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Published: 8/21/2003

City doesn't audit every tax return

This letter responds to a letter to the editor that appeared in The Blade Tuesday from a taxpayer, Ronald Everett, who received notice from the Division of Taxation and Treasury indicating that he overpaid his taxes for tax year 2002 by $6.13 and would receive a credit in that amount toward his 2003 City of Toledo income tax return. The taxpayer suggests that our practice of auditing all returns of small dollar amounts is not cost-efficient and should cease.

In response, please be advised that it is not our practice to have auditors audit every income tax return that we receive in our office. With the number of returns filed annually, it would not be practical to do so.

Our income tax system is computerized and designed to do a preliminary audit of all income tax returns whereby it computes tax liability and checks for mathematical accuracy. Our system is also programmed to compute tax liability based upon Toledo's income tax rate at 21/4 percent.

When Mr. Everett's return was entered into our system, the computer software discovered that an error had been made on his return and a letter was generated automatically. Mr. Everett's return, when prepared, had calculated Toledo tax using a tax rate of 21/2 percent, which is incorrect.

Although it is not our practice to audit returns of such small dollar amounts, when errors are detected by our tax system, we have a responsibility to give notice to the taxpayer. This helps to prevent the same error from occurring on future tax filings. We also have a responsibility of giving notice of any overpayment in excess of $1.

It is the policy of the City of Toledo to apply its income tax provisions fairly and uniformly to all citizens. This includes enforcing the proper income tax rate.

CLARENCE COLEMAN

Commissioner

Division of Taxation and Treasury

Why not use images of real educators?

Maybe I got up on the wrong side of the bed, but I am a bit annoyed by the ad for the Newspaper in Education workshops. Your caption reads, “We like to give teachers credit,” but the image you show seems to mock teachers. It is a decidedly stereotypical image of a teacher - “bun-like” hair, prim expression, prominent nose, glasses.

You would really give teachers credit if you used images of the real educators who have come to the workshops and benefited from learning with such a wide variety of their peers.

CHRISTINE A. HOLLIDAY

Claudia Drive

Recently some friends and I attended a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Albany, N.Y. at Pepsi Arena, built in 1990 with loans taken out by the county. After reflecting on it, I thought that the experience could offer some light on the Toledo arena controversy.

Albany is a smaller city than Toledo by population, and only by factoring in nearby Schenectady is the metro area population slightly larger (even that can be disputed).

When was the last time an act that was not popular 10 or 20 years ago came to Toledo? The last time U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fleetwood Mac, and other big name acts set foot in this town?

Rarely.

The last time the NCAA Basketball Tournament Regional Finals or the NCAA Frozen Four were held here?

Never.

Pepsi Arena, however, has welcomed many big-name bands and hosted several huge NCAA events, not to mention an AHL hockey team. Toledo could be like Albany and get national attention with a world-class arena. It doesn't matter which side of the river it's built. Just get it done. Personally, I tire of driving to Cleveland or Detroit to see one of my favorite bands or a sporting event of note when they could be here.

KEVIN WEBER

Rudgate Boulevard

The Ohio Council for Home Care is deeply concerned over the current Medicare reform legislation that is being taken up in the joint House-Senate conference committee. While the United States Senate made great efforts to help stabilize the Medicare home health benefit after years of seemingly endless cuts, the House version of the legislation includes provisions that will have an adverse impact upon the industry and, consequently, on hundreds if not thousands of elderly Medicare beneficiaries.

OCHC is hopeful that members of the conference committee will find a way to ensure that those elderly beneficiaries that require the services of our membership will be able to actually get it. Since the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 more than 100 agencies have closed their doors in Ohio and Medicare is serving 1.3 million fewer beneficiaries nationwide as a result of drastically reduced reimbursement. This was before agency reimbursement was sliced by yet another 7 percent last October.

Now, with the House-passed version of the Medicare reform legislation, there would be co-payments for home health beneficiaries. While, it is expected that co-pays will help rein in Medicare costs, the reality is that they are a sick tax that will only push beneficiaries out of homes and into higher cost institutions. This cannot be a positive development as anyone watching the past state budget process could easily see.

In the end, OCHC understands that, somewhere, savings must be found; otherwise the entire Medicare program will eventually collapse under its own weight. However, it must be remembered that home care saves money over the long run by keeping people at home for as long as possible. Any policy decisions that limit our members' ability to aid people in that capacity can only backfire as time moves on and the baby boomers retire.

KATHLEEN ANDERSON

Executive Director

Ohio Council for Home Care

Columbus

The road map to peace in the Middle East will fail and eventually lead to more terrorism for everyone including Europe, Russia, and right here at home. Any pressure on Israel to restrain itself in the face of its national security or to make any concessions whatsoever in the face of terrorism sends an equivocal message to terrorist groups and their active and passive supporters.

The world must send an unequivocal message that all terrorist activity must stop now. The Palestinian Authority has not moved an inch to dismantle its al-Qaeda-style groups, to remove Jewish and Christian hate speech from its children's textbooks, or openly and loudly proclaimed for everyone to hear that Israel will always remain a Jewish state with religious equality for all.

Jews and Christians alike have now been forbidden for three years by the Muslim religious authority from public prayer at Judaism's only holy site, the site of the previous Jewish temples in Jerusalem.

Any American pressure on Israel to restrain itself in the face of Hezbollah guerrilla mortars killing its citizens or Palestinian terrorists blowing themselves up at malls is unacceptable.

IVAN MESSINGER

Sylvania

An East Side diner went out of business partially as a result of the smoking ban being imposed by Toledo City Council.

I take this personally because my friends and I were steady customers along with some River East associates and city councilmen and workers.

I would like to acknowledge Gus and Cindy for their service and ownership. I hate to see them go.

In case you haven't noticed, Hooters, Caf Marie, and other restaurants are moving to Oregon, not East Toledo. I wonder why.

PATRICK CURRAN

Delence Street

We could be building bridges

The cost of Toledo's new I-280 bridge will cost us $220 million when completed in 2005. The cost of the occupation by our troops in Iraq for one month is about $4 billion. This sum could buy our country 18 more bridges.

LEO KESSMAR

Northwood



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