Commissioner Thomas Zaino has taken three more steps to
reduce bureaucracy and save Ohio citizens and the
Department of Taxation time, money and
These steps are all in the
administration of estate taxes.
Currently, the taxation
department requires financial institutions to freeze
accounts of more than $2,500 of a person who dies,
pending the presentation of a tax release form. As of
January 1, 2001 the threshold is raised to $25,000. This
will eliminate 75 percent of the 300,000 releases
currently obtained each year.
Today, a financial
institution must deny access to a safe deposit box upon
the death of its owner until the county auditor has
"We are eliminating that
requirement altogether because we have found that most
safe deposit boxes are empty when they are inventoried
anyway," Zaino said. This will eliminate about 11,000
inventories of safe deposit boxes annually.
The final change relates to
the request for extending the deadline to file an estate
tax return. Previously, estate tax returns were required
to be filed within nine months of the decedentís death
date, and anyone requesting a six-month extension needed
to file a form requesting the extension.
"Since all of the requests
were granted anyway, we eliminated the requirement that
a formal written request be filed for the first six
month extension," Zaino said. That means estates will
have a total of 15 months to file the return. This
relieves estates from the burden of filing about 3,000
forms per year. A request will have to be filed and good
cause shown for additional six-month extensions. This
change is available to all estates with dates of death
after Jan. 1, 2000.
"These changes are part of
our on-going commitment to eliminate needless and
inefficient steps in the way we administer taxes," Zaino
said. Employees of the departmentís estate tax division
recommended the changes.
Zaino is able to make the
procedural changes outlined above by virtue of his
position as tax commissioner, which also makes him the
administrator of the Ohio Department of
In other developments in
estate taxes in Ohio, tax credits increase on Jan. 1,
2001 and again on Jan. 1, 2002 due to legislation passed
by the Ohio General Assembly and signed into law by Gov.
Bob Taft last summer.
For estates with a death date
on or after Jan. 1, 2001, no estate tax return will be
required to be filed if the gross estate is $200,000 or
less. For estates with dates of death on or after Jan.
1, 2002, no estate tax return will be required to be
filed if the gross estate is $338,333 or
New legislation also permits
a reduction in estate taxes for qualified family-owned
The Ohio Department of
Taxationís Estate Tax Division has processed about
55,000 estate tax returns this year.
For more information contact:
Ohio Department of