News Releases

News Release

September 9, 2003 - Operation Pay Up tags Businesses ignoring Ohio Sales Tax Laws  (Tax Enforcement Officers send 24 owners to court)

(Columbus) – Enforcement agents with the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) recently helped recover sales taxes exceeding $165,000 from 24 businesses in Hancock, Seneca, Huron and Erie counties, that collected but didn’t pay the tax to the state of Ohio.

The owners of the businesses received criminal citations for failing to file sales tax returns. They had to go to court and all were ordered to pay the back taxes, plus interest, penalties and court costs. They also faced the possibility of spending up to 60 days in jail. Collectively, the owners failed to file 375 sales tax returns.

Agents working Operation Pay Up are investigating businesses with active vendor’s licenses that have not filed tax returns for at least six months.

Ohio Tax Commissioner Thomas M. Zaino says the program will eventually reach every county in Ohio, "Our purpose is not only to collect back taxes, but to get those delinquent taxpayers back in compliance with Ohio’s tax laws."

Zaino says the state, local governments and consumers expect businesses to remit taxes they collect, and when they don’t, everyone pays. "Businesses have a legal obligation to pay to the state the taxes they collect under the state’s authority. When they keep the tax money, for whatever reason, they’re committing a crime. Beyond that, they’re forcing all of us to pay more tax to make up for what they’ve kept."

Zaino encouraged businesses that have not filed, to get their tax affairs up-to-date.

"If they pay up before we find them, it will be a lot cheaper than waiting until after we find them. And, we will find them."

Sales tax revenues support services provided by the state and county governments.

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