News Releases

News Release

December 10, 2001  -  Columbus, Ohio  - Tax Amnesty Collections Top $6 Million at Halfway Point

COLUMBUS – Ohio Tax Commissioner Thomas M. Zaino said today (12/10/01) that taxpayer response to the state’s first-ever Tax Amnesty and the amount of money collected at the halfway mark of the program is encouraging.

"Based on what we’ve seen from other states offering a tax amnesty, Ohio is on track to reach the $17 million dollar goal we set. We have been working very hard to get out the word that this is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity, and thousands of taxpayers have applied."

Through November 30th, the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) has processed nearly 4,400 taxpayer requests for amnesty and collected more than $6.1 million. The largest share of money (36%) has come from sales and use tax collections, followed by individual income tax (29%), corporate franchise tax (13%), and employer withholding tax (8%). Lesser amounts have also been collected for the other taxes involved including personal property, pass through entity, school district withholding and school district income.

"We were expecting most of our dollars to come in from business taxes, but most of the participants to be individual taxpayers. That’s holding true." Zaino said. Nearly 2,900 people so far have taken the opportunity to pay delinquent income tax.

Zaino noted that most states offering an amnesty collect a majority of their money in the last couple weeks of the campaign. Maryland recently completed an amnesty program and reported that more than 70-percent of the funds came in during the last few days.

"We will be adding staff and extending our hours at the end to help taxpayers who want to take advantage of this opportunity, but time is running out." Zaino said. "When the amnesty expires we will be stepping up our enforcement and auditing. It will be a lot less costly for a taxpayer to come forward now and clean up their back taxes than if we find them later."

Delinquent taxpayers qualifying for amnesty avoid all penalties and half the interest normally charged. Amnesty requires them to file returns and pay all outstanding tax and half interest before the amnesty program expires. Amnesty is available only to ‘unknown’ delinquent taxpayers. Taxpayers that have been billed, assessed, or contacted for audit by ODT are not eligible.

Taxpayers wanting more information on the amnesty program can call ODT toll-free at 1-888-405-4039 or visit the department’s web site at http://tax.ohio.gov/

The last day of the amnesty is January 15, 2002.

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(Contact: Gary Gudmundson, Communications Director, Ohio Department of Taxation, (614) 644-6903.)