Once hosted by Johnny Carson, Who Do You Trust? was a game show aired on the ABC television network In the late 1950s and early 1960s. Contestant couples competing to correctly answer a series of questions also faced a judgment call: The male was challenged to either answer the question himself or decide whether to “trust” his female partner to come up with the right answer. The theme offered a fun look at the relative wisdom of the genders and the battle of the sexes.
A much different version of this “game” – although it really isn’t a game – involves huge refunds owed to Ohio business taxpayers, as reported by The Columbus Dispatch: The "State Owes $30 Million in Back Taxes to Businesses."
But how can this be so? The Dispatch reports the Ohio Inspector General assertion that the Department of Taxation has overlooked taxpayer requests for refunds totaling $30 million, as well as the IG’s speculation about an additional $294 million that may also have been overpaid, but not refunded.
At issue is the Department of Taxation’s passive stance in this area. Decisive taxpayer action is advised in the pursuit of refunds before limitations periods expire for a variety of tax overpayments. Business taxpayer reliance on the Department of Taxation to disburse refunds unsolicited is proving to be a losing proposition. Don't expect unsolicited refunds from the state, and don't count on the Department of Taxation to disclose the existence or size of overpayments. If the taxing authority is not alerted to overpayment discrepancies and how much they are, Department of Taxation systems in place apparently have not been processing refunds due.
At this point, this is seen as a procedural issue. Dispatch writers ponder the state's motives, but aside from one employee there’s no real evidence now of nefarious motives or activity. Even so, revelations about taxation department procedural flaws have prompted legislative initiatives to ensure best practices.
In any case, business taxpayers in Ohio now have a different take on Who Do You Trust?
RELATED LINKS: LEXIS users can view late developments related to tax overpayment and refund issues in Ohio:
"Ohio Governor to Seek Legislation to Refund Tax Overpayments," taxanalysts® State Tax Today, November 25, 2013.
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