What are the top 10 mistakes people make in filing a tax return?
10. Failure to sign return or attach check.
9. Failure to file estimates.
8. Failure to advise of address changes.
7. Failure to file return for the year taxpayer moves in or out.
6. Failure to allocate taxes paid when allocating income for move-in/move out
5. Failure to mail return.
4. Failure to claim final estimate made when after date on return, line 11b.
3. Failure to attach Schedules/Forms and statements.
2. Failure to attach all W-2's.
1. Failure to use gross compensation.
If you have additional questions, please contact the Westerville Income Tax Division Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at (614) 901-6420 or stop by our office located at 64 E. Walnut Street.
My employer withheld Westerville tax, but I live in Columbus. How can I get a refund?
Because income is taxed first where it is earned, if your wages were earned in Westerville you would owe Westerville tax on that basis and would not be due a refund merely because you live in Columbus (or any other municipality). If your employer’s office location is in Westerville but you worked all or part of your time outside Westerville, you would be due a refund of all or part of your Westerville tax which you can claim by filing an individual refund form for days out of the city. In this situation, the wages you claimed as having earned outside of Westerville would be subject to Columbus (or any other municipality) tax. An employer’s certification is required with all requests for a refund of tax withheld on wages claimed as having been earned outside of Westerville. Also, if you incurred employee business expenses in earning your wages, you may claim a refund of the tax withheld to Westerville on the amount of wages that are reduced by the portion of your employee business expenses you claimed and properly reported on Form 2106 and Schedule A of your federal return.
I’m a partner in a partnership and a Westerville resident. Do I owe Westerville tax on my income from the partnership?
Westerville resident is taxed upon his/her share of all income earned by partnerships (wherever located) in which he/she is a partner. However, the credit allowed by the City of Westerville is given for all city income tax that was paid to the city or cities in which the income was earned, whether the partnership as an entity or you as an individual partner paid the tax.
I owe city taxes but I am unable to pay my full liability at the time my return is due. Should I still file my return?
Yes, you should file your return by the due date whether or not you are able to pay the amount of tax that you owe. Any person who fails to make and/or file a return when due will be subject to a late filing penalty of five dollars ($5.00) per day of each and every day they remain in violation, to a maximum of three hundred ($300.00) dollars. You will receive a bill for the unpaid taxes along with the late payment penalty of 10% and interest of 1% per month. You may call (614) 901-6420 to arrange for payment of the charges shown on the bill.
I’m self-employed but my business has not shown a profit. Am I required to file a return?
Yes, anyone conducting a business in Westerville must file an annual return and report the net profits or net losses of said business. The leasing of real or tangible property (i.e., income from rental property) that you own is considered a taxable business activity that must be reported.
How can I make sure my employer is withholding the correct local tax from my wages?
Look at the gross wage figure on your paycheck stub. If you are an hourly employee, your gross wage has generally been computed by multiplying your hourly rate (or an overtime rate if applicable) by the number of hours you worked during the period. Gross wages for a salaried employee are generally determined by dividing gross annual salary by the number of pay periods in the salary year. Whether hourly or salaried, gross wages are determined before any deductions or deferments (i.e., 401K deferrals). If you earned your wages in Westerville, multiply your gross wage figure by 2.0% (.02). The result of this computation should equal the local tax that was withheld from your wages. If you find that the correct local tax is not being withheld, you need to contact your employer to have it corrected. Although your employer is legally responsible for withholding the correct tax and paying the tax to the city in which your wages were earned, the tax is being imposed upon your wages such that you have responsibility to ensure that your full tax obligation is being paid.
As an employer can I remit my W-2 information on magnetic media?
Yes, the acceptable form of magnetic media is CDROM. The specifications for magnetic filing must include the identical information as reported to the IRS for federal tax purposes in boxes 1 through 15 of the W-2 form. (See most recent (SSA Pub. No. 42-007). In addition you must include the city wage and tax information pertaining to Westerville, reported in the Code S Record as required for State and local annual reporting.
To remit the second type of tax, the tax withheld from your employees’ wages, you will need to establish a withholding account with us.
You do this by filing a Business Registration, which is a simple questionnaire. Employers are liable for all city withholding taxes that should have been withheld from their employee’s wages EVEN if those taxes were not, in fact, withheld. Because of this obligation, you’ll want to make sure you set-up your employer withholding account as soon as you hire employees. You can call (614) 901-6420 to request a copy of the Business Registration mailed to you.
I’m starting a business. What do I need to do about city taxes?
You will normally have to remit two types of city taxes: the net profits tax and (if you have employees) the employee withholding tax. The first is the tax due on profits of your business, whether your business is a sole proprietorship, corporation or partnership. Incidentally, all net profits earned by S-corporations are taxed at the corporate level. As such, the individual shareholders of S-corps are not taxed. Partnerships and the limited liability companies (LLC’s) must make an election to file at this level on behalf of all partners, or each individual partner must file an annual return. Once this election is made for the partnership or LLC to file, this is irrevocable, but partners may elect to have the partnership begin filing on behalf of all partners. All businesses, with the exception of sole proprietorships, file their city taxes using the Business Form.
Sole proprietorships file by reporting their Federal Schedule C income on the proprietor’s individual city return, if reporting tax to more than two cities; they must complete Schedule Y - Business allocation formula. Additional information is available in the instructions for the forms. Visit our web site at www.westerville.org/Services/Income Tax to view and download the Individual and Business forms and instructions.
