Ohio businesses have only about one month more to take advantage of the state’s first-ever tax amnesty program that deals with sales taxes that companies owe. When businesses buy equipment or other products from out-of-state suppliers, they’re supposed to be charged Ohio’s 5.5 percent sales tax. But often, they are not. In those cases, the Ohio companies are supposed to pay the tax later. Sometimes the tax is never paid -- and that’s where the amnesty comes in. Until May 1, if Ohio companies that owe the sales tax come forward and pay up, they won’t be charged the usual penalty and interest. Tax Commissioner Joe Testa likes the amnesty program, but, as you can hear in this interview with Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen, Testa doesn’t want to talk about how little it is raising, compared to how much is really owed.
What Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa is referring to there is a federal proposal that would basically order all companies that are selling products to add a sales tax to all transactions involving out-of-state buyers. The sellers would then be required to channel the sales tax revenue to the state where the purchaser lives. The idea has been debated for years but has never become reality.