Buckeye v. Kilgore
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ohio’s stay-at-home order, Ohioans have been forced to make significant changes to how they live and work.
Indeed, Ohio’s orders made working from home the only option for Buckeye’s employees for a significant amount of time. Unfortunately, while the state was mandating that people stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19, it simultaneously refused to honor Ohio law, which permits workers to be taxed based upon where they live and where they actually perform work. Rather, Ohio’s General Assembly passed an emergency law—House Bill 197—absurdly deeming all work that was performed at a worker’s home to have been performed in the often higher-taxed office location for the purposes of taxation instead.
Although courts have allowed municipalities to impose income taxes on nonresidents’ income that was earned for work performed within the municipality’s limits, the rationale for doing so was that the workers were using city resources—police, fire, and other public services—when they were at work. Ohio law does not allow cities to take income taxes from workers based upon “let’s pretend” you performed work in a different city than you actually did.
Ohio’s emergency-based local income tax system is not only unfair to workers, it is unfair to the municipalities that are actually providing public services and are losing out on revenue to which they are rightfully entitled.
Ohio’s Orwellian emergency-based local income tax system—where the state forced people to work from home, but nonetheless still deemed their work to have been performed in the higher-taxed office location—offends the basic principles of equity and violates the due process requirements of the United States and Ohio constitutions.