Remote workers file lawsuit over city municipal taxes

Workers in Toledo, Oregon, Columbus, and Cincinnati are suing the cities where they haven’t worked in person due to the pandemic
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 6:52 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Employees who began working remotely last year due to the pandemic are now taking legal action after being charged taxes for the cities where their jobs are headquartered, despite no longer coming into the office.

The municipal tax for cities to collect income from the employees was kept in effect through Ohio’s COVID relief plan, revised in tax law changes in House Bill 197.

The updates were made effective on March 17th, 2020, before state legislators knew how long the pandemic and remote work for many Ohioans would last.

With tax season upon us, workers realized they’d been paying municipal income tax to a city they haven’t been working in for a year or more, with many employers making it a permanent transition.

The suit against the city of Toledo was filed on Friday, March 12th. Jay Carson with the Buckeye Institute is representing the plaintiff, along with representing others filing suits in the cities of Oregon, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

Carson says ideally, the court would strike down that legislation as unconstitutional – if people haven’t been working in the city, they should be due a refund, giving the Ohio legislature the opportunity to reexamine how cities are funded.

“Ohio is unique in our country the way it relies on municipal income tax. Most other states do not rely on this income… there are other options the city can look at,” adds Carson.

Law Director for the City of Toledo, Dale Emch, sent the following statement to 13abc:

“We are reviewing the lawsuit, and as always, we will continue to follow Ohio law.”

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