BRECKSVILLE -- It's been a frustrating several days for people trying to pay their local income tax to the Regional Income Tax Agency.
The system's website and phone system have been overloaded by late-paying taxpayers, making it very difficult or impossible for many to get through.
Many taxpayers came to RITA's Brecksville office in person to resolve their situation.
Brecksville's Tom Morrison wanted to download some forms.
"We did it all last night until 1, and we did it this morning. ... I even had two computers going hoping one would break through, " Morrison said.
Filer Tameika Harris tried by phone with no luck.
"It's very frustrating. I tried all the numbers ... because it's the last day to get the taxes done and in," she said.
Vincie Bellina was upset she could not connect by computer or phone. She even drove to a library to learn the problem was not with her computer.
She had to drive from her new home in Cleveland to Brecksville.
"It's pretty inconvenient," she complained.
Donald Smith, RITA'S executive director, previously said RITA did not have authority to extend tax filing deadlines.
But after an RITA board meeting Tuesday, he said taxpayers in RITA cities will have through midnight Monday, April 21, to pay without penalties or late fees. That includes e-filers, in-person clients and mailed returns postmarked by midnight that day.
The RITA website got twice the number of website hits this weekend that it did during any high-volume period in the past six years.
Smith is stepping up and taking responsibility.
"To the extent I have created any kind of angst for taxpayers, I do have to apologize. ... We sized up the system for this upcoming tax season and believed we had twice the capacity we would need," he said.
E-filing taxpayers either got messages that the website could not be displayed or got a blank screen.
RITA has doubled its bandwidth once and intends to expand it again.
Those who could not get on RITA's website probably are to blame for a high volume of phone calls Monday. Callers got a busy signal or a taped message the line was not in service.
Smith hopes most of the problems are on the way to being corrected.
Tax filers can also get RITA forms from some cities websites or city halls.
RITA is the largest municipal tax collection entity in Ohio, serving more than 230 cities and collecting more than a billion dollars a year.