By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Columbus sprung a tax surprise on Groveport and other area suburbs.
“We recently received a letter from the city of Columbus stating that, as of Jan. 1, 2019, they will no longer collect income taxes for the suburbs,” said Groveport Finance Director Jeff Green. “It left us high and dry. It’s a bit of a shock.”
Columbus City Auditor Megan Kilgore stated in her letter that Columbus would no longer serve as a third party administrator for the collection of municipal income taxes because the task has “grown more difficult, in part due to the state’s recent mandated amendments to municipal income tax provisions…”
The state recently instituted the centralized collection of business income taxes through its Ohio Business Gateway.
Smaller cities use third party collection of income taxes because it would be costly to maintain their own taxation departments.
Groveport City Council approved legislation for the city to join the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) to replace Columbus for income tax collection.
Green said Groveport will pay RITA between 1.33 to 1.47 percent of what is collected, which he said is about the same as what Groveport was paying Columbus.
Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall said area cities using RITA include Bexley, Gahanna, Grove City, Upper Arlington, and Worthington as well as several other towns.
“RITA is a council of governments that makes decisions cooperatively,” said Green. “Everyone is on an equal footing. RITA is awesome to work with and our residents will be well served.”
With the change to RITA, Hall said city residents and businesses will all have to make an income tax filing. She said there will be some exemptions for retirees and pensions.
“We’ll start by doing mandatory filing so everyone is on an equal plane,” said Green.
“We’ll make sure it’s a reasonable and smooth transition for businesses and residents,” said Hall.
City officials said more information about the city income tax filings will be provided to the public soon, adding that there’s still a lot to learn in the days and weeks before the transition.