DALLAS – The exemption of intangible property from local tax rolls approved by Oklahoma voters in November 2012 will eliminate $60 million of annual revenue for counties and school districts.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission said 90 of the 250 public service companies eligible for the tax exemption took advantage of the new policy. The largest exemption of $23 million was claimed by AT&T.
School districts stand to lose $30.8 million a year, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration said, based on the Oklahoma Tax Commission’s report to state Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa.
Oklahoma school districts receive some $2 billion a year from local property taxes and $2 billion in state aid. Local schools get 65% of all centrally assessed property taxes in the state.
Mazzei, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the exemption granted under State Question 766 cut revenues by approximately $11 million.
In a letter to his colleagues in early July, Mazzei cited a $50 million increase in revenue from higher assessments on non-exempt tangible property.
The school group disputed Mazzei’s estimate.
“The problem with this assertion is that State Question 766 did not address taxes levied on tangible personal property,” executive director Steven Crawford said. “It is our opinion that accounting for increased revenue collections that are derived from sources unrelated to the tax exemption masks the actual cost of SQ 766.”
The decline from the exemption for non-tangible property in limited to local taxes and does not affect state revenues.
Intangible property was not taxed in Oklahoma until the state Supreme Court mandated the assessments in 2009.