The Ohio Department of Taxation recently issued a notice advising sales tax vendors of new electronic filing and payment requirements enacted as part of House Bill 562. House Bill 562 was enacted in June 2008 and requires sales and use tax vendors (i.e., persons or businesses required to have a vendor’s license under Ohio law) to file and pay their sales and use taxes electronically as of January 1, 2009.

The new law sets forth two electronic filing methods for sales and use tax returns – the Ohio Business Gateway and the Ohio Telefile System. The Ohio Business Gateway is an Internet-based application accessible at www.business.ohio.gov that provides sales and use tax vendors with a single point of contact for their sales and use tax filing and payment requirements. First time users must create a profile using their vendor license number.

The Ohio Telefile System is an electronic filing option for some, but not all, sales and use tax vendors. Like the Ohio Business Gateway system, a filer using Telefile must be a registered Ohio vendor with a valid vendor license number. Additionally, Telefile is only available to vendors reporting sales for the county of its vendor’s license, or those who have no sales or use tax to report. Both the Ohio Business Gateway and the Ohio Telefile System allow vendors to pay their sales and use tax via electronic check or credit card. Credit card payments are subject to a convenience fee (usually 2.5 percent on the amount of the transaction).

The Department of Taxation offers filers a third option of using the Department’s eForms to electronically submit an Adobe® Acrobat® version of key sales and use tax forms. eForms allows vendors to view a traditional sales or use tax return form in .pdf format. The vendor enters the information electronically, just as it would on a paper form. After the form is complete, the vendor electronically pays its sales or use tax via electronic check or credit card.

The notice reminds vendors that these electronic filing options are optional now, but will be mandatory next year. Now is the perfect time for vendors to become familiar with the new electronic filing and payment requirements.