CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A program for individuals and businesses to pay past-due Oklahoma taxes without penalty and interest has collected about $38.5 million in tax revenue in just four weeks, surpassing projections for the two-month program.
When Gov. Mary Fallin and the Legislature enacted PAYRight OK this past legislative session through passage of House Bill 2236, it was projected to produce about $35 million in new revenue during the penalty-free period.
With a few weeks left in the voluntary compliance initiative, the Oklahoma Tax Commission had already collected $38,545,906 through Oct. 9.
PAYRight OK exceeding expectations comes at a critical time with the state facing revenue challenges brought on by reductions in the oil and gas sector.
“PAYRight OK is one of the many tools the governor and Legislature used to address the budget gap last session, and it is working even better than expected,” said Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston L. Doerflinger.
The PAYRight OK initiative began Sept. 14 and ends Nov. 13. Oklahoma taxpayers can file past-due state tax returns and pay their liabilities for any periods ending before Jan. 1, 2015, without paying penalty and interest. Taxpayers also have the option of getting on a limited payment plan if they can’t immediately pay the full amount owed.
“About the only thing people like less than paying a tax is paying a penalty on that tax. Temporarily waving the past-due penalty is producing a respectable windfall at an opportune time while also allowing individuals and businesses to clear up delinquencies. We encourage more taxpayers to take advantage of the PAYRight OK opportunity while it lasts,” Doerflinger said.
PAYRight OK will take payments for individual and corporate income tax, sales tax, use tax, withholding tax, mixed-beverage tax, gasoline and diesel tax, gross-production and petroleum-excise tax, and privilege tax.
Since the program began, the Oklahoma Tax Commission has fielded nearly 8,500 help line calls, about 5,000 inquiries through its website and questions from nearly 550 walk-ins. More than 1,700 payment plans have been established.
Taxpayers can pay their tax liabilities at the Oklahoma Taxpayer Access Point (OkTAP) found at www.tax.ok.gov or by calling 1-866-263-8612.
Federal taxes, taxes paid to other state agencies and taxes paid to other states are ineligible for PAYRight OK.