Ohio Use Tax Amnesty Program

Ohio has enacted a tax amnesty program for consumer’s use tax which runs from October 1, 2011 until May 1, 2013. Under the amnesty, a taxpayer must pay their consumer’s use tax liability due on purchases made on or after January 1, 2009 through the last day of the month preceding the month in which you request amnesty.

Benefits of participating in the amnesty program are:

  • Periods prior to January 1, 2009 are forgiven;
  • No penalty charges;
  • No interest charges, and
  • No civil action or criminal prosecution charges for failure to file or pay Ohio use tax.

In general, consumer's use tax applies to purchases of all taxable tangible personal property stored, used or consumed in Ohio and select services with benefit of use in Ohio if appropriate sales tax is not paid to the vendor.

Taxpayers that have been issued an assessment for consumer’s use tax due for any period do not qualify to participate in the amnesty program.  Interest will not be waived for taxpayers who registered for a use tax account on or before June 1, 2011. Businesses currently under an Ohio use tax audit that have not been issued a tax assessment are eligible for the amnesty program.  All requests for amnesty are filed through the Ohio Business Gateway. Taxpayers who do not qualify for consumer’s use tax amnesty may still qualify for a Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA).

Careful analysis should be done before applying for the amnesty program.  If a taxpayer applies for amnesty and the Ohio Department of Taxation denies the request, the taxpayer will be issued an assessment for the use tax liability plus interest.  Also, once a payment is made under the amnesty program it is nonrefundable.  If you later determine the amount should not have been paid there is no way to get the money back.  Taxpayers are required to register for a use tax number and file returns on an ongoing basis.

The Ohio Department of Taxation began mailing out letters to over 200,000 businesses encouraging them to take advantage of the amnesty program. Taxpayers that do not qualify for amnesty should consider entering into a VDA. Please contact your Meaden & Moore representative, or Leslie Kasten at 216-241-3272 or lkasten@meadenmoore.com if you have any questions regarding this Alert or any other state and local tax matters.