Summons and Complaint for Failure to File an Ohio Sales Tax Return under Ohio Revised Code Section 5937.30(A)
The State of Ohio has Tax Enforcement Agents who issue Summons and Complaints like the one pictured to the right when a business owner fails to file a required Ohio Sales and Use Tax Return (also known as a UST-1). This article breaks down the Summons and Complaint itself. For more information about the process in misdemeanor failure to file a sales tax return cases, call us for a free consultation at 937-985-1843, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Contact Us HERE.
The first thing you'll see at the top of the "ticket" is that the box "Summons and Complaint" and NOT "Minor Misdemeanor Citation" is checked at the top of the ticket. Failing to file an Ohio Sales and Use Tax Return is an unclassified misdemeanor under Ohio law. Althought that's generally "better" than being charged with a "Classified Misdemeanor," because the penalties and fines may be lower, it's still a step up from a Minor Misdemeanor. Amoung other things, a minor misdemeanor has a much shorter statute of limitations and lower maximum penalties.
The "Crim. R. 3 & 4" you see next to the words "Summons and Complaint" refers to the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rules 3 and 4, which govern Complaints (Rule 3) and Warrants, Summons and Arrest (Rule 4).
The next section of the ticket tells you which court you're being charged in. You've likely been summoned to appear in the Municipal Court that has jurisdiction over the County where your place of business is located.
Under that section, you'll see that the "State of Ohio" is proceeding against you, the Defendant. If you operate (or work for) a business other than a sole proprietorship, your business (or employer) will be listed beneath the section with your name and address. The following section of the ticket is very important: This is where your court date and time are indicated. If you don't show up at the date and time indicated there, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. It may be tempting to toss the ticket into a file or a trash can, but you're going to regret it when a routine traffic stop ends with you riding to the police station in handcuffs. Make sure you note the date, time and location where you're supposed to appear and show up on time! Be sure that you understand the local court rules for how you should dress.
The next section, the "Complaint," lays out the charges that are being brought against you. If you're being cited for failing to file a Sales and Use Tax Return, the Complaint section of the ticket will state that, on the day after the return was due, you failed to file the required sales tax return, in violation of O.R.C. (Ohio Revised Code Section 5937.30(A).
After the Compalint, you'll see the "Signature of Issuing-Charging Officer." Don't get too excited when you notice that the Notary section of the ticket isn't filled out. As the ticket says below that in the "NOTICE TO DEFENDANT":
The officer is not required to swear to the complaint upon your copy of the summons and complaint. He swears to the complaint on the copy he files with the court. You may obtain a copy of the sworn complaint before hearing time. You will be given a copy of the sworn complaint before or at the hearing. For information regarding your duty to appear call...."
Underneath that paragraph, there's a place for you to sign the ticket. Signing the ticket isn't an acknowledgment of guilt, and you may anger the agent if you refuse to cooperate and sign. An angry agent may arrest you or otherwise make your life difficult, so signing the ticket may be a good idea. But keep in mind that the information presented here is general and may not apply to your particular situation, so seek advice of legal counsel before taking any action when you're facing a misdemeanor charge for failure to file an Ohio Sales and Use tax Return.
We help clients who have been charged with a misdemeanor for failing to file a tax return, so call us at 937-985-1843, email us at email@example.com, or contact us HERE to schedule a free consultation. Time limits may apply in your case, so don't wait to call.