Salem considers switching to automated tax service, but residents aren’t set on idea

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Salem Income Tax Director Fred Pamer says the city considered the idea before but dropped it

SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – The way people pay city income taxes in Salem could be changing.

This week, city council will start a process that could end with changing to a RITA (Regional Income Tax Agency), a regional automated tax collector.

RITA would bring in additional money, but also put people out of work.

“I’m for anything that’s going to save the city money in any area,” said Salem Mayor John Berlin.

Berlin says RITA estimates to save the city $50,000 to $80,000 per year. That money will help him make sure the city’s 1.25% income tax doesn’t go any higher.

Plus, people could file their taxes online.

But, four employees at the city income tax department would lose their jobs.

“I don’t know if they’ll keep a part-time person on staff for a while to see how things go in the transition, but some of the cities have closed them down completely,” Berlin said.

“I don’t understand why the RITA issue keeps coming up year after year,” said Salem Income Tax Director Fred Pamer.

Pamer says the city considered the idea before but dropped it.

He says over 7,000 people in the city will miss the in-person service.

“We’re here every day so they can come and see us in person. I think the service we provide is a big value to the process,” he said.

Leetonia switched to RITA less than two years ago.

Michele Votaw, of Leetonia, says the online process is very simple, if you have simple tax returns.

“What I’ve been able to notice is the people who do comment on it may have a small business of their own, have different things like that going on,” Votaw said.

An unscientific poll running on Salem Talk’s Facebook page shows only 10% of people approve of changing to RITA.

City council starts public debates this week, with the final vote sometime in December.

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