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News Release

March 5, 2004  -  Columbus, Ohio  - Ohio Joins With Other States to Catch Tax Cheats

Columbus -- (March 4, 2004) The Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) today joined 34 state tax agencies and New York City in signing an information-sharing agreement designed to combat abusive and illegal tax shelters and transactions.

Ohio Tax Commissioner William W. Wilkins said sharing information will benefit all the taxpayers that play by the rules by helping shut down those individuals and companies trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, "It is a basic issue of fairness. We have a responsibility to the honest taxpayer to weed out abuse."

In addition to sharing information, the agreement provides a framework for states to organize and coordinate joint audits and enforcement actions. It also provides a clearinghouse for exchanging tax cases and documents.

Organizers of this national coalition say states must cooperate because increasingly complex tax avoidance schemes often involve scattering taxable income in many states, "Abusive tax avoidance transactions have become a threat to the fiscal health of our states," said Stephen M. Cordi, president of the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA). "We can only uncover these types of schemes by sharing knowledge." The FTA is an association of tax agencies in all states, the District of Columbia and New York City.

State tax agencies routinely share confidential tax data but this agreement will focus solely on tax evasion schemes seeking to avoid state taxation.

This new agreement complements the Abusive Tax Avoidance Transactions (ATAT) partnership signed last September by the IRS and FTA members. The ATAT agreement calls for the federal and state governments to coordinate their efforts and share data on illegal schemes to evade federal and state taxes.

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