General Income Tax Information

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When can I expect my refund?

We know that receiving refunds in a timely manner is important to our taxpayers. We strive to process refund requests as quickly as possible. Some taxing agencies issue refunds up front and “chase” any improperly refunded money later after auditing. Here at the City, we audit refund requests up front, which safeguards taxpayer money and helps prevent fraud. Refund requests are processed in the order in which they are received. In some situations, a filed return requesting a refund may be incomplete. If that happens, the auditor to whom the refund is assigned will send a letter to the taxpayer requesting any additional information needed to complete the return.

Because each return is unique and must be audited before a refund can be issued, we are not able to tell you exactly when your refund will be received. Under state law, municipalities do not have to pay interest on any overpayment so long as it is refunded within ninety days after the final filing date of the annual return or ninety days after the completed return is filed, whichever is later. However, the Division strives to process returns more quickly than that.

You are always welcome to call the Division if you have questions or concerns about your refund request, but please keep in mind that the auditor with whom you speak must work the oldest completed returns first and will not be able to expedite your refund.

Can someone help me prepare my city tax return?

Taxpayers are encouraged to log in to the new CRISP portal when filing tax returns or making payments. This new system along with OTUS the online assistant, provides walk through assistance as returns are filed online.

There is also a CRISP hotline for questions not addressed specifically by the new system. Go to for additional information.

If you want help with your Federal or State returns, contact the IRS at 1 (800) 829-1040 or the Ohio Department of Taxation at 1-800-292-1780.

How will my tax return be processed?

The most efficient and effective way to file tax returns and make payments for City of Columbus Income Tax is through CRISP (Columbus Revenue Information Service Portal) at Effective September 26, 2023, all tax returns and payments not submitted through CRISP (Columbus Revenue Information Service Portal) are processed by our banking partner, JPMorgan Chase in a secure, state of the art facility. The decision to process mail in this manner was made to enhance the security of your sensitive information, improve staff productivity by automating manual processes, and disaster recovery/continuity of operations. By processing mail through JPMorgan Chase, we can ensure that your information is handled with the utmost care and protection within a trusted and secure facility. You can expect the same level of service and attention to detail that you have come to expect from the City of Columbus. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this change, please do not hesitate to contact us at (614) 645-7370. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we take steps to safeguard your sensitive information.

How can I make sure my employer is withholding the correct local tax from my wages?

Look at the gross wage figure on your paycheck stub. If you are an hourly employee, your gross wage has generally been computed by multiplying your hourly rate (or overtime rate if applicable) by the number of hours you worked during the period. Gross wages for a salaried employee are generally determined by dividing gross annual salary by the number of pay periods in the salary year. Whether hourly or salaried, gross wages are determined before any deductions or deferments (i.e. 401K deferrals). If you earned your wages in Columbus, multiply your gross wage figure by 2.5% (.025). The result of this computation should equal the local tax that was withheld from your wages. If you find that the correct local tax in not being withheld, you need to contact your employer to have it corrected. Although your employer is legally responsible for withholding the correct tax and paying that tax to the city in which your wages were earned, the tax is being imposed upon your wages such that you have the final responsibility to ensure that your full tax obligation is being paid.

How do I determine where my local tax is owed?

Local tax is due first to the city in which the income was actually earned. As a secondary factor, you may have an obligation to your city of residence.

For example: If you work in a city that has a 1% local tax rate and reside in a city that has a 2.5% local tax rate and allows 100% credit for local tax paid to your work city, your local tax obligation is 1% to the city of employment and 1.5% to the city of residence.

How do I know that the federal tax information I submit with my return will remain confidential?

Section 361.28 of the Columbus tax code allows the City Auditor or his representative to request Federal information to verify the accuracy of any return made by individuals subject to local tax. Section 361.29 of the Code states that, "Any information gained as the result of any returns, investigations, hearings or verifications required or authorized by this chapter, shall be confidential" and "Any person divulging such information, shall, upon conviction thereof, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both."

How do I know what city I live and/or work in?

First, don't always rely on the mailing address to determine the city in which you live or work. The U.S. Postal Service establishes mailing addresses based upon the Post Office that serves your area, not the city in which you may actually live or work. Similarly, you cannot rely on your School District, since they don't always follow the city boundaries.

