In addition to filing federal and state income taxes, many people must also know how to file local taxes. Local taxes typically pay for services around your area of residence, be it school funding or park maintenance. Filing local taxes is just as important as filing federal taxes, as a failure to file may result in criminal charges.
- Determine your local tax jurisdiction. Most Americans do not have to pay local taxes, though it varies by geographic area. If you reside in any major city, or most of Ohio, local taxes will be assessed. Consult your state government’s or city government’s website to determine if you must file local taxes. Alternatively, call the local reference librarian. They are typically well versed in local tax forms and if any are due for your municipality.
- Obtain the correct tax form. To file local taxes, the proper tax form must be obtained. Various tax forms will be required depending on your municipality. For most big cities (including Chicago and New York), local taxes are a part of the normal state income tax form. To file local taxes in these places, just fill out the proper section of the state income tax return and you are done. Other places have separate local tax forms; for these visit the local library or visit the city/county’s government website to obtain the correct form.
- Gather required documents. It is usually easier to file local taxes than federal income taxes. Most local tax forms only require information from W-2’s or other income; no other extraneous paperwork is required. Read the instructions on your local tax form to determine exactly what paperwork you will need.
- Seek professional help. A professional tax preparer or attorney in your area of residence will be well versed in any local taxes that are due. Hiring one of these professionals to help file your federal, state, and local taxes will take the burden off of you and may result in fewer mistakes.
It is no doubt a burden to file local taxes. However, just as with federal income taxes, you could face criminal penalties if you fail to file. An excellent source of information on local tax jurisdiction is the reference librarian at your local library. Consult with them to determine if you have to file local taxes.
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