A Punch to the Gut for Ohio's Entrepreneurs? Ohio Tax Reform Bill (HB 59) Analyzed by Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Entrepreneurs providing services in Ohio need to take the time to review the impact that Governor Kasich’s proposed budget would have on their sales, purchases and business planning.

As noted by the Vorys’ analysis linked here, “This tax expansion will hit Ohio businesses most directly and hardest although individual consumers will bear the brunt of these new taxes in the form of higher prices for the things they typically buy and use.”

Here is a summary of the service tax implications of HB 59 from the analysis: 

The bill abandons the approach of defining and listing specific services that may be taxed. Instead, it expands the definition of sale to include all services. The term “services” is defined as “any act performed for another for a fee, retainer, commission or other consideration.” There are several notable exclusions from this expansive definition including: medical and healthcare services; educational services; adult and child day care services; funeral services; and services of an employee rendered to his/her employer.

This shift makes virtually any act performed (outside an employer/employee relationship) by any person, business, enterprise, joint venture, partnership, etc… for another in exchange for something of value a service that is subject to sales or use tax. Yes, this means ALL non-excluded services. If you can think of or describe an act rendered for a fee that is not expressly excluded, it’s a taxable service under the bill. Many services never before taxed would be under the proposed tax reform such as accounting, engineering, legal, banking, business consulting, advertising (space and time), transportation, public utility, software engineering, and management services.

Vorys also does an excellent job summarizing the real-word impact of the imposition of these new service taxes:

They will have drastic tax effects on each business in Ohio in the form of new taxes to pay and/or collect. Each business should review its accounts receivable base to make very certain that it understands the potential sales tax collection responsibilities that may be imposed. Point of sale/point of purchase software may need updated or replaced. Contracts may need to be reviewed and customer budgets considered. Invoicing systems may need replaced. This is true for the sale and purchase side of your business. You will need to review invoices and accounts payable to make sure the correct amount of sales tax is being collected by the vendor or use tax is being remitted. For direct pay permit holders or users of use tax software systems, new compliance protocols should be considered.

This new law is of significant import to the Ohio entrepreneurial community - both from the newly-imposed burden of tax collection for your services, as well as from the perspective of the potential need to re-work and update products sold to clients.

The Ruppert Co., LLC will be following the progress of this legislation.

Contact us if RCo. can be of help as you evaluate the impact of this bill on your current or future business.

Jeffrey Ruppert

Source: http://www.vorys.com/publications-737.html