News Releases

News Release

January 2, 2002  -  Columbus, Ohio  - Governor Urges Delinquent State Taxpayers to Act Now

(Columbus) -- With less than two weeks remaining in Ohio’s first-ever Tax Amnesty program, Governor Bob Taft is urging delinquent state taxpayers to act now to avoid facing the risk of potentially expensive regrets.

"This is an opportunity for honest and good citizens to come forward and pay their overlooked or delinquent taxes," said Taft.

But if eligible taxpayers don’t come forward by January 15th, they could very well be making a costly decision. "The Department of Taxation (ODT) will be launching an aggressive audit enforcement program when Amnesty ends, and the odds are a lot greater that we will find those who haven’t been paying their fair share," said Tax Commissioner Thomas M. Zaino.

Zaino said the ODT audit staff has been increased by one-third to more than 150 full-time auditors. Taxpayers who choose the ‘one-time-only’ opportunity offered with tax amnesty will pay no penalty and only half the normal interest. An amnesty application, all returns and full payment of tax and half-interest due must be submitted by January 15th to qualify for amnesty.

Through December 27th, nearly 13,000 taxpayers have applied for amnesty. Payments received total $13,659,441. Amnesty began October 15, 2001.

Anticipating a last-minute rush, ODT will be extending hours of service to delinquent taxpayers beginning January 7th. Taxpayer service staff will be answering the toll-free Tax Amnesty hotline from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on January 7-11, 14-15, and from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 12. The hotline is 1-888-405-4039. Information is also available on the ODT website:

Tax amnesty is available only to ‘unknown’ delinquent taxpayers, meaning the taxpayer hasn’t been billed, assessed, or contacted for an audit by ODT. Amnesty covers nine taxes including individual income, sales and use, personal property, corporate franchise, school district income, employer withholding, school district withholding, pass-through entity, and public utility excise.

ODT has estimated that Tax Amnesty will bring in $17 million, and in following years, an additional $5 million from newly enrolled taxpayers.

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