July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

Ohio to shut down 7 tax centers, lay off 99 workers

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s tax department is moving to close seven regional taxpayer service centers and lay off 99 employees at those locations.

Notices were e-mailed to the workers on Wednesday, a day after Gov. John Kasich unveiled a two-year budget proposal that seeks to plug an $8 billion shortfall.

The tax offices will close June 30. State Tax Commissioner Joe Testa told The Columbus Dispatch the cutbacks are a matter of “hard times and hard decisions.”

He says 80 percent of state tax returns are now filed electronically, allowing the state to close the taxation centers in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown and Zanesville. Far fewer taxpayers now visit the regional offices.

Testa said people are finding help through the agency’s website and its automated phone hot line.