In all American states, including Ohio, tax evasion is against the law. United States citizens are all expected to pay their taxes and be productive, contributing residents of the country. As far as serving jail time for failing to file yearly tax returns, that would be a rare occurrence. However, it is probably best not to rule out the possibility of imprisonment altogether just to be safe.
Ohio tax laws (Chapter 5747.15 of the revised code) are comprehensive with legal language and penalties to cover practically any occurrence in which a citizen fails to file. Most of these penalties involve costly payments and fines. For example, if you appear to owe taxes but fail to file, the Internal Revenue Service will generate its own version of your tax return for every year you did not file. Typically, the amount owed for an automatic IRS filing is more than what you might owe had you filed the taxes on your own. This amount, combined with financial penalties for non-payment can turn into quite a lot of money.
While failure to file is categorized as tax fraud, it is somewhat different from the fraud perpetrated by individuals who actively seek to cheat the IRS out of its payments. Most people who fail to file do not make a lot of money, and are not flaunting the laws by buying expensive assets or attempting to get extravagant loans.
The reasons Ohio residents do not file tax returns are numerous and very personal. If the IRS attempts to take action against you for failure to file taxes, you would benefit greatly from seeking legal representation. An attorney can help to save your reputation, minimize the associated fines or penalties and likely keep you out of jail.
Source: Ohio.gov, “Failure to file or remit tax – filing frivolous, dilatory or fraudulent claim,” accessed May. 26, 2015