RITA under fire in Martins Ferry

MARTINS FERRY During this past Wednesday’s meeting the city council heard complaints from residents regarding the conduct of the Regional Income Tax Authority.

Fire Chief Jack Regis Jr., speaking as a private citizen, said that he received word from RITA a month prior stating that they had not received his 2011 or 2012 tax returns.

“Which is poor record keeping on their behalf,” he said, adding that his paperwork was completed and sent in on time. He said he received a subpoena last week summoning him to the city building. “Their record keeping seriously concerns me.”

He said that the $3 check he sent was cashed Sept. 3, and a subpoena was mailed Sept. 14. He added that a call yielded little help.

“I really think something needs to be done,” he said, asking if another agency could be contracted or if the work could be done in-house.

Joe Younkins also spoke about his negative experiences. He said he was unjustly contacted by RITA on three occasions.

They noted numerous other issues residents have had with RITA.

“I’ve contacted many people in Martins Ferry about this. This is not a low amount of people,” he said, noting the high number of subpoenas issued.

He questioned RITA’s efficiency in auditing a high percentage of the city.

He referred to the town of Lakewood, Ohio, which he said no longer utilizes RITA and has downloaded software to proceed to complete their audits in-house.

He advised looking into options and further researching RITA.

“I truly feel there is some very inept mismanagement through RITA and personally I’m sick and tired of getting these letters when I’m a responsible man that does my taxes in January,” he said. “I believe this is harassment. If they’re losing their files, if there’s mismanagement in their case, we shouldn’t be responsible.”

Auditor Rita Randall reminded council and guests that there is no information available in the city building.

“That is handled completely by the Regional Income Tax Agency,” she said, adding that recipients should contact the 800 number included in the letter. “I can give them no assistance whatsoever in my office.”

Randall added that there are only two agencies in the state approved for the program.

Council agreed that RITA will be contacted for answers and will receive a formal complaint.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com