  • If you are a registered voter, it should be easy to determine your city of residence. If you vote for the mayor of a city, you live in that city. For information on how to register to vote, contact the Franklin County Board of Elections at (614) 462-3100. If you recently moved or are not a registered voter you can verify you city of residence by using the Tax Jurisdiction Search feature on the CRISP home page.
  • Employers can verify the city in which their employees are working by using the Tax Jurisdiction Search feature on the CRISP home page.

I owe city taxes but I am unable to pay my full liability at the time my return is due. Should I still file my return?

Yes, you should file your return by the due date whether or not you are able to pay the entire amount of tax that you owe. You will receive a bill for the unpaid taxes along with late payment penalty and interest charges. The telephone number of our Delinquent Section (614) 645-8152 will appear on the bill so that you may contact that section to arrange for payment of the charges shown on the bill.

I reside in Columbus, my wages are my only taxable income and my employer is withholding my Columbus tax liability properly. Do I need to file a Columbus return?

No, but if you had a filing requirement with Columbus in the prior year and received a pre-encoded form for the current year, you should file a final return indicating that all tax was withheld by your employer so your account can be inactivated.

I work in a city that has a 1% local tax rate and I reside in a city that has a 2.5% local tax rate, yet my employer only withheld local taxes to my city of employment. How do I meet my 2.5% total local tax obligation to my city of residence?

You may request that your employer withhold an additional 1% in local tax to your city of residence. The 1.5% tax due your city of residence is considered an alternate tax due as a result of working in a city that has a tax rate that is less than the tax rate of your residence city. Your employer is not required to withhold the alternate tax, however many employers will withhold the alternate tax due to your city of residence if you request them to. Your employer may contact our Withholding Section at (614) 645-8368 if they have any questions.

I'm a partner in a partnership and a Columbus resident. Do I owe Columbus tax on my income from the partnership?

Yes, a Columbus resident is taxed upon his/her share of all income earned by partnerships (wherever located) in which he/she is a partner. However, full credit (up to the tax due Columbus) is given for all city income tax that was paid to the city or cities in which the income was earned, whether that tax was paid by the partnership as an entity or the you as an individual partner.

I'm self-employed but my business has not shown a profit. Am I required to file a return?

Yes, all residents conducting a business or non-residents conducting a business within the city must file an annual return and report the net profits or net losses of said business. The leasing of real or tangible property (i.e. income from a rental property) that you own is considered a taxable business activity that must be reported.

I'm serving in a fiduciary capacity. What is my responsibility for filing?

Trusts and estates conducting business within the city are required to file a city business return (Form BR-25) and report, at the entity level, all net profits or losses earned or incurred as a result of business activity conducted within the city. Tax is due on the net profits reported as having been earned in the city. Since the tax is paid at the entity level of the trust or estate, beneficiaries are not required to pay city tax on income derived from trusts or estates.

I'm starting a business. What do I need to do about city taxes?

You will normally have to remit two types of city taxes: the net profits tax and (if you have employees) the employee withholding tax.

The first is the tax due on profits of your business, whether your business is a sole proprietorship, corporation or partnership. Incidentally, all the cities whose taxes are administered by Columbus tax the net profits earned within each city by S-corporations at the corporate level. As such, the individual shareholders of S-corps are not taxed. Columbus and Harrisburg require partnerships and the limited liability companies (LLC's) to file and remit at the business level on behalf of all partners. All businesses, with the exception of sole proprietorships, file their city taxes using Form BR-25. Additional information on the net profits tax for businesses other than sole proprietorships is available in the instructions for the BR-25.

Sole proprietorships file by reporting their Federal Schedule C income on the proprietor's individual city return (Form IR-25). Additional information is available in the instructions for the IR-25.

To remit the second type of tax, the tax withheld from your employees' wages, you will need to establish a withholding account with us. You do this by filing a Form IT-47, which is a simple questionnaire. Employers are liable for all city withholding taxes that should have been withheld from their employee's wages EVEN if those taxes were not, in fact, withheld. Because of this obligation, you'll want to make sure you set-up your employer withholding account as soon as you hire employees. Registration online is available through

I have income in addition to that reported on my W-2 from my employer. Can my employer withhold additional tax above the local rate to cover this tax liability?

