We are in the midst of tax season so I would like to offer a few helpful bits of information to our tax-filers.

The city of Canal Winchester has an income tax rate of 2 percent as well as a mandatory filing requirement. This means that even if you don’t have any taxable income or you had income taxes properly withheld by your employer, you are still required to file a tax return. These returns should be filed with the Regional Income Tax Agency (R.I.T.A), Canal Winchester’s new third-party income tax administrator.

In the past, the city of Columbus administered taxes for a number of central Ohio suburbs. The change was effective as of Jan. 1, 2019 and requires any tax information, regardless of the tax year to which it applies, to be directed to R.I.T.A.

How are municipal income taxes figured?

In Ohio, city income taxes are first paid to the municipality in which you work, then to the municipality in which you live. Some municipalities offer credit for all or a portion of taxes paid to the other municipality.This is referred to as a reciprocity agreement.

Canal Winchester offers 100 percent credit of up to 2 percent of income taxes paid elsewhere.

For example, if you work in Columbus and live in Canal Winchester, you would be paying 2.5 percent income tax to Columbus and not owe any additional income tax to Canal Winchester.

However, if you work in Pickerington and live in Canal Winchester, you would only be paying 1 percent income tax to Pickerington and would be required to pay an additional 1 percent income tax to Canal Winchester (2 percent Canal Winchester rate minus the 1 percent Pickerington rate leaves 1 percent still owed to Canal Winchester).

Watch out for these common mistakes:

One of the biggest errors with Canal Winchester income tax filings are individuals who file thinking they are Canal Winchester residents when, in fact, they live within an unincorporated area or in another municipality.

Canal Winchester mailing addresses reach much farther than the actual corporation limits and only those residing or working within the corporation limits are required to file and pay city income taxes.

You can determine your residency status by visiting “The Finder” on the Ohio Department of Taxation’s website or looking at the taxing district listed on your property tax bill from the county auditor.

Also worth mentioning is that city income taxes are different than school district income taxes. School district income taxes are always paid to the district in which you live. These taxes are not the responsibility of the local municipality and are handled by the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Any questions regarding school district income taxes should be directed to the appropriate school district or to the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Income taxes can be confusing, even for licensed professionals. Always remember that help is available at the click of a button or a phone call away! The Regional Income Tax Agency can be reached by phone at 1-800-860-7482 or 1-866-721-7482 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours beginning March 9.

For a complete listing of call center hours, additional assistance and online filing, visit the R.I.T.A. website at www.ritaohio.com.

Amanda Jackson is Canal Winchester’s finance director. The city provides this column to ThisWeek Canal Winchester Times.