COLUMBUS --About 3,500 Ohio businesses are receiving unanticipated holiday bonuses from the state this month, thanks to a new program aimed at refunding tax overpayments.
Gov. John Kasich and Tax Commissioner Joe Testa announced the initiative Tuesday after the state identified more than $13 million in commercial activity taxes paid by companies.
The total is just the start, Kasich and Testa said, as the state begins reviewing other tax streams to determine if more needless payments were made.
"Our state has never made an effort to tell businesses across our state when they've overpaid their taxes," Kasich said, adding, "Can you imagine that the government itself engaged in a sleight of hand to try and feather its own nest at the expense of businesspeople who are law abiding, trying to play their fair share of what they owe in taxes to the state of Ohio? They were not avoiding taxes, they stepped up and paid what they should have paid, and yet the state of Ohio did not pay fair with them."
Unlike personal income tax forms, which include a space for residents to request a refund, business filings do not include prompts for the state to return overpayments. And the state won't issue a business refund unless one is sought.
After four years, such payments are transferred to the state's general revenue fund to pay for other expenses, rather than being returned to taxpayers.
That means companies like Consolidated Millwork Supply, from the Dayton area, would have forfeited more than $20,000 it paid but didn't owe.
On Tuesday, Kasich presented company Treasurer Debra Vagedes with a check for $20,332.52.
"I'm sure everybody is going to love this change who is in small business," Vagedes said.
Testa said initial refunds range from $150 -- that's the filing fee for commercial activity taxes that was mistakenly paid by many businesses that didn't meet the gross sales receipts threshold triggering the cost -- to about $66,000.
"Businesses deserve to get their refunds, overpayments, back to them just like individuals do," he said. "That's what we're changing."
Additional information about the initiative and refund request forms are available online at www.tax.ohio.gov.