BROOK PARK, Ohio – Brook Park is currently processing income tax collections through its tax department, but the City Council caucus on Oct. 11 heard Regional Income Tax Agency Representative Brian Thunberg explained the benefits of having RITA take on these functions.
RITA, a full-service municipal tax collection and administration agency, partners with 47 communities in Cuyahoga County.
Chief Financial Officer Greg Cingle noted upfront that he preferred to keep income tax collection in-house, but an outlay of $100,000 would be needed in 2023 to update the department’s computer software and server. He said he wanted the council to have the RITA information if the city ever decided to switch to regional collection.
“RITA, as an organization, would only be your income tax administrator,” Thunberg said. “There is no RITA tax.”
RITA offers W-2 correspondence as one of its services, a capability that Brook Park does not currently have for its electronic filers.
“If you have someone who works in another city but resides in Brook Park, we get W-2s from that employer at the end of the year,” Thunberg explained. “We compare it to our tax system so we can identify taxpayers who may not have filed a return.”
Thunberg also said that RITA offers a “modernized electronic file”. Taxpayers can file electronically through tax preparers whose systems are compatible with any of RITA’s 12 partner software companies, not only for their state and federal returns, but also for their municipal returns.
The cost of RITA’s services would be approximately $246,000 to $257,000 per year. It’s based on the agency retaining 3% of collections throughout the year, Thunberg said. Cingle noted that Brook Park’s annual cost to provide tax services is approximately $370,000.
Cingle said if a partnership with RITA is pursued, one of Brook Park’s two full-time tax clerks (both of whom plan to retire in 2024, he said) would be retained. Two part-time clerk positions would be eliminated.
He said the tax department will remain open for the first year of the transition to allow residents to file in person at City Hall.
“I’m looking for a long-term solution for income tax collection here in the city,” Cingle said, noting his immediate need for a deputy director of tax. “The biggest challenge is finding employees. How do we run the department as efficiently for the next five to 10 years as we do now? »
No board action was taken, with members voting only to have the subject of RITA tax collection discussed.
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