Tax change would help Springfield’s senior citizens

Springfield residents over the age of 65 who have not received taxable income in the last three years would not have to file a city tax return if the change is approved by commissioners tonight.

The change would also reduce the amount of paperwork being processed by the city’s taxation department each year, said Springfield Finance Director Mark Beckdahl.

About 15 percent of the city’s population is over the age of 65, according to 2013 U.S. Census Data.

“It helps the citizen from the standpoint of not having to file a zero return and the paperwork associated with that,” Beckdahl said, “and it also helps us from an administrative standpoint with less paperwork in our office.”

If approved, the city’s income tax department will examine seniors’ income tax files and send letters to those who qualify. Residents would then have to provide information to the city to certify their status.

The city is currently in the process of making changes to its tax ordinance due to impending changes set forth in Ohio House Bill 5, a law signed last December which creates municipal income tax uniformity across the state. Many of the changes take effect in 2016.

Springfield currently requires mandatory filing of annual tax forms by all residents age 18-and-over. Residents are able to file electronically through the city’s website. About 1,500 residents filed electronically last year, Beckdahl said.

“We obviously encourage people to do that because it’s less paperwork on our part,” Beckdahl said. “We hope that continues to grow… It reduces paperwork for both sides.”

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