Live from Capitol Square: Here’s the latest from your Government Relations’ Team

Written on May 21, 2020

By Greg Saul, Esq., CAE, OSCPA tax policy director

It’s been another active week at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus; here are some items you’ll want to know about.

  • OSCPA has taken a leadership role in protecting Ohio businesses from frivolous lawsuits related to the COVID-19 crisis. We submitted a letter of support for S.B. 308 to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on May 13 and followed up this week with proponent testimony for H.B. 606 to the House Civil Justice Committee on May 19. Both bills offer qualified civil immunity to businesses providing goods or services during this pandemic emergency period.


  • Several university professors testified May 20 in opposition to H.B. 442 in the House Commerce & Labor Committee. The legislation is a bipartisan bill that would allow Ohio CPA candidates to sit for the CPA exam after the completion of a bachelor’s degree or its 120-hour equivalent, but still require 150 hours for licensure. Thirty-seven other states already permit sitting at 120, and many Ohio students get around Ohio’s existing laws by sending their scores to one of those states. OSCPA and several of our student members showed up in full force Feb. 12 to support H.B. 442 through proponent testimony. A House vote may occur in the near future, and we encourage members to contact their state representative to share their thoughts through OSCPA’s easy letter-writing program.

  • Gov. DeWine this week issued an urgent health advisory called Ohioans Protecting Ohioans and announced they are now moving from orders to “strong recommendations.” It continues all business orders, social distancing requirements, and restrictions against mass gatherings of more than 10 people. However, they have begun to rescind and modify portions of the Stay Safe Ohio Order, including lifting travel restrictions. He also announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has begun distributing at least 2 million non-medical-grade face coverings to public and private employers – they all will receive a package from BWC containing at least 50 face coverings.


  • Commercial Activity Tax (CAT): OSCPA is working with the Ohio Department of Taxation and the legislature to ensure that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness would be non-taxable, and therefore not fall into gross receipts under R.C. 5751.01(F) as “debt transferred or forgiven as consideration.” On another CAT issue, OSCPA along with our CAT Coalition members expressed concerns over a CAT credit in S.B. 95 by submitting an interested party letter to the House Ways & Means Committee on May 19.


  • The Ohio House on May 20 passed H.B. 609, 94-0. The legislation requires the Tax Commissioner to administer a temporary amnesty program (no penalties and interest) from Jan. 1, 2021, to March 31, 2021, with respect to delinquent state taxes and certain fees. It now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.


  • ICYMI: The Ohio Supreme Court on May 13 held oral arguments over two municipal income tax cases. At issue is OSCPA-supported reforms in 2014’s House Bill 5, and in 2017 law changes eliminating the sales throwback rule and creating a centralized filing and payment option for the municipal net profits tax. The position of the State of Ohio – advocated for by The Ohio Society of CPAs in an amicus brief – is that the Ohio Legislature is within its rights to pass these laws limiting the municipal power of taxation.


  • The Senate Finance Committee has begun hearings on S.J.R. 4, which proposes an amendment to the Ohio Constitution for federal unemployment compensation borrowing. It would allow Ohio to bond the debt to avoid employer-paid penalties.

    To learn more about these and other issues, please visit OSCPA’s advocacy page.

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