Kaye Beach

Legislation to Guarantee that Oklahomans Receive Tax Refunds

In Oklahoma Economy, Oklahoma Legislation on November 30, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Legislation to Guarantee that Oklahomans Receive Tax Refunds

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans would be guaranteed to receive their tax refund within 30 days under legislation proposed by an Oklahoma City lawmaker.

State Rep. Mike Reynolds said the bill is necessary to prevent
tax refunds from being withheld in a misguided attempt to deal with the
state’s budget shortfall. Reynolds said his concern stems from a past
example of the governor’s approach to increasing revenue. Previously the
governor was able to get a law passed that caused considerable hardship to
retail businesses across Oklahoma. The legislation required that sales tax
reports be filed twice a month, forcing virtually every retail business
across the state to change their accounting system and remit tax that in
many cases had not even been collected yet.

Reynolds said if the governor would hurt businesses in an
attempt to move a few million dollars from one fiscal year to the next,
it’s likely he would be willing to do the same to taxpayers to move
hundreds of millions.

“Under current law, it is legal for the governor to order the
Tax Commission to delay the issuance of tax refunds until June 30,” said
Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. “We’ve seen similar schemes used in other
states, such as California, when politicians’ appetite for spending
exceeds the available revenue. By withholding refunds, those states have
been able to artificially delay necessary budget cuts for several months
although they make the situation worse in the long run by taking that
action. My legislation will prevent the use of this unethical accounting
gimmick. Oklahomans who play by the rules should not be deprived of their
tax refunds.”

Under Reynolds’ legislation, the Oklahoma Tax Commission would
be required to provide tax refunds within 30 days of receiving a
taxpayer’s return.

“In this day of online filing, there’s no reason for it to
take longer than 30 days to return excess payments to working families,”
Reynolds said. “My bill will provide families with certainty and prevent
the kind of financial mismanagement that has wreaked havoc in other
states.”

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