This year, North Canton is contracting with RITA (the Regional Income Tax Agency) to collect city income taxes. That means some changes for residents.

NORTH CANTON  City residents will face some changes when they file city taxes this year.

North Canton is contracting with the Regional Income Tax Agency, commonly called RITA, to collect its municipal income tax. 

Residents will still pay the same income taxes — the rate remains 1.5 percent — but will file using RITA forms and give that information to the Brecksville-based agency, Director of Finance Laura Brown wrote in an email.

The city decided to work with RITA in 2015. North Canton's income tax employee was retiring and a new state law put additional requirements on cities, Brown wrote. "Finally, using the many employees that work for RITA, rather than just one employee at North Canton, allows us to enforce the income tax more completely."

In the past, city residents could bring their W-2 forms and ask the city's income tax employee to fill out their return. That's no longer an option, according to Brown.

This is the first year RITA will collect city taxes and North Canton is trying to ease the transition.

This tax season, any forms or payments already submitted to the city will be forwarded to RITA, Brown wrote. "However to ensure that they are received on time and avoid penalties, it's best to mail them directly to RITA from now on."

The city will hold a free tax preparation event with RITA agents from 1 to 7 p.m. March 16 at City Hall, 145 N. Main Street. 

According to RITA, residents should bring (if relevant): a Social Security number for themselves and their spouse; W-2 forms from all employers and 1099 forms; federal schedules C, E and F, federal forms K-1, 2106, 3903 and 1040; addresses and dates for every place you lived during 2016.

Want more information? Here's a look at what North Canton residents need to know this tax season:

What is RITA?

According to the agency, RITA was formed in 1971 to collect income taxes for cities and villages in Ohio. It consists of a Regional Council of Governments and its board of trustees is authorized to administer and enforce income tax laws for any participating Ohio municipalities, including North Canton. More than 250 municipalities contract with RITA.

RITA can't levy its own tax and there's no such thing as a "RITA tax," according to the agency.

"They enforce the tax based on North Canton's tax ordinance, not their own rules," wrote Brown.

How to file

Unlike years past, North Canton residents will have to use RITA forms to file their taxes. The forms are available at City Hall and online at www.ritaohio.com.

Residents can mail the forms back to RITA or can take advantage of online filing.

"If they've used a program like TurboTax in the past, or pay their bills online, RITA's online filing should seem fairly easy," Brown wrote.

Need help?

Residents can get in-person help at the event March 16. 

They can also call RITA at 800-860-7482.

If they're using a professional for their federal and state tax returns, that person may also be able to handle their city return, Brown wrote.

Most city tax returns are pretty straightforward, Brown wrote, but if you have a particularly difficult issue or concern, you can also visit RITA's office at 10107 Brecksville Road, Brecksville.

"If a resident fills out the form as best they can and mails it to RITA, their auditors will check the return and correct any errors," she wrote.

Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or jessica.holbrook@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @jholbrookREP