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Published: Wednesday, 7/1/2009

Rossford joins consortium to collect income tax


Rossford has joined a consortium of governments that will begin collecting income taxes from businesses and residents.

The Regional Income Tax Agency, which provides collection services for roughly 160 municipalities statewide, will begin collecting taxes for Rossford this month. Four other Wood County municipalities - Haskins, Portage, Tontogany, and Weston - are part of the consortium, as are Fremont, Sandusky, and other northwest Ohio communities.

Rossford expects to pay $55,000 to $61,000 annually for the service, or about 2 percent of tax collections totalling nearly $3 million, said Karen Freeman, Rossford's finance director.

For the first time, meanwhile, taxpayers in Rossford will be able to file local income taxes. The agency has online assistance to help calculate what is owed, and it has a call center, Ms. Freeman said.

Rossford had conducted its own tax collection, but staffing was cut back several years ago, Ms. Freeman said. The agency keeps its costs low and provides municipalities access to an array of professional services, including experts to look at tax returns, accountants, and attorneys, she said.

"We can pick some things we need from RITA and not pay for anything we don't need," Ms. Freeman said.

With such services available, meanwhile, Rossford should be able to increase its amount of tax collections, Ms. Freeman said.

The agency can exchange data with the Internal Revenue Services to compare taxpayer filings, she said.

"They have some attorneys on staff, they have CPAs on staff," Ms. Freeman said.

The agency was formed in 1971 after 38 municipalities joined to create a regional council of governments to administer tax collection and enforcement. Each member names a delegate to the regional council, and each has one vote on issues, no matter how much population or tax collection it has. Weston joined in 2007, and the agency's staff came to the village in March to help residents with tax returns for no extra charge, Sarah Schroeder, fiscal officer, said.

Most Rossford residents won't notice the change until they file their income taxes next year, Ms. Freeman said.

Business withholding taxes for June will be sent by taxpayers to the agency this month, she said.

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