Information Release

IT 2009-01 - Required Tax Preparer Use of Electronic Filing for Tax Year 2009 Ohio Individual Income Tax Returns - Issued July 2009

Ohio Revised Code section 5747.082 requires most "tax return preparers," defined below, to use "electronic technology" in the transmission of client returns beginning Jan. 1, 2010.

Specifically, paid tax preparers who filed more than 75 tax returns during the 2008 calendar year or during any subsequent year must, beginning on Jan. 1, 2010, use electronic filing technology to file state income tax returns. Acceptable methods of electronic filing include the IRS federal and state e-file program, Ohio I-File, or Ohio eForms.

This requirement does not apply to paid tax preparers who, during the previous calendar year, prepared 25 or fewer tax returns.

For taxable year 2009, the tax commissioner will require tax return preparers to use electronic technology only for filing the IT 1040 Ohio individual income tax return. The law provides that the tax commissioner may impose a $50 penalty for each return above 75 that is not filed, but should have been filed, by electronic technology.

This requirement does not apply to paid tax preparers who filed 25 or fewer returns during the previous calendar year. It also does not require that payments associated with "original tax returns" be made electronically.

School district income tax returns, amended returns, and electronic tax payments are also not currently part of this requirement.

R.C. 5747.082(A)(1) defines "electronic technology" as meaning "electronic technology acceptable to the tax commissioner under division (B) of the section." The tax commissioner has ascertained that there are several acceptable methods for electronically filing the year 2009 form IT 1040. They are:

  • The IRS federal/state e-file program. This includes any of the tax software vendor products which the tax commissioner has approved. Most of these products are already in use by the tax professional community. The tax commissioner anticipates approving many such products by late autumn of this year.  For a list of those products which the tax commissioner approved for taxable year 2009, visit approved software developers 2009.
  • Ohio I-File. This Web based tool for filing state income tax returns has been available to Ohio taxpayers since the 2002 taxable year.
  • Ohio eForms. Through eForms, taxpayers can complete Adobe Acrobat versions of all major state and school district income tax forms online, much as one would on paper.

The department will work closely with tax professionals and related professional organizations and trade associations with respect to implementing the required electronic technology filing. Any preparer can petition the tax commissioner to opt out if the tax preparer can demonstrate just cause. The tax commissioner is sensitive to issues that may warrant opt-out consideration.  However, merely not wanting to participate does not constitute just cause.

With respect to taxable year 2009, regarding Ohio income tax returns which the preparer should file using electronic technology but does not: towards the end of calendar year 2010 the department will contact those tax preparers who failed to comply with the new law and will inform them about their failure and that repeated failure will result in penalty imposition. 

With respect to taxable year 2010, regarding Ohio income tax returns which the tax return preparer is required to file, but fails to file, by electronic technology: the department will bill such tax return preparers for a reduced penalty amount (the tax commissioner has not yet ascertained what that amount will be). 

With respect to taxable year 2011, Ohio income tax returns which the tax return preparer is required to file, but fails to file, by electronic technology: the department will bill the full penalty of $50. 

A list of frequently asked questions about this new requirement can be found here.

Taxpayers with additional questions regarding the department's administration of Ohio Revised Code section 5747.082 may visit the Contact us section of our Web site and submit an inquiry.

Preparers are also encouraged to contact the Electronic Filing Unit at (614) 466-0197.