CLEVELAND (WJW) – Ohioans who worked from home in 2021 can seek a refund of local income taxes withheld by their employer in another municipality.
“This would be people who have been working from home or another location that’s not their traditional office,” Regional Income Tax Agency Chief Legal Counsel Amy Arrighi said.
The pandemic prompted more businesses to shift to remote work or a hybrid schedule for employees.
Ohioans who performed any portion of their work outside the taxing municipality can seek a refund for that time.
Arrighi said Ohioans who worked from home in a place with a lower income tax than where the employer’s office is located, such as a township, stand to benefit the most.
Those who live in a city or village with an income tax rate that matches where the employer is based will not receive money back.
“If they live in a community with an income tax, they could just be shifting money from one city to another,” Arrighi said.
Workers who qualify must submit a form with details to the local tax agency when filing taxes.
RITA’s 10-A form, available online here, requires details including a time log and employer signature.
“Every taxpayer’s situation is going to be different depending on where they live,” Arrighi said.
The City of Cleveland Division of Taxation refund worksheet states for telework, “The refund request must include the supporting proof of claim, which may, include but is not limited to, a telework agreement, clock hour summary of all telework hours, regular hours, benefit leave times, and certification from employer verifying number of days worked at principal place of work, etc.”
A spokesperson for the City of Cleveland had not yet responded to a request for details on the potential impact of the refunds on city finances.
The refund marks a change from 2020, when Ohio lawmakers at the outset of the pandemic voted to allow cities to continue to collect taxes from commuters who worked from home.
“A city only has the jurisdiction to tax and power over people who either live there or are working there,” said Jay Carson, Senior Litigator with The Buckeye Institute.
The Buckeye Institute filed four lawsuits to challenge the 2020 legislation.
Carson said the group planned to file an appeal of its Franklin County case with the Ohio Supreme Court Friday, calling for similar refunds for 2020.
“We believe the Ohio Supreme Court should take up this case because it does have a big public interest and a big impact on citizens and also on municipalities,” Carson said.
While a decision on 2020 will come from the courts, for 2021 and going forward, tax is due where work was performed.
“A lot of taxpayers have never had to do this before, so we’re gearing up for a lot of calls and trying to make it as simple as we can,” Arrighi said.