An employer's withholding tax is not deposited into individual employee's accounts, but into the employer's master account. The total tax withheld from all employees is then reconciled with the total local wages earned by said employees. Because all employer's withholding accounts are required to reconcile the total tax withheld from all employees with the total local wages earned by all employees, withholding by employers in excess of the required tax rate is not permitted. Also as a result of the need to reconcile tax withheld to wages earned, any refund of tax that has been incorrectly over-withheld by the employer is issued directly to the employer, not the employee.

Is city withholding tax based on employee work location or residence?

City withholding is based upon, and employers are required to withhold to, the employee's work location (municipality).

My spouse and I file separately at the federal/state levels. Do I have to file the same for municipal purposes?

No, a husband and wife, in any taxable year, may elect to file separate or joint city returns, regardless of their federal or state filing status.

What if my employer chooses not to withhold the alternate tax for me?

You should make estimated payments to your city of residence in order to satisfy your total local tax obligation. Estimated payments are due on the 15th of April, July, October and January of the following year. You'll also need to file an individual tax return on or before April 15th of year following the year your wages are earned to report your final tax liability for that year. Your final liability is reduced by your estimated payments and you pay any remaining tax with your return. If your estimated payments exceed your final tax liability, you may claim a refund or credit carry-forward to your next year's return.

When are quarterly estimated payments due?

Individuals and Businesses expecting to owe $200.00 or more in Columbus income tax for the current year are required to make quarterly estimated tax payments. These Quarterly estimated payments must total at least 90% of the total tax liability shown on the business’s current year tax return or at least 100% of the total tax liability shown on the previous year’s income tax return.

If estimated payments total an amount less than either of these criteria, or if payments are not made by the due dates listed below, you will be subject to penalty and interest.

Estimated Payment Due Calendar Year Fiscal Year
Declaration/1st Estimate April 15 15th day of 4th month of fiscal year
2nd Quarter Payment June 15 15th day of 6th month of fiscal year
3rd Quarter Payment September 15 15th day of 9th month of fiscal year
4th Quarter Payment (Corporate) December 15 15th day of 12th month of fiscal year
4th Quarter Payment (Individual) January 15th

As an employer do I have to withhold City taxes from my employees?

Employers must withhold and remit City tax to the municipalities in which their employees work. Employees may also have a liability to the municipality in which they reside. If the credit allowed by the employee’s city of residence for tax paid to the city of employment is less than the employee’s liability to the city in which the employee resides, the employee will either have to request that their employer withhold the additional tax due to the city of residence, or make estimated tax payments to the city of residence.

What are the payment and filing requirements for employer withholding?

Employers are liable for the tax required to be withheld even if the employer fails to withhold the tax. Officers of a corporation are personally liable for the failure to remit the tax required to be withheld whether or not the tax was withheld. Dissolution of a corporation does not discharge an officer’s liability for a failure of the corporation to remit the tax due.

How do I Remit withheld tax?

You must remit tax withheld:

  • By filing form WH-PV monthly if the total taxes withheld or required to be withheld exceeded $2,399 last calendar year or $200 during any month of the prior quarter
  • By filing Form WH-PV semi-monthly if the total taxes withheld or required to be withheld exceeded $11,999 last calendar year or $1,000 during any month in the preceding calendar year.

All other employers must remit the tax quarterly with Form IT-11.

Required withholding payments can also be made by logging into the Columbus CRISP application.

What are the payment due dates?

  • Semi-Monthly; within three banking days of the 15th and last day of each month
  • Monthly: within 15 days after the close of each month

Quarterly Return Filing

  • April 30, July 31,October 31, and January 31.


  • The penalty due for late payment taxes withheld or required to be withheld is 50% of the unpaid tax.
  • All taxes due to Columbus remaining unpaid after they become due are subject to interest.
  • Quarterly withholding returns filed past the due date will incur a late filing charge $25 per month up to a maximum of $150. Late charges are assessed even when no tax is due.

If I have a debit block filter on my checking account, how do I add the City of Columbus to my account?

If you have a debit block filter on your checking account allowing only pre-specified businesses to debit your account, you must contact your financial institution and add the City of Columbus account identification number (1508301000) before your electronic check can be accepted. If your bank rejects your electronic payment, you will be subject to penalty and interest.