I Hate Rita

The county in which I live is part of a Regional Income Tax Authority (RITA).  This is a collective regional tax that pays for shared services (such as mass transit) but also is a collection agency for municipalities who don’t have the budget/staff to have their own City Tax Office. RITA collects the city income taxes and distributes them back to the city in which you live.  I have no problem at all paying my taxes but this system is insane and I just don’t understand it.

We moved in to the system in December of 2007 and had no idea about RITA.  I just assumed that like at all my previous employers the appropriate local income taxes were taken out of my check.  Fast forward to early 2009 when we got a summons to appear at RITA for back taxes missing from 2007.  Apparently because the county has so many cities and each city has a different tax liability, most large employers don’t take RITA taxes out of your check and leave the responsibility up to you.  We were told this was common. Plus, you pay taxes not only for the city in which you live but the city in which you work.  That means we owed taxes for 3 different cities and what you pay in one city will impact what you owe in another.

We gathered up all the needed paperwork and arrived at the scheduled time.  A RITA representative went over everything, explained what we owed for the 2 ½ weeks we lived here in 2007 and we wrote a check for less then $100.  She said it was all we owed; we were now current and paid in full.  She then told us that she set everything up in the system and we would get quarterly reminders from then on and that since the taxes were paid in arrears all the funds paid in 2009 would be for the 2008 tax year.  When we got them we promptly paid them – each of the bills was only a few hundred dollars. 

Fast forward again to early 2010 when we again receive a summons to appear at RITA for back taxes.  This time I was pissed off – we went last year! We paid every bill they sent! What the heck did we do wrong now? So several weeks ago we both took the morning off work and went through the motions again.  This time, the RITA employee said we owed thousands in back taxes for all of 2008 and 2009.  I showed her all the paperwork from the previous meeting, told her we paid all the bills we received and didn’t understand why we owed so much more.  She plodded away on her lap top, compared my paperwork to her screen and finally told us that the woman who helped us in the previous year entered horribly flawed information which meant that we only paid a tiny fraction of what we really owed.  And to make matters worse, the previous woman flat out lied when she told us the taxes were paid in arrears – they are actually paid for the current year! And we had no recourse…after all it’s our responsibility to know what we owe …and even though their own employee had done the calculations and signed off on them we were left to pay the owed amount (fine) plus interest and a penalty (not fine, but we had no choice).  

So, at the suggestion of this new woman, we wrote a modest check that day then took the paperwork she had helped us fill out and went home register for their on-line reminder and payment services.  She said that when we logged on the full amount we owed would show up and we could pay it on-line.  We could also sign up for email reminders for upcoming quarterly payments since it turns out we were only sent 2 reminders the previous year (a “quirk in the system” we were told).  She suggested we wait a few days so the small payment we made would be deducted from the amount owed, then to pay the full balance shown online and we would be up to date.

We did just that and the numbers online matched the paperwork she gave us.  We paid the full balance and, per her oral and written directions, thought we were finally current on payments for all of 2008, 09 and the 1st quarter of 2010 and would receive the next reminder for 2010 taxes by early March.  Last week we got our reminder, which again says we owe well over a thousand dollars, including new interest and penalties for unpaid 2008 taxes.  WHISKEY. TANGO. FOXTROT?!

I don’t get it.  I don’t understand this system at all.  I understand taxes – I do my own state and federal taxes every year.  But this? I just don’t understand.

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21 thoughts on “I Hate Rita

  1. Liz says:

    The b/f is a rocket scientist (for real) and can’t figure out how to calculate what he owes Rita.

    I’ve occasionally gotten a decent person to work with over there. The first year I had to do some whacked-out calculation because I no longer had full reciprocity and naturally messed it up and someone just marked some changes in pen and sent it back to me, no late fees or anything, so I appreciated that.

    This year, I did find out that if you pay via phone, you can pay by credit card…so at least I earned some miles for the whole thing!

    • Danielle Serino says:

      This is Danielle Serino from WKYC Channel 3. I’m an investigative Consumer Reporter there. I am doing a story on RITA. Would you please contact me asap at 773-383-5806? Thank you!

  2. Kate (kakaty) says:

    Liz – when you pay online you can do it via credit card so we did get miles, too. But that doesn’t soften the blow very much.

    I just think it’s telling that not 1 but 2 of their own employees got our caculations wrong – how in the world does anyone get it right?!

  3. I am just thankful that we don’t have to deal with RITA. Hubs works in a municipality that takes out more than what we would pay in and so when I go to their site each year it says I owe zero.

    I can’t believe that they don’t have their act together over there. Hope you get it squared away.

