According to legislation that was introduced yesterday in the Ohio House, Ohio taxpayers would receive a notification letter from the Ohio Department of Taxation if they overpaid their taxes. House Bill 365 is a bipartisan bill and is jointly sponsored by State Representatives Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) and Mike Duffey (R-Worthington).

“The purpose of this legislation is simple,” said Representative Stinziano. “It is to ensure that Ohio companies that have overpaid on their taxes are treated fairly by the state and informed of their overpayment immediately.”

On November 21, 2013, Ohio Inspector General Randall Meyer issued an investigation report that found that the Ohio Department of Taxation failed to comply with state law and regulations by failing to refund more than $30 million in state taxes overpaid by businesses and by ignoring requests for refunds.

“Frankly, I find it unbelievable that the Ohio Department of Taxation did not routinely notify taxpayers,” said Representative Duffey. “I would expect this to be standard practice, as well as automatic refunds or rollovers. Thankfully, Governor Kasich seems willing to correct the poor practices of former administrations.”

Under current law, overpayments are refundable, but only upon request and during the first three or four years, depending on the category of tax. After that point, the state keeps the money.

Representatives Duffey and Stinziano are also exploring reforms including automatic refunds, rollover balances and various other due process rights for Ohio taxpayers.

Representatives Stinziano and Duffey were initially motivated by a Columbus Dispatch article indicating that the Inspector General’s report included a finding that “the practice of the agency was not to notify taxpayers of the potential overpayments unless the taxpayers specifically inquired about them. In addition, the agency did not have standard written policies or procedures for the handling of overpayments.”

The poor practices of the department apparently existed across prior gubernatorial administrations, meaning they did not start under Governor Kasich, who already has taken steps to provide $14 million in refunds to companies that had overpaid their commercial activities tax – a separate tax from the ones being discussed in the most recent inspector general report.

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