News Releases

News Release

February 20, 2002  -  Columbus, Ohio  - TeleFile Advisory:  New Deduction

(Columbus) --  Ohio Tax Commissioner Thomas M. Zaino today issued an advisory to taxpayers who received a TeleFile-only income tax booklet or who have already filed their return by telephone.

Zaino said the TeleFile-only booklet did not directly alert taxpayers to a new income tax deduction. The new deduction allows taxpayers meeting certain income guidelines to subtract from their taxable income up to $2,500 in tuition costs paid to a qualified Ohio educational institution. This deduction and many others cannot be claimed by taxpayers using TeleFile. Taxpayers have to file an IT-1040 return (long form) to claim most all deductions and credits.

"We sent TeleFile-only booklets to taxpayers who have a history of filing less complicated returns, so hopefully it won’t affect many people. I am sorry for any inconvenience or confusion we might have caused by not highlighting this credit in the TeleFile booklet. We certainly want people to know about all the legitimate ways they can reduce their tax", Zaino said. "Next time, we will include more detail in the TeleFile booklet."

The TeleFile booklet lists the ten most frequently claimed deductions and credits, and instructs taxpayers to file a paper return if they are entitled to any of the adjustments. Zaino says that list is based on deductions taken in the previous year so the new credit wasn’t included."

This new deduction didn’t get mentioned and it should have been. It was an oversight on our part and we will make sure that all taxpayers who haven’t yet used our TeleFile phone system are aware of the deduction", Zaino said. A recorded message is being added to the TeleFile system telling taxpayers about the deduction and directing them to file an IT-1040 if they are entitled to claim it. The message will be activated on Friday, February 22.

Taxpayers who are eligible for and want to claim the tuition expenses or any deduction, but have already TeleFiled their return, will have to file an amended income tax return (IT-1040X). The forms to file an amended return can be obtained from the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) web site (http://tax.ohio.gov/) or by calling 1-800-282-1782. Forms are also available at many libraries, banks and post offices.

Zaino says the TeleFile system is an easy, convenient way for many taxpayers to file their income tax return. He says ODT has been expanding the TeleFile program to include more people because it saves tax dollars and has many advantages for taxpayers. TeleFile is the fastest way to receive (in 7-10 days) a tax refund; it does the math; it allows for direct deposit of refunds and there’s no cost to the taxpayer. This is the fifth year that Ohio has offered TeleFile.

The TeleFile-only booklet is sent to selected taxpayers based on certain criteria including the type of return they filed in the previous year and their income level. The TeleFile-only booklet was mailed to approximately half of Ohio’s 5.5 million income tax filers. All other taxpayers received a combined booklet that includes IT-1040, IT-1040EZ, and TeleFile returns.

The new tuition expenses deduction is available to single taxpayers with a federal adjusted income of less than $50,000 and married taxpayers filing jointly with an income less than $100,000. The $2,500 deduction can be claimed for each of the first two years of post-secondary education at an Ohio-based institution.

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