Run in Ohio? You may need to make a CAT call

By Jami Jones
senior editor

Ohio has a new Commercial Activity Tax that not only truckers based in Ohio may face, but also truckers who just drive through the state.

While the criteria to be subject to the tax seems somewhat clear - any business with at least $150,000 per year in gross taxable receipts as the basic guideline - for truckers, it gets complicated, quick.

In fact, the situation is so complicated, that all the questions from Land Line about truckers' obligation to the task cannot be answered by the Ohio Department of Taxation, the group riding herd on the tax.

What a department spokesman could confirm is that taxable gross receipts will be determined based off of Ohio IFTA miles.  

So, whatever percentage a trucker or company runs in Ohio will be calculated against the total gross receipts.

For example, if a trucker grosses $300,000 in a year and runs half of his or her miles in Ohio, the tax will be levied against $150,000 - which would be a minimum fee of $75 this year and $150 a year starting in 2006.

Confused? It gets worse.

The taxation department confirmed that truckers who just run through Ohio - no pickups or deliveries - are also subject to the tax if the miles and gross receipt calculation works out right.

The minimum tax is $75 this year - since the tax has only been in effect since July 1, 2005 - and will be $150 a year starting in 2006. That amount seems insignificant compared to the penalty for not "registering" with the department.

Businesses were required to register by Nov. 15, 2005, or within 30 days of having $150,000 in gross taxable receipts. If you fail to register, it's $100 per month, up to $1,000 in penalties.

Thoroughly confused? With the deadline passed and the fees getting steeper, any trucker with questions should call the Ohio Department of Taxation at 1-888-722-8829 for assistance.

But be careful, for out-of-state businesses there are references to a $500,000 minimum gross taxable receipt requirement to be subject to the tax.

However, the Ohio Department of Taxation told Land Line that number is under review.