Yesterday, the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas dismissed the Buckeye Institute’s lawsuit against City of Columbus, which challenged the constitutionality of Section 29 of HB 197. This is the temporary COVID-19 withholding provision instructing municipalities to continue withholding municipal income tax at a taxpayer’s place of work, even if the taxpayer is currently working from home in a different local jurisdiction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The court granted the City of Columbus’s motion for dismissal and ruled that Sec. 29 of HB 197 is constitutional. You can read the ruling in full HERE
In addition to seeking a declaration that Sec. 29 of HB 197 was unconstitutional, the Buckeye Institute was also seeking a refund of the taxes paid to Columbus while the plaintiffs were working from home during the pandemic, and to prohibit Columbus from collecting future taxes on income earned outside Columbus for the remaining time Sec. 29 of HB 197 is in effect.
In the ruling, the court stated that the “temporary law sought to regulate and limit the disruption and uncertainty that the statewide Stay-at-Home Order would otherwise have on municipal taxation, by establishing a uniform set of equally statewide rules applicable for the duration of the emergency. To that end, Section 29 of HB 197 treated remote work performed under the Stay-at Home Order as if it had occurred at the employee's principal place of business.”
We applaud the court’s upholding of the constitutionality of Sec. 29 of HB 197, and we urge that the Ohio legislature recognize the court’s ruling in pending legislation.