Weekly Wrap – Tax Measures Are Moving In The Legislature

It was a busy week at the Ohio legislature for those that follow tax measures. House Bill 126, which was pending in the Senate Ways & Means Committee, was amended before being passed out of the committee. HB 126 seeks to add notification requirements before a local government can file a complaint against the value of real property. The committee added an amendment that limits local government complaints to countercomplaints if a real property owner seeks a reduction in value at the local Board of Revision (BOR). HB 126 was also amended to limit the local government appeals to the BOR. An appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals would only occur if the real property owner or tenant disagreed with the BOR ruling. This language will end the practice of local governments appealing a matter to the Board of Tax Appeals, which added cost and consumed resources of business owners. A third piece of the amendment limits the practice of direct settlements between the parties. The amendment requires any settlement monies to be added back to the formula for disbursement to local government entities receiving real property funds. The current practice allows the parties to negotiate a settlement to close out the matter with any payment directly going to a party of the dispute.

The Ohio House also passed three measures with tax implications (well, one of these measures sometimes gets assigned to tax departments, so I am including it in this recap). The first measure is HB 223, which is a return bill from last session. HB 223 aligns the sales tax bad debt deduction for both private label credit cards administered internally, and private label cards administered by third parties. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The second measure is HB 348, the unclaimed funds reform act. HB 348 adds a few reforms to Ohio’s unclaimed funds law. The goal of the law is to return the monies to the rightful owners in a timelier fashion. While the law doesn’t impact business-to-business transactions in a major way (there is a new minimum $25 threshold for reporting), there is a new ten-year statute of limitation and provisions for small estates.

The House also passed the first-time home buyer bill (HB 186). A companion bill is still under consideration by Senate Ways & Means. HB 186 allows individuals an income tax deduction for deposits made to a first-time home buyer savings account. The monies saved can be used for down payments or to cover the cost of closing a home purchase. The Ohio Chamber joined in support of the bill.