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Ohio's Use Tax Amnesty Program Expires May 1st

State and Local Tax

By William Vohsing

Business taxpayers not registered for Ohio consumer use tax could miss out on significant savings if they do not take advantage of the Ohio Consumer Use Tax Amnesty Program, which is set to expire on May 1, 2013. Qualifying taxpayers receive the following benefits made available through the program:

  • Abatement of interest and penalty associated with use tax owed for periods after January 1, 2009.
  • No assessment of use tax, penalty or interest for periods prior to January 1, 2009.
  • No criminal prosecution related to consumer use tax paid under the amnesty program.
  • Qualifying taxpayers can apply for a no-interest payment plan for use tax liabilities over $500.

After May 1, 2013, the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) will actively pursue those businesses that are not registered for consumer use tax. Audited taxpayers will be assessed the delinquent tax plus interest and penalties ranging from 5% to 15%. If your business received one of the approximately 300,000 letters mailed by the ODT at the beginning of the amnesty program and did not participate, your business will more than likely be audited. Businesses that did not receive a letter should not assume they are in the clear. The ODT will start comparing other tax registrations (such as payroll, sales tax, and the commercial activity tax) to consumer use tax registrations, or the lack thereof, to identify noncompliant businesses.

Amendment of Section 5703.58(b) of the Ohio Revised Code prohibits the issuance of a consumer use tax assessment for taxes owed prior to January 1, 2008, in all cases, even if a business is currently being audited. Therefore, taxpayers currently under audit are not precluded from participating in the amnesty program. Taxpayers who were issued a notice of assessment from the ODT for consumer use tax prior to October 1, 2011 are not eligible.

If you have questions or concerns about the Ohio Consumer Use Tax Amnesty Program, contact your state and local tax professional. 

Contributing Authors:  Bill Vohsing and Mark Rossetti

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This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

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