Individual Income Tax FAQ
Section 1 – THE BASICS
1. I am new to the city/area, what is RITA? I received correspondence from them in the mail; is this a legitimate organization asking for my personal information? How can I be sure?
Yes, RITA is an acronym for Regional Income Tax Agency and they were established in 1971 as a quasi-governmental service agency that contracts with over 300 Ohio municipalities to administer, audit and collect local income taxes, including for the City of Grandview Heights (GVH) for over 20 years. They have a customer service portal at www.ritaohio.com with basic information, FAQ’s, forms, and e-filing information. RITA is the organization to which all tax payments are remitted for both individuals and business accounts, they have offices in Worthington (760 Lakeview Plaza Blvd Ste 400, Worthington, OH 43085) and northeastern Ohio. RITA distributes the money collected, back to the cities. If you wish to contact RITA, their phone number is 1-800-860-7482.
2. Where do I file a Grandview Heights tax return and when is it due?
All city tax returns are filed through RITA www.ritaohio.com, and can be submitted via U.S. Mail or electronically on the RITA website. To register as a new taxpayer, we recommend completing RITA Form 75 to get your new account set-up prior to filing your initial return. The RITA system encourages individuals to have an account set-up in advance in order to quickly and conveniently E-file a tax return online during tax season. For individuals filing on a calendar year (Jan-Dec) basis (i.e. most of us), April 15th is the due date. Paper forms can be found at the library and city hall.
3. Is there a city representative I can talk to and/or meet locally to discuss my questions?
The GVH Finance Department tax team is located on the second floor in a secured area of the municipal building at 1016 Grandview Avenue available to provide you with personalized service via a scheduled appointment in person, by phone, or email. The tax team members are the only city employees with access to the RITA system and are able to view and in many cases work directly with RITA to bring your concern to resolution. They are able to view online the RITA correspondence sent to you, the responses of all parties to date, and the deadlines established. Tax team members treat everyone requesting assistance in a respectful, confidential and consistent manner, and as such deserve the same treatment in return. Our Tax Team contact information is: Joe Curtin at 614-439-7778 and firstname.lastname@example.org or Scott Gill at 614-481-6207 and email@example.com.
4. What is the Grandview Heights tax rate?
The tax rate is 2.5%.
5. I filed my federal and Ohio returns on tax software; can I file my local return on tax software as well?
Unfortunately, not yet. The tax software marketplace has yet to adapt to these needs. Your local tax return can be filed one of three ways: paper filing sent to RITA via US Mail, traditional E-filing, or using RITA FastFile. Filing using RITA FastFile can take as little as a couple of minutes if you have your W-2 and other tax documents ready.
Section 2 - JUST THE FACTS
1. Who is exempt from filing a city tax return?
Exemption forms can be found here and include the following situations. Need help? Just call a city Finance Department tax team member:
• No taxable income;
• Active member of the armed forces;
• Under age 18 for the entire year;
• Retired with only non-taxable income for city purposes such as (retirement, pension, social security or investment sources such as IRA/401k, interest, dividends, and capital gains);
2. Do I have to file a tax return even if I owe zero tax?
Yes, all residents are required to file an annual return unless they meet one of the above exemptions. Every RITA community is required to adopt mandatory filing in order to be granted membership as a client community. Mandatory filing is the conduit for the RITA audit team to achieve greater tax compliance to match tax reporting documents insuring that all residents share in their responsibility in supporting city services.
Helpful hint: If city tax was withheld and there is no tax obligation (most common example is a minor under age 18), it would be in your best interests to file (Refund Form 10A) a refund request.
3. My mailing address is Columbus, Ohio 43212, or 43215; how do I know if I’m in Grandview Heights or Columbus?
Please refer to the map here to identify if you are in GVH. If your residence or business is within GVH, you are likely subject to mandatory filing with RITA (with some exceptions noted above).
4. How do I know to which community I should pay my local income taxes?
Here are a few examples:
(a) GVH resident works in GVH – The employer is responsible for withholding the 2.5% income tax and remitting the monies on behalf of its employees. As a resident you are required to file an annual return to report tax due and the amount withheld by the employer.
(b) GVH resident works in Columbus – Since Columbus has a 2.5% income tax rate, the employer would withhold the 2.5% Columbus tax. Since GVH tax rate is 2.5%, and GVH provides full credit up to 2.5% for income taxes paid to another municipality, the resident would have no additional monetary responsibility. However, there still is a mandatory filing requirement. (explained in greater detail above). As a resident you are required to file an annual tax return to RITA.
(c) GVH resident works in another jurisdiction with a lower than 2.5% income tax rate or no income tax - If you live in GVH and you work in another jurisdiction with no municipal income tax (or a lesser tax than GVH), you pay income tax based upon where you live. You still pay the lesser city’s rate and the differential between the lesser rate and 2.5% would be owed to GVH. You should have your employer withhold to GVH or else make quarterly tax payments. GVH will give full credit for amounts paid to another municipality up to 2.5%.
(d) Non-resident works in GVH – The employer is responsible for withholding the 2.5% income tax and remitting the monies on behalf of its employees. You would need to check with your city of residence to determine if you receive credit for taxes paid to GVH. No return would be required, provided the GVH employer properly withheld the local income tax on your IRS W-2 form, in boxes 18-20.
5. What if I accidentally filed to Columbus? No worries, it’s not too late.
Since GVH borders the City of Columbus, we oftentimes hear that some residents have filed accidentally with Columbus. If so, the GVH Finance Department tax team is happy to help you get your account current. Both Columbus and GVH work together to help correct such errors and help taxpayers get refunds of taxes paid to the wrong jurisdiction, and get them on the right path. We will help you get the money you paid to another community re-directed properly to GVH. As long as you work with us and taxes were paid to another community, we will give due consideration to waiving or reducing any penalty or interest fees assessed.
6. Under what circumstances do I need to make estimated quarterly payments?
You are required to make estimated quarterly payments, if you anticipate your tax liability for the current year to reach $200. In order to be penalty-proof, you must pay in at least 90% of your current year tax, or 100% of the prior year liability. Here is the form to make estimated payments.
7. Did you receive a Notice from RITA, either a Non-Filing notice or Administrative Subpoena?
Non-Filing Notice - Due to changes in the Ohio Revised Code which took effect in 2016, some individuals have been assessed a $150 late-filing-penalty ($25/mo. – 6 months max). RITA has correctly implemented this penalty for the GVH tax system that they maintain. The City will NOT be enforcing this penalty in the future, and is currently working with RITA to mitigate the effect on those who may have been impacted. If you find you have been assessed this penalty for 2016 or 2017, please contact the tax team (contact info below) and we will promptly make an adjustment to your account.
Administrative Subpoena – It is the combination of RITA not having a record of your municipal tax filing which is believed to be an oversight and still required, AND a taxpayer’s non-responsiveness to prior RITA correspondence. Since it is a subpoena from RITA, at this point it is a bit late for tax team involvement, but they can at least still provide some assistance by explaining the process. Please click here (Notice) for the RITA webpage on Receiving Notices.
8. I worked with RITA and successfully resolved a tax matter with them. I asked if RITA would forgive the penalty and interest assessment based on my circumstances. RITA indicated they could not and I would have to contact the City and place my request with them. Is that correct? Why?
Yes, that is correct and by design. In the spirit of providing personalized service to our residents, the City has chosen to have our local Finance Department tax team members serve as your contact point for these requests. As a much smaller organization, we feel that we can achieve greater consistency, and provide a prompt and fair evaluation of each individual case, which will be appreciated by our residents.