How many kinds of tax amnesty does Ohio have?

Joe Popp | May 11th, 2012
A lot of people call our office looking for information about Ohio tax amnesty.  When we ask them which one they mean, they say, “You mean there’s more than one?!”

Actually, there are two types of Ohio tax amnesty running right now:

  • Ohio General Tax Amnesty
  • Ohio Consumer’s Use Tax Amnesty

Ohio’s Consumer Use Tax Amnesty program is for consumers who have outstanding use tax liability.  “Consumers” includes both Ohio based businesses and individuals, but does not include out of state sellers who are collecting use tax (that kind of use tax is actually a sales tax).  The difference is that consumer’s use tax is tax your business pays on its purchases and seller’s use tax is a tax your business collects from other people when it makes sales.  They are both called use tax but they are very different!

Consumers should consider filing for Use Tax Amnesty if they have outstanding use tax liability, which comes from purchasing goods and some services sales tax free when the purchase really should have been taxed.  Examples of purchases that may have generated use tax liability are products purchased from out-of-state vendors, over the internet, or from smaller Ohio companies which may not have charged sales tax on their sales of goods or select services.  Ohio’s Consumer Use Tax Amnesty program runs through the end of April 2013.  Businesses have a great incentive to take advantage of Amnesty – Ohio had identified 300,000 Ohio businesses without use tax accounts before the Amnesty program began, but have largely held off on actively pursuing them…for now.  Businesses that file for amnesty can get themselves off this list and start themselves off with a clean slate with the Ohio Department of Taxation.  Consumers can learn more about the program on the consumer use tax section of the Ohio Department of Taxation’s website or in our previous blog post about the program.

Ohio’s General Tax Amnesty is a program for those who have outstanding tax liabilities on taxes other than consumer’s use tax.  Note that seller’s (as opposed to consumer’s) use tax is eligible for the General Tax Amnesty, but consumer’s use tax is not (taxpayers must use the Consumer’s Use Tax Amnesty program for that).  Ohio’s General Tax Amnesty program hasn’t received as much attention as Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty program, but it’s still a great opportunity for businesses.   General Tax Amnesty is for taxpayers who owe the following types of qualifying delinquent taxes:

  • Individual Income
  • Individual School District Income
  • Commercial Activity Tax (CAT)
  • Sales and out of state Seller’s Use (which is a version of sales tax)
  • Employer Withholding
  • School District Employer Withholding
  • Corporation Franchise
  • Pass Through Entity
  • Estate
  • Gross Receipts of a Natural Gas Company or a combined Electric and Gas Company
  • Motor Fuel
  • Cigarette or Other Tobacco Products
  • Dealers In Intangibles

General Tax Amnesty runs for a much shorter time period than Consumer Use Tax Amnesty program – May 1 – June 15, 2012 only – so businesses should get started on the applications right away.  When taxpayers apply for amnesty, the Ohio Department of Taxation will forgive the penalty and one-half of the interest charges.  Need more information on General Tax Amnesty?  Read our previous blog post on the topic or visit the Ohio Department of Taxation’s page on the topic.

Contact our Ohio tax amnesty experts

Do you have outstanding delinquencies on any Ohio taxes?  Are you worried about the day when you finally have to pay up on those taxes – and potentially large interest and penalties?  Contact Rea & Associates for assistance filing for amnesty.  Our Ohio state and local tax specialists will help you to determine which programs – yes, you can apply for more than one! – are right for you.  We can also advise you as to whether a voluntary disclosure application might be a more tax advantaged way to report your liability.  The clock’s ticking… so contact Rea & Associates (soon!) to get started.  And remember, when you ask us about filing for Ohio tax amnesty, don’t be surprised when we say “Which one?”


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