Dec 30, 2021
Hybrid work arrangements significantly impact municipal income tax withholding requirements and raise other municipal tax issues.
With the start of the new year just around the corner, the “pre-pandemic” law for Ohio municipal income tax withholding will soon return.
Applicable to periods beginning on or after 1/1/2022, if an employee works a hybrid schedule by spending some days working at home and other days working at the office, employers will once again be required to withhold municipal tax based on where the employee’s work is actually performed. For many employers, this may trigger withholding for employees’ home municipalities that the employer may never have been required to do before. Additionally troubling is the requirement for businesses to allocate such wages, and potentially apportion some gross receipts (sales) as well, to these home municipalities for purposes of the net profits (income) tax, subjecting the company to income tax reporting in each of their employees’ home municipalities.
As we recommended in our July blog, to ease the complexities of tracking actual work locations for Ohio municipal withholding requirements in 2022, employers could consider having employees sign formalized, hybrid work agreements. Such agreements provide consistency, structure, and ease of record keeping. In exchange for permitting hybrid work schedules, employers might consider requiring employees to report true-up differences between actual and forecasted work on their personal municipal income tax returns and to provide proof of payment (in case the employer is audited). Noting that the hybrid work agreement will be helpful but cannot cover all municipal activity, employers could also aim to develop ways within their internal system to most easily track multi-location work performed by employees throughout the year. Employers could consider contacting municipalities to gain pre-approval of estimated or hybrid withholding approaches or enter into withholding agreement(s) with the municipalities. Consultation with legal counsel related to any employment arrangements should also be considered due to the complexity of labor laws.
If we can assist you regarding your specific facts and circumstances and in making decisions about municipal income tax compliance or if you have any questions, please contact your William Vaughan Company advisor.
Categories: Tax Compliance
Mar 29, 2021
The concept of remote working was quickly embraced last year as we witnessed states all across the nation implement lockdown orders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even here in Ohio, Governor DeWine instituted stay-at-home orders resulting in thousands of Ohio workers clocking in their 40-hour workweek from their home office. What was thought to be a several-month solution has now turned into over a year or more of remote working. The end result – a municipal income tax withholding dispute between the state, cities, and taxpayers.
Why the dispute?
During the government-imposed lockdown, Ohio lawmakers adopted a temporary law change allowing employers to keep withholding to the office location until 30 days after the Governor’s State of Emergency order ended. This was intended to relieve the burden on the employer of tracking withholdings for their employees throughout various cities and villages from which they were working remotely. Now, over a year later, some Ohio cities are interpreting the temporary law to mean municipalities can permanently retain those withholding dollars from workers who neither live nor work in their city.
What does this mean?
Several Ohio taxpayers have brought this debate to Ohio courts to determine the constitutionality of the temporary COVID-19 municipal income tax law. The court case was filed in July 2020 and is still in its early stages. (The Buckeye Institute v. City of Columbus Auditor, 20 CV 004301, Franklin County Common Pleas Court)
What should I do?
If you are an Ohio taxpayer who worked some or all of 2020 remotely, you should connect with your accounting advisor to determine if you should be filing City Non-resident Refund Claims (NRR). NRRs have always been available for individuals who have tax withheld by their employer for days they do not work in the city. Please note, if you are able to receive a refund of the tax withheld for your workplace city/village, you will likely owe that tax, or some portion of it to your residence community if that community has a tax.