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STATE TAXES Bill gives extension to Guard troops, reservists



Published: Thu, April 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The measure would expand the provision now given only to those in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- Ohio National Guard troops or military reservists called to active duty for any reason would not have to file or pay state income taxes until 61 days after their tour of duty ends, under a bill passed Wednesday in the Ohio House.

The measure still needs Senate approval and the governor's signature to become law.

The House voted 96-0 to approve the measure, sponsored by state Rep. John Widowfield, R-Cuyahoga Falls, that also creates a state military injury relief fund to help injured veterans.

State law now grants an income tax filing and payment extension to National Guard and reservists called up for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Under the current extension, eligible service members don't have to file Ohio income tax returns or make income tax payments for 61 days after the end of their active-duty status.

The new measure would grant the extension to Guard troops and reservists called up to active duty for any reason.

Quotable

"All active service members face the same financial hardships," Widowfield said.

The bill also creates in the state treasury a military injury relief fund that would be financed by voluntary taxpayer contributions from their Ohio income tax refunds as well as directed contributions.

Under the provision added in the House State Government Committee, the money in the relief fund must be used for grants to troops injured while on active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S.-led war on terror.




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