COLUMBUS, Ohio – Taxpayers seem
especially interested in getting their refunds fast
this year. If you are among them, the Ohio Department
of Taxation has some advice: File your return
As Ohio’s income tax filing season gradually moves
toward its peak, choosing I-File, eForms or one of
Ohio’s other electronic filing options can make the
difference between getting a refund in a matter of days
or waiting for weeks.
“We know money is tight for many families. The nation
is in recession, and, for many taxpayers, getting an
income tax refund fast is especially important,” Ohio
Tax Commissioner Richard A. Levin said. “So it’s
important to remember that the single fastest way to
get an income tax refund in Ohio is to file your return
For taxpayers who file electronically, refunds are
usually available by electronic deposit within five to
seven days. In contrast, taxpayers who file on paper
close to the April 15, 2009 deadline – when the
department will receive more than 100,000 returns each
day – may have to wait six to eight weeks to receive a
refund check by mail.
“It takes time to open envelopes. It takes time to run
returns through our scanners. It takes time to hand
type the information that our scanners can’t read,”
Levin said. “By filing electronically, taxpayers can
cut through the red tape.”
New statistics from the Department of Taxation suggest
that interest in refunds is unusually high this year.
Through March 9, the department had received close to
2.5 million state income returns, about 194,000 returns
ahead of the previous year’s pace, or about 7.8
percent. The vast majority of these returns contained
requests for refunds. The state received a total of
more than 5.5 million returns last year.
School district income tax returns were even farther
ahead of last year’s pace: about 16.2 percent ahead of
the previous year’s pace, with more than 712,000
filings as of March 9.
Ohio’s electronic filing methods include:
I-File: This Web-based software asks
taxpayers a series of questions, then compiles a
state or school district income tax return based on
their answers. I-File will even do most of the math,
and it’s free.
eForms: These are Adobe Acrobat
versions of Ohio’s major state and school district
income tax forms. They can be completed online, much
as one would on paper. eForms handles most of the
math automatically, and it’s free.
eFile: Taxpayers who file through
paid preparers or who use commercial software to
prepare a return may be able to file through the IRS
Also, taxpayers who last year used
TeleFile, Ohio’s dial-by-telephone
filing method, may use it again this year.
Every tax filing season also brings changes to the tax
code, and this year is no exception. Key differences
this year include:
Lower tax rates: The 2008 state income
tax tables include a 4.2 percent cut across all income
tax brackets when compared to the previous tax year.
This round of cuts represented the fourth year of a
five-year plan to reduce state income tax rates by 21
percent across all brackets.
New military retirement pay tax
exemption: Beginning with the 2008 taxable
year, retired military and their survivors may now
deduct their military retirement pay in arriving at
their Ohio adjusted gross income. Federal civil service
retirees who received credit for their military service
may also deduct the portion of their pension that
reflects that military service.
Taxpayers in search of help have several ways of
contacting the Department of Taxation:
- By e-mail by selecting the “Contact Us” option at
the department’s Web site:
- By telephone at (800) 282-1780 from 8 a.m. to 5
p.m. Monday through Friday. Extended hours will run
until 7 p.m. from April 1 through April 15.
- In person at one of the Department of Taxation’s
taxpayer service centers between 8 and 5 p.m. on Monday
through Friday. A complete list of locations is
available in the “Contact Us” section of
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News media with further questions should contact Mike
McKinney at (614) 466-5461. For answers to specific
taxpayer questions, call (800) 282-1780 for individual
taxpayer assistance or (888) 405-4039 for business