To remit the second type of tax, the tax withheld from your employees’ wages, you will need to establish a withholding account with us. You do this by filing a Business Registration, which is a simple questionnaire. Employers are liable for all city withholding taxes that should have been withheld from their employee’s wages EVEN if those taxes were not, in fact, withheld. Because of this obligation, you’ll want to make sure you set-up your employer withholding account as soon as you hire employees. You can call (614) 901-6420 to request a copy of the Business Registration mailed to you or our web site at www.westerville.org/Services/Income Tax to view and download.
How do I know what city I live and/or work in?
First, don’t always rely on the mailing address to determine the city in which you live or work. The U.S. Postal Service establishes mailing addresses based upon the Post Office that serves your area, not the city in which you may actually live or work. Similarly, you cannot rely on your School District, since they don’t always follow the city boundaries. If you are a registered voter, it should be easy to determine your city of residence. If you vote for the city council or mayor, you live in that city. For information on how to register to vote, contact the County Board of Elections where you live. If you are not a registered voter, you may call the City of Westerville at (614) 901-6420 and tell the representative that you wish to verify your city of residence. Employers may also call (614) 901-6420 to verify the city in which their employees are working.
Is city withholding tax based on employee work location or residence?
City withholding is based upon work location.
My spouse and I file separately at the federal/state levels. Do I have to file the same for municipal purposes?
No, a husband and wife, in any taxable year, may elect to file separate or joint city returns, regardless of their federal or state filing status. However, there is no advantage to filing separate at the local level.
I am over eighteen, but currently attend college. Do I need to file a Westerville tax return?
Yes, if this is your permanent residence, even if you do not domicile there. Permanent residence is established by where you maintain your driver’s license, voter registration and file your federal and state tax returns.
I reside in Westerville, my wages are my only taxable income and my employer is withholding my Westerville tax liability properly. Do I need to file a Westerville tax return?
Yes. The City of Westerville has mandatory filing for all persons, age 18 and over, who are residents, or who do business within Westerville to file an annual income tax return.
How do I determine where my local tax is owed?
Local tax is due first to the city in which the income was actually earned and secondarily to your city of residence, based on their laws.
When can I expect my refund?
The City has 90 days from the later of the date your taxes were due or the date your completed refund request is received to review your request. If your return is complete and approved, a refund check will be mailed to you. A refund request is not considered received unless it is complete and all the required information has been provided.
Can I receive assistance in preparing my city of Westerville Tax Return?
Yes. The Income Tax Division personnel can assist you either by mail or in person. The Income Tax office is open Monday through Friday; 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Please call 614-901-6420, or visit the Income Tax Office (64 East Walnut St.). If you visit the Tax Office please bring with you a copy of your Federal Income Tax Return and all W-2's and 1099 for wages. These will help us assist you in preparing your Westerville Income Tax Return. There is no charge for this service.
If an individual files late is there a penalty?
Yes. The Penalty rate is 10% of the tax due. Also, any person who fails to make and/or file a return when due will be subject to a late filing penalty of five dollars ($5.00) per day of each and every day they remain in violation, to a maximum of three hundred ($300.00) dollars. Interest of 1% per month is charged for late payments.
I am retired. My only income is from Social Security, company pension, interest and dividends. Am I required to file a City of Westerville Income Tax Return?
Yes. You must file for a period of three years and then you are no longer required to file with the City of Westerville, unless your sources of income change.
If I lived in Westerville for a portion of the year or turned eighteen during the year, do I still need to file?
Yes, but you will only be responsible to pay taxes on income earned during the time you either lived in Westerville or turned eighteen.
Is there an age limit for individuals subject to Westerville Income Tax?
Yes, all individuals under eighteen years of age are exempt from City of Westerville Income Tax and are eligible for a refund of municipal tax withheld. There is no upper age limit.
Is it possible to amend my estimate during the year?
Yes. On the reminder notices sent for the second, third and fourth quarters, you may write in above the current declaration the amended amount. You must clearly mark the form as an amount to be amended.
I am a Westerville resident and work in an area with no municipal tax. How often must I file with Westerville?
You must file an annual tax return by April 15th of each year. As part of your annual tax return, a declaration of estimate may be required, when your tax liability to the City of Westerville exceeds one hundred dollars ($100.00). The first estimate should be paid with the annual tax return. Subsequent payments are due July 31st and October 31st of the current year, and January 31st of the following year. If no estimate payments are made, then a 10% penalty will be assessed at the time of filing, on the amount of tax due.
Can I forward my form to the Income Tax Division online?
No, but forms are easily downloaded from the city website www.westerville.org/Services/Income Tax. Residents can then either mail the forms back with any necessary payment, or fax the form to the Income Tax Division at (614) 901-6820.
If I work outside Westerville, does the City receive any local income tax from me?
Possibly. Westerville allows full credit up to our 2.0% rate. Residents working outside Westerville pay income taxes to the community where they work, if rate is less than 2.0%, then actual tax withheld is allowed as a credit, but is limited to our 2.0%.
What is the City of Westerville Income Tax rate and what type of income is taxable?
The income tax rate is two percent (2.0%). Generally, gross income (including income which is deferred) and business net profits are taxable at the local level. A list of what is taxable is available on this website.