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April 15, 2009 – Tax time: Last minute tips and facts about taxes in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – April 15 is the deadline for individuals in Ohio to file a state income tax return for the 2008 taxable year. Here are some facts about taxes in Ohio and this filing season from the Ohio Department of Taxation as well as a few last minute filing tips.

Facts about Ohio taxes and the 2008 filing season:

  • Ohio’s income tax rates were reduced again in 2008: For the returns due April 15, tax rates are 4.2 percent lower than in 2007 and 16.8 percent lower than in 2004. The 2008 rates reflect the fourth year of a five-year plan to reduce Ohio’s income tax rates by 21 percent across all brackets.
  • State tax revenue is falling: Tax revenue into the state’s general revenue fund is expected to fall for the third year in a row – from about $19.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2006 to about $18 billion in Fiscal Year 2009, which ends June 30. This reflects the direction of the national economy as well as ongoing changes to Ohio’s tax laws, including income tax rate reductions.
  • Experts say Ohio’s state and local tax burden is near the middle of the pack. In 2006, Ohio’scombined state and local tax burden ranked 18th among all states when measured as a percentage of personal income and 24th highest when measured per capita. That’s according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Federation of Tax Administrators, an organization of the nation’s state tax agencies. To see the FTA’s comparisons of all states, click here or here.
  • Most taxpayers don’t wait until the last minute to file: Through Monday, the Ohio Department of Taxation had already processed more than 4 million tax returns. That’s most of the 5.4 million or so returns expected to be filed for the 2008 taxable year.
  • Most taxpayers (and preparers) file electronically: Last year, approximately 62 percent of all 2007 income tax returns were filed electronically. The Department of Taxation expects a slight increase for the 2008 returns being filed this year.

Last minute tips for taxpayers:

  • To get a refund fast, file electronically: By using I-File, eForms or another paperless filing option available at tax.Ohio.gov, taxpayers can cut to the front of the line and get a refund fast – usually within five to seven business days. The Department of Taxation expects to receive approximately 700,000 returns through the mail from last-minute filers. Returns caught in this last-minute rush of mail may take weeks to process.
  • Always file a return, even if you can’t pay in full: The penalty is usually much bigger for taxpayers who fail to file a return. The department’s advice: File a return, and pay as much as you can.
  • Extensions are available: Ohio automatically honors income tax filing extensions granted by the Internal Revenue Service. But, to avoid interest and penalties, taxes that are due on April 15 must still be paid by April 15.
  • Taxpayers may pay by credit card: A convenience fee applies. For more information, visit tax.Ohio.gov.
  • Help is available. The Department of Taxation’s hotlines will be open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on April 15 to help last minute filers with questions. Individual taxpayers should call (800) 282-1780.

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    News media with further questions should contact John Kohlstrand at (614) 644-3858 or Mike McKinney at (614) 466-5461. For answers to specific taxpayer questions, individual taxpayers should call (800) 282-1780; business taxpayers should call (888) 405-4039.