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Ohio is Cracking Down on Unpaid Use Tax
Unpaid Use Tax
The State of Ohio is aggressively looking for businesses that may owe Ohio Use taxes. In
addition to pursing out-of -state businesses who should be collecting and remitting Use
Tax to the State of Ohio, the Department of Taxation is now looking for Ohio businesses
that may not have paid use tax on purchases of property used in Ohio.
Use Tax is a tax on the storage, use or other consumption of tangible personal property in
Ohio. The tax is a compliment to the Ohio Sales Tax. In general if you have paid Ohio
Sales Tax on a purchase you would not owe Use Tax on the purchase. If you have not
paid Ohio Sales Tax on and item then you have a responsibility to remit Ohio Use Tax
directly to the state. The Ohio Use Tax is nothing new, it was first enacted in 1936 in
order to create an even playing field for in-state and out-of-state vendors. It has come into
play much more in recent years, however, due to the dramatic increase in purchases from
out of state vendors through the internet.
Ohio businesses may have substantial Use Tax liabilities if they make purchases of
taxable goods through out of state vendors such as though mail order or the internet and
the vendor does not collect Ohio Sales Tax. Use tax would also be due on any purchase
from an Ohio vendor which failed to collect Ohio Sales Tax. In addition many taxpayers
are unaware that transactions between related companies such as inter-company sales or
rentals of tangible personal property are generally subject to Use Tax.
The types of personal property that are subject to use tax include office equipment, office
supplies, furniture and cleaning supplies. In addition in the case of construction
contractors purchases of construction materials, construction equipment, tools and
supplies are subject to Use Tax.
The following services are also subject to use tax:
- Temporary labor and employment placing
- Lawn care, landscaping, snow removal
- Janitorial, maintenance, maintenance contracts
- Motor vehicle towing
Businesses should review their invoices for the above goods and services to determine to
what extent, if any they have not been paying appropriate sales taxes on their purchases.
The State of Ohio is currently rolling out a Use Tax Education Program CUTEP) and is
offering an amnesty program through May I, 2013 for businesses that were unaware of their use tax obligations. In the second half of 2011 the Department of Taxation began to
audit larger businesses it suspects may have Use Tax Liabilities. As a result it was
discovered that over 96% of companies contacted had unreported Use Tax liabilities. The
Department of Taxation plans to contact approximately 300,000 Ohio businesses
regarding Use Tax over the next few years.
If you determine that your business has an Ohio Use Tax liability you may want to enter
into the amnesty program with the state. Under this program:
- The business agrees to register and remit all future Use Tax obligations
- The business agrees to pay all Use Tax due on all purchases since January 1, 2009
- Businesses may enter into a no interest payment plan over up to 7 years with
payments of $500 per month over up to 7 years (84 months)
- Monthly payments will be the lesser of $500 per month or the use tax liability
divided by 84 months
- The State of Ohio agrees to waive the use tax liability for all years before January
1,2009 (the look back period is 7 years outside the amnesty program)
- The State of Ohio agrees not to apply the 15% penalty and any interest applicable
to the unpaid Use Tax.
Further information on Use Tax and tools to calculate your use tax liability are available
on the Ohio Department of Taxation website at: www.tax.ohio.gov. The application for
Use Tax amnesty and registration for Use Tax is done through the Ohio Business
The Ohio Department of Taxation will likely contact you sooner or later about unpaid use
tax. The Use Tax amnesty program is an excellent way to limit your Use Tax liability and
pay the tax due under very favorable terms.
If you suspect that you may have unpaid Use Tax liabilities Contact the office of William
E. Hesch at (513) 731-6612 to for assistance with the registration and amnesty process.
Ohio is Cracking Down on Unpaid Use Tax