COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans in the workforce may have had unemployment claims filed fraudulently with their information, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
He’s brought these concerns to the attention of Congress, demanding these victims of identity theft should not have to pay the taxes until investigators can determine their unemployment claims were not fraudulent.
“Construction workers, daycare providers, service industry workers – the backbone of this state – have worked hard throughout the pandemic and now the government is going to ask them to pay taxes on money they didn’t receive – it’s just not right,” Yost said.
This month, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will mail 1.7 million copies of tax form 1099-G. Within these documents, the recipients of unemployment benefits will have to file their claim and pay a tax.
But Yost said a significant, not-yet determined number of those Ohioans were victims of fraud; they never claimed unemployment or received any assistance, even though their file in the ODJFS says otherwise.
In a letter, Yost asked Congress for a safe harbor, or protection from taxes on that money, for all Ohioans until the ODJFS can determine the legitimacy of all unemployment claims.
He also asked Congress to cancel any penalties or interest obtained during the investigations of the 1099-G claims. If the ODJFS does find evidence of identity theft in the unemployment claims, the IRS should then be notified of the mistake to adjust an individual’s tax estimate.
Workers in Ohio can use this link to report any identity theft involving their unemployment benefits and view more information about what the taxpayer should do next.