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Rep. West testifies on bipartisan bill to create a temporary tax amnesty program

May 4, 2021
Thomas West News

COLUMBUS- State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced that House Bill (HB) 45, his bipartisan bill with Rep. Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) to establish a temporary tax amnesty program that would forgive interest and penalties on delinquent taxes and fees, received its first hearing in the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee.

“HB 45 would give individual Ohioans and businesses a financial incentive to fulfill their debts, which would in turn bolster our state’s revenues at a time when we need the boost,” said Rep. West. “As legislators, we have a responsibility to find ways to ease the economic pain Ohioans are still feeling. I firmly believe that this legislation is one step toward doing just that.”

Under HB 45, the state’s tax commissioner would develop and administer the amnesty program. Those with taxes or fees that were delinquent as of the bill’s effective date would qualify for the program, but those for whom an audit or assessment has been issued would not qualify.

Since 2001, Ohio has implemented four tax amnesty programs of varying scope. According to a Department of Taxation report on the most recent program, conducted in 2018, the state collected $14.3 million in unpaid taxes. The prior program in 2012 collected $30.5 million. Since 1982, 45 other states plus the District of Columbia have implemented such programs as well.

West reintroduced this legislation earlier this year after a prior version, HB 609 of the 133rd General Assembly, overwhelmingly passed the House but stalled in the Senate during the last days of the session.

HB 45 now awaits additional hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee.