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Salem residents reminded to file tax returns

SALEM — City residents are being reminded again about filing their city income tax return by Wednesday.

The filing date was extended to July 15 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and city income tax administrator Fred Pamer again said people shouldn’t wait until the last minute if assistance is needed since the office remains closed to the public.

On a normal tax deadline day, there’s a line of people stretched down the hallway on the second floor of city hall waiting to file their return in person.

This year is anything but normal. City hall has been generally closed to the public since late March and remains closed, with office personnel and officeholders accessible by phone for the mayor’s office, auditor’s office, housing and zoning and income tax office.

Mayor John Berlin said he suggested that the income tax office set up shop in council chambers to take returns or even the second floor could be opened up exclusively for taxpayers to file their returns in person. He talked with Pamer about it and with city Auditor Betty Brothers.

But city Treasurer K. Bret Apple, who oversees the tax office, said the cost of the computers and wiring to be able to serve taxpayers in council chambers wasn’t so much a factor as the safety issue. He was concerned about the safety of the staff and the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even if the cost was covered by funds provided to the city from the CARES Act related to COVID-19, he couldn’t see spending that kind of money for just a couple weeks. The cost was over $2,000.

The bottom line for him was safety.

Pamer said taxpayers have multiple options for filing their income tax return and paying what’s due and if they have questions, they can call the office at 330-332-4241 ext. 225 during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Forms can be printed from the website at www.cityofsalemohio.org or found in person at the city income tax night deposit box at the police department entrance off of Pershing Street, which is available 24 hours a day.

Options for filing include: U.S. mail at Salem City Income Tax Department, 231 S. Broadway Ave., Salem, Ohio 44460; Income Tax Department Night Deposit at the police department Pershing Street entrance 24/7; via email, using secure email instructions on the city website at www.cityofsalemohio.org or via regular email at taxes@cityofsalemohio.org; or by fax at 330-337-0246.

Payments can be made by check or money order and by debit or credit card at www.OfficialPayments.com.

Even though taxpayers can’t file their returns electronically, Pamer said there is a fillable calculating tax form on the website under income tax and then tax forms. Adobe Reader must be active on the taxpayer’s computer for the fillable form to work correctly.

The form can be completed and printed, the required information can be attached and then the form sent to the tax office.

If for some reason a taxpayer can’t file by the deadline, Pamer said they can request an extension to Oct. 15. Forms to request an extension are available on the website and at the night deposit. To avoid a $25 late filing fee, request the extension.

Even if a taxpayer can’t file on time, they still have to pay on time by July 15 the amount that’s likely to be due. If the amount due isn’t paid on time, there’s a one-time penalty of 15 percent of the tax due plus monthly interest.

Pamer said the number of tax returns normally filed by now is down.

“We expect that will level out sometime after July 15,” he said.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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