Ohio cities try to calculate income tax hit from those working at home

Downtown traffic lightened up in spring 2020 as workers fled city offices to work from home during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Ohio lawmakers want to let ex-commuters forgo paying municipal income taxes to the cities where their offices were located.

COLUMBUS – Ohioans might enjoy working at home even as COVID-19 restrictions lift, but most Ohio cities could take a financial hit because of that option. 

How much of a hit? That's nearly impossible to tell. 

Here's why: Changes included in the state's two-year budget would allow commuters who live in one city but work in another to receive a refund for any income taxes their employers collected while their office sat vacant in 2021. 

Not all work-from-home employees will take advantage of the refund, though.

If someone works in the same city as they live, that's a wash. If someone works in a city with a substantially similar tax rate as their home city, then they might not seek a refund because the amount would be minimal. In many cases, cities offer credits to offset the difference in income tax rates, complicating the equation.

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