Local Government 123


Local Government 123

By Mike Barhorst - Contributing columnist



In the continuing series of articles on local government, I am writing about the important role the numerous boards and commissions play within the community, and the vital contribution the volunteers who serve their community as members of the boards make by providing input and direction impacting all of our futures. In this article, I will write about the Income Tax Board of Review, and a second, very closely associated board, the Income Tax Board of Appeals.

The Income Tax Board of Review was established in 2003 by Ordinance A-2358, the same ordinance that established the Income Tax Board of Appeals. It was the direct result of legislation (HB95) passed by the Ohio General Assembly that year.

The portion of the ordinance pertaining to the Board of Income Tax Review reads:

“(a) A Board of Review, consisting of the Law Director, Finance Officer and City Manager or designee, is created.”

“(b) A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.”

“(c) The Board shall perform the duties imposed by this Chapter.”

“(d) The Board shall adopt its own procedural rules and keep a record of its proceedings.

All hearings by the Board may be conducted privately if requested by the taxpayer and the provisions under this section. The confidential nature of the information required to be disclosed shall apply to such matters as may be heard on appeal before the Board.”

“(e) The Board shall, on hearing, have authority to affirm, reverse, or modify any assessment, ruling or decision, or any part thereof, made by the Tax Administrator from which an appeal has been filed.”

“(f) When issuing decisions that are applicable to the Board of Tax Appeals, the Tax Administrator must inform taxpayers of their right to appeal and the manner in which the appeal must be filed with the Board.”

The current members of the Income Tax Board of Appeals include City Manager Mark Cundiff, who has served as a member since his appointment to his position in 2012, retired Emerson Climate Manager of International Support and Trade Compliance Robert Baird, who has served since 2009, and Ruese Insurance Owner Rudy Keister, who has served since 2003. The Income Tax Board of Appeals, like most of our boards and commissions requires that the appointed individuals live inside the city limits.

When a taxpayer is not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Review, they have the right to appeal the Board of Review’s decision to the Income Tax Board of Appeals. As noted previously, the Income Tax Board of Appeals was established at the same time as the Board of Review, a direct result of legislation (HB95) passed by the Ohio General Assembly in 2003.

The General Assembly subsequently reentered the picture in the guise of ‘standardizing’ the income tax.

Late in October 2015, council was required to adopt a new ordinance to comply with the provisions of House Bill 5, which was enacted by the General Assembly in December 2014 and effective Jan. 1, 2016. House Bill 5 effectively required that the city adopt an entire new codified ordinance section (chapter 142) pertaining to tax years 2016 and beyond, as well as maintain/update the existing tax laws (chapter 141) for tax years prior to 2016. As a part of these changes, there were modifications made to the board which reviews tax appeals.

Those changes were administrative in nature and applied to who could be appointed as well as the length of the terms of the citizens appointed to the board. Ordinance A-2358 read that “(a) A Board of Tax Appeals consisting of the City Manager and 2 citizens of the City, not employed by the City, appointed to serve four-year terms. Citizen members of the board shall be selected, if possible, based on a background in tax matters. One citizen member shall initially be appointed for 2 years and one appointed for 4 years. Thereafter, each member shall be appointed for a 4-year term.”

“(b) A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum.”

“(c) Taxpayers are given the right to appeal a decision of the Tax Administrator to the Board of Tax Appeals, provided that the taxpayer fired the required tax returns and documents. Request for appeals must be filed with the Board within 30 days after the Tax Administrator issues and appealable decision. The written notice of appeal shall be filed in a sealed envelope plainly marked ‘Appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals’ and mailed or delivered to the Tax Administrator who shall, within five days of receipt thereof, deliver the appeal to the Chairman of the Board of Tax Appeals or, if the Chairman is not available, to the Vice-Chairman. The request must be in writing and state the alleged errors I the decision. The Board shall schedule a hearing within 40 days after receiving a request, unless the taxpayer waives the hearing. If a taxpayer does not waive the hearing, the taxpayer is entitled to appear before the Board and be represented by an attorney at law, certified public accountant, or other representative. The Board shall issue a decision within 90 days after the final hearing, and send a notice of its decision to the taxpayer within 15 days after issuing the decision.”

“(d) The Board shall adopt its own procedural rules and keep a record of its proceedings. All hearings by the Board may be conducted privately if requested by the taxpayer and the provisions under this section. The confidential nature of the information required to be disclosed shall apply to such matters as may be heard on appeal before the Board.”

“(e) The Board shall, on hearing, have authority to affirm, reverse, or modify any assessment, ruling or decision, or any part thereof, made by the Tax Administrator from which an appeal has been filed.”

“(f) When issuing decisions that are applicable to the Board of Tax Appeals, the Tax Administrator must inform taxpayers of their right to appeal and the manner in which the appeal must be filed with the Board.”

The new legislation required that the Income Tax Board of Appeals include an appointment made by the city manager (but that appointee cannot be the city manager, cannot be anyone who works in the finance department, and must be a resident of the city of Sidney) and two citizens. The city manager’s appointee serves a continuous term; the two citizen appointees serve two-year terms.

As a result of the revised legislation, the members of the Income Tax Board of Appeals now include Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth, retired Emerson Climate Manager of International Support and Trade Compliance Robert Baird, and Ruese Insurance Owner Rudy Keister.

A listing of the boards and commissions is on the city’s website. If you have interest in one or more of them, please contact City Clerk Kari Egbert at 937-498-8148 or kegbert@sidneyoh.com.

In my next article, I’ll write about the Board of Building Code Appeals. The Board of Building Code Appeals hears and rules on any appeals from decisions made by the building inspector and reviews legislation as requested.

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Local Government 123

By Mike Barhorst

Contributing columnist

The writer is the mayor of Sidney.

The writer is the mayor of Sidney.