Jul 09, 2021
On June 30, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law Ohio’s 2022-23 budget. One of the key items in the law was the clarification of a municipal income tax withholding dilemma that has been ongoing since virtually the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this clarification means good news for many employees, it may also be a massive headache for employers.
The Good News
Earlier this year, we penned a blog outlining how a temporary “Pandemic” law change intended to ease municipal income tax withholding burdens on employers was, in fact, having unintended negative consequences on remote workers. Many were left paying taxes to municipalities they did not live in and did not physically work in either, due to stay-at-home orders.
The 2022-23 budget bill extends the temporary law noted above through December 31, 2021, and clarifies that it applies only to employer withholding requirements and not to the actual liability an employee has to a given city. This means, for 2021 only, employees can request a tax refund for any days they neither lived nor physically performed work in a municipality. It is important to note an employee may still owe tax to the municipality in which they live.
The Bad News
Yes, the temporary law is extended to the end of 2021, but that means, beginning in 2022 “pre-pandemic” law will be back in place.
While the ever-expanding world of technology was leading us down a road where remote work would become the norm, the COVID-19 pandemic put us in a Lamborghini and sped us there in a matter of a year. Employers have realized their workforce can get work done remotely, and employees are becoming accustomed to more time with their families and much less time commuting while continuing to be productive in their work. Remote work is here to stay, and absent any future, permanent law changes, the reversion in 2022 back to pre-pandemic rules has the potential to be a huge problem for two reasons.
- First, pre-pandemic law included a 20-day municipal withholding rule, only requiring employers to withhold if an employee physically worked in a municipality for more than 20 days. Unfortunately, this rule will not align very well with a remote work environment. Even if a business is modestly flexible, allowing employees to work remotely just two days a month, this would trip the 20-day rule, requiring withholding from wages for every municipality within which their employees reside.
- Second, although many employers offer courtesy withholding so may already be withholding taxes for those cities, tripping this 20-day rule will now require those wages to be allocated to that municipality for purposes of the net profits (income) tax, subjecting the company to Income tax in each of those municipalities.
To ease into the 2022 transition, employers could consider formalizing hybrid work arrangements and creating an internal system to easily track days worked remotely.
We will be keeping our eyes peeled for any future legislation that may alter municipal tax rules for 2022 and beyond. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact your William Vaughan Company advisor.
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Oct 26, 2020
On Friday, October 23, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine approved several new programs aimed to provide much-needed relief to small businesses, restaurants/bars, and low-income families negatively impacted by COVID-19. These programs include:
Small Business Relief Grant – This program will designate up to $125 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $10,000 grants to small businesses with no more than 25 employees to help them through the current crisis. The program will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency. If you are a small business with no more than 25 employees, you can apply for one of the first-come, first-serve grants starting on November 2, 2020. Businesses can use the grants to pay for various expenses including mortgages, rent, utilities, salaries, health care premiums, business supplies, and other related operational costs. Click here to review the terms & conditions of the program. Ineligible businesses include, but are not limited to nonprofits, private schools, clubs, etc.
The Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund – This program is designed to assist Ohio’s on-premise liquor permit holders. Governor Mike DeWine has designated $37.5 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $2,500 assistance payments to on-premise liquor permit holders to help them through the financial difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. These permit holders have not been able to fully use their liquor permit and it’s had an impact on their business. The program, which will begin accepting applications on November 2, 2020, will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency. Click here for more information on how to apply.
Home Relief Grant – Also accepting applications starting November 2, 2020, is the Home Relief Grant Program which will help eligible Ohioans who are behind on rent, mortgage, and water and/or sewer utility bills catch up on past payments back to April 1, 2020, and provide additional assistance through December 30, 2020. Ohioans can apply for assistance through their local Community Action Agency. Click here for more information on how to apply.
As always, we are here to provide assistance. If you have immediate questions or concerns, please reach out to your William Vaughan Company advisor today or call us at 419.891.1040