UC Alum is Ohio's Tax Man
Date: April 12, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: General News
Taxed by the fast-approaching deadline to file your taxes? University of Cincinnati alumnus Thomas M. Zaino has tips for you below.
He is Ohio Tax Commissioner, responsible for the collection and administration of more than $18 billion of state taxes.
The 36-year-old Xenia native graduated from UC in 1986 with a bachelor's of Business Administration and became a certified public accountant in 1991. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Ohio State University College of Law in 1989.
Zaino took a little time out from his busy schedule - tax time is the busiest time of the year for him - to give helpful advice to last-minute filers. And remember, you have till midnight April 16 to file this year because April 15 falls on a Sunday.
Good news for Ohio taxpayers:
One is the tax cut. Because of the budget surplus last year, everyone got a 6.9 percent cut in their income tax. That's more than $600 million going back to taxpayers.
On the customer service front, I should now mention we have a system off our website, www.state.oh.us/tax, where taxpayers can e-mail their questions to us. Our goal is to get them an answer back within 24 hours.
As far as filing taxes, we're always working to add features that make it easier and more convenient for taxpayers. This year, we're seeing even more people choosing to file taxes electronically. On that front, we expanded the telefile program to give even more people that option. For anyone wanting their refund back quickly - and I think that's pretty much everyone - telefile and e-file are the way to go. Last year, we had about 1.3 million returns filed electronically. That's about 20 percent of our total returns. Our goal this year is to hit the 30 percent mark, or about 1.7 million returns. Ultimately, our goal is to have a paperless system.
I'd like to encourage people who are getting refunds to choose the direct deposit option, where the refund goes right into their bank account. That's the absolute fastest way to get your money back. If you owe tax, we've added a feature this year that allows you to pay by credit card.
What are the benefits for taxpayers, as well as state workers, for filing online?
For taxpayers, the benefits are faster processing of their refund claims and more accurate processing of their returns. Filing electronically really cuts down on the number of mistakes.
What is the average state income tax refund expected to be this year?
The average refund this year is in the neighborhood of $258.
Any helpful words for the last-minute filer?
File electronically and consider filing a request for an extension to file, but realize it's not an extension to pay. A final note - and I guess it's a good one - people have a little more time to file this year. Usually, the deadline is April 15th but because that falls on a Sunday, you'll have until midnight, April 16th to file your return. I have a feeling there will be plenty of people who can use every last minute.