyahoga County).

Ohio Tax Commissioner Thomas Zaino, in testimony before the Senate Ways & Means committee, noted that this is the second taxpayer services bill developed recently by the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT). House Bill 612, the first Taxpayer Services Bill, was approved unanimously by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Bob Taft in June of 2000.

"Senate Bill 200 is an important step toward modernizing our operations and the tax law in a "taxpayer friendly" way," Zaino said. "This bill contains over 20 categories of changes to Ohio’s tax law making it more taxpayer friendly and more efficient for the Department." Zaino added that the changes are substantially revenue neutral, meaning they will not cost taxpayers or the state money.

He also noted that the changes were reviewed by and reflect input from a number of business and industry organizations including, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Trucking Association, the Ohio Society of Certified Professional Accountants, and the Ohio State Bar Association.

Provisions in the proposed legislation include:

--Permitting ODT to reveal a vendor’s name, license number, and business address, whether the vendor is registered to collect Ohio sales tax and whether the account is active or inactive. This would allow consumers to learn whether businesses purporting to collect Ohio sales are use tax are actually registered to collect.

--Allowing consumers to apply directly to ODT for sales and use tax refunds in certain circumstances, thus eliminating the step of going through a vendor to get a refund.

--Codifying ODT’s practice of working with taxpayers to correct assessment notices of tax delinquencies. Currently, disputes over the accuracy of an assessment receive an administrative hearing, which adds to the time it takes to get an issue resolved. The new procedure allows corrections to be made to the assessment, based on proper documentation and without a hearing. The proposed bill still allows a taxpayer the option of a hearing, if requested.

--Codifying the department’s practice of providing a hearing when an application for a refund is partially or totally denied. This change includes the right to appeal the ODTs decision on a refund to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals.

--Changing the law to relieve individual taxpayers of liability for income tax that their employer withheld but did not remit to the state. Currently, a taxpayer is still responsible for paying income taxes, even if their employer has withheld the tax and not paid it to the state.

--Providing "safe harbor" language that eliminates penalties when corporate franchise taxpayers make estimated payments during the taxable year. When a taxpayer pays 100 percent of the previous year’s liability or 90 percent of the current year’s tax liability, which ever is less, the penalty will be waived. Interest, however, would still be calculated according to the due dates of the payment.

A complete text of the proposed legislation as well as an abbreviated fact sheet on the legislation is available at the ODT home page at http://tax.ohio.gov/

(For more information, contact Gary Gudmundson, Communications Director, Ohio Department of Taxation at 614/644-6903.)