Tax amnesty program to yield less than expected

Written on Mar 08, 2018

Provided by Hannah News Service

The Ohio Department of Taxation's tax amnesty program is unlikely to bring in what lawmakers were expecting when they inserted the measure into the budget, ODT Commissioner Joe Testa said Tuesday.

The program, which ran from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, will probably only secure $13 million to $15 million of the $20 million legislators were seeking, Testa told attendees of a state business roundtable discussion with other administration leaders and local business owners.

"Maybe there just wasn't that much out there," Testa said. "Voluntary compliance is 90% ... in my experience. People usually do the right thing even if they don't like the tax because it's the law and they are good citizens."

He said many of those participating in the program made honest mistakes that led to them being in that position.

"They are trying to comply with very complicated tax laws and things get lost, things get dropped between the cracks," Testa said.

Testa said a similar tax amnesty program shouldn't occur for at least another 10 years, noting the state has experienced "diminished returns" from the measures. Twelve years ago, he said, the state was able to recover $30 million. He said the state still achieved a good return on investment this time around, noting ODT spent about $1 million conducting the program.

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