How Can I Apply for Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty Program?

Chad Bice | September 6th, 2011

By now you may have heard that the Ohio Department of Taxation has changed the process for businesses and individuals to voluntarily come forward to declare use tax they owe. A voluntary disclosure program that started earlier this year was suspended when the Ohio legislature approved a new Use Tax Amnesty Program as part of the biennial budget bill.

Use tax is a tax that wasn’t paid, but should have been, on taxable property or services a business or individual purchased. It is a complement to the state’s sales tax, and most often occurs when purchasing goods in-state, out-of-state or over the internet, and the retailer does not collect Ohio tax. Use tax applies to all businesses and individuals, regardless of size, that purchase taxable property or services.

The new Use Tax Amnesty program will begin October 1, 2011, and is one of the most taxpayer-friendly programs ever developed in Ohio, and allows taxpayers to declare what they owe without interest or penalties, and covers a shorter look back period than the previous VDA program.

To apply for Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty program, businesses must:

–          complete a spreadsheet to calculate their liability. (The spreadsheet is not yet available, but will be posted later this month on the Ohio Department of Taxation’s website.)

–          register for an Ohio Business Gateway account if they don’t already have one

–          register for an Ohio use tax account.

–          Submit the completed application with a digital signature

–          Upload the spreadsheet

–          submit full payment or the first installment of a payment plan

–          If making payments, complete the payment plan agreement and mail it back

Individuals and businesses who did not have a use tax assessment prior to September 29, 2011 are eligible for the Use Tax Amnesty program. If you had an assessment prior to this date, you would not qualify for the amnesty program. If you apply, but learn you don’t qualify for the amnesty program, you will receive an assessment of the amount owed, plus interest. In that case, the payment will be due in full with no payment plan available.

Your tax professional can assist you not only in determining your eligibility for Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty program, but also in completing the required steps and in setting up a system to pay your use tax going forward in a timely manner.

To learn more about Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty program, plan to attend Thursday’s free one-hour webinar, “Ohio Use Tax Amnesty: How Much Can You Save?” hosted by Rea & Associates, Inc. and SmartBusiness. This webinar, presented by Chad Bice, CPA, will explain Ohio use tax, how to apply for the new Ohio Use Tax Amnesty program, what to do if your business had already entered into a voluntary disclosure agreement and how businesses can address use tax compliance in the future. For additional information or to register, please go to

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