A judge has ruled a lawsuit challenging the city of Cleveland’s ability to collect income tax from a doctor who had not worked in the city during the pandemic can go forward.
Dr. Manal Morsy’s lawsuit, one of several filed against Ohio cities by The Buckeye Institute, tests a state law that was altered during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to allow cities to collect taxes from workers who did not work in those cities.
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose denied Cleveland’s motion to dismiss last week.
“Today’s ruling allows The Buckeye Institute’s case to move forward and ensures that Dr. Manal Morsy will have her day in court to challenge the city of Cleveland’s unconstitutional attempt to impose an extraterritorial municipal income tax on people who do not live in Cleveland – or even live in Ohio in Dr. Morsy’s case – and did not work in the city during the pandemic,” Jay Carson, senior litigator with The Buckeye Institute, said. “This type of government overreach offends the basic principles of fairness recognized by the Ohio Supreme Court.”
Dr. Morsy, a Pennsylvania resident who works in Cleveland, had not worked in Cleveland, nor the state, for more than year but continued to pay the city’s municipal income tax.
Dr. Morsy lives in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb, and commuted to her workplace in Cleveland before the pandemic. She would spend the week in Cleveland working and would return home on the weekends. Since March 2020, however, she has worked exclusively from her Pennsylvania home.
Throughout that time, Cleveland continued to collect income taxes from her.