  4. jj says:

    It’s so complicated because it’s the government’s duties being outsourced to a private for profit company. That’s the real problem

  5. Allyson says:

    We’re currently fighting with them over incorrect information that they put in for my husband’s SSN. My estimated taxes for last year were also applied to an incorrect account. They had my husband fax them W2’s from 2011/12 and they’re telling us they can’t find them….it’s a huge mess. I just want to be done with my taxes for this year but I would first like them to locate and correctly apply the $350 I’ve already paid to them…

  6. mitzi says:

    Our experience was very much like yours. Moving here, not knowing anything about RITA… So when we received a letter from RITA, I called to make sure they were legit. Talked to a woman who did not inform me that we needed to file. Like a normal person, I expected they would take out taxes from the paycheck. The big difference between our stories is that it took them over TEN years to figure out that we were not filing. Actually, they never figured it out, I turned us in (unknowingly) when I called to ask a question. HUGE tax bill and even worse penalties and interest. Wrote them a letter asking if the penalties could be forgiven since we had turned ourselves in. Took them 5 months to write back and say no. My normally sweet and calm husband refers to them as the Rat Assed Bastards at RITA. They also threatened our Daughter in law with arrest because they could not figure out that a college student being paid to be a TA in Cleveland is exempt if her permanent residence is Brunswick. Took a lawyer to make them see the light. Horrible, Horrible agency, staffed by morons.

  7. Alastair says:

    I’ve had the exact same problem, and my employee hired Deloitte for me to fix things (because i was working abroad at the time. Deloitte sorted it all out and RITA were at fault – the people in their office don’t know what the hell their doing but have the law on their side to back up their mistakes. Unless you absolutly know what you’re doing (as Deloitte did) you just have to accept what RITA tell you, but if you can CHALLENGE them because Deloitte were shocked at their incompetance.

    • Danielle Serino says:

      This is Danielle Serino from WKYC Channel 3. I’m an investigative Consumer Reporter there. I am doing a story on RITA. Would you please contact me asap at 773-383-5806? Thank you!

  8. Meagan says:

    We just had the same thing happen to us. We moved into an area where there is a RITA tax and was not told anything about it for 2years and then we received the notice in the mail that we didn’t file! Now we have a 1,445.00 bill to pay by 10/31/15! I wrote to them explaining that we had never even heard of a RITA tax before. I asked why we were not informed upon moving into the district etc. No response. Just a fat bill!

  9. Brad says:

    The only reason they get away with this is because we let them. If we all just stopped filing this BS there would be nothing they could do.

  10. Ronnie says:

    RITA is a money machine for the cities. They are also intentionally not notifying taxpayers who just moved in intentionally so they can accumulate interest, fines and penalties . And oh by employing morons they have good excuse to get more money.

    • Danielle Serino says:

      This is Danielle Serino from WKYC Channel 3. I’m an investigative Consumer Reporter there. I am doing a story on RITA. Would you please contact me asap at 773-383-5806? Thank you!

  11. frank says:

    Happened to me also. 7 years i lived in strongsville before they sent me a huge bill. When I called to complain they said it was my responsibility to know about them, not the other way around. I countered with the fact that I had filed my state and federal taxes every year and the strongsville post figured out in a month that I had moved there Still they claimed they do not have to check real estate transactions for every person that moves in They were double charging for one year which I was told not to worry about it. So i started making paymenys at 155 month for 20 months. I ran into financial difficulties 17 months in but kept paying on the bill just not 155 more like 50 dollars. they sent me a letter telling me that I breached the contract and they would be taking further more punative actions They shut me out of my account so i could not pay behind their backs and I have called 3 times about paying my bill and they say they will open my account back up but never do Its my guess that they do this to keep adding interest and penalties. In short, I HATE these jokers more than I hate tow truck drivers and attorneys.

  12. Jonbon says:

    RITA is the worst! They are just impossible to deal with as the posters have said above. What is even more fun is RITA is a private company with a monopoly. The government if a monopoly of course but it is at least “of the people” so if the people want a change usually your government will listen to you. RITA on the other hand pretty much does whatever the hell it wants!

    Its great that they are so insecure they put “Authority” in the name just to show you how tough they are!

    Their whole attitude is you owe is $, you should have known, and know you are SOL.

    I would not even name my dog Rita.

  13. Kyle says:

    Completely sympathize with everyone here. I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life, and even I was NEVER aware that RITA existed until I received a huge bill out of the blue. They had (of course) failed to tell me that I had not filed for 6 YEARS. I had just bought a house and it was a bit of a blow financially. I was even concerned that RITA was a scam and had to do some investigating to be sure I actually owed these people money. It is highly unethical and should not even be legal to purposely wait this long before telling someone that they haven’t filed simply to collect penalties and interest. Sadistic assholes.

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