Oklahoma is losing $185 million to $225 million a year in sales tax revenues to online marketers, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Tax Commission said last week in remarks to a legislative panel studying the state’s tax exemptions and exclusions.
Paula Ross said federal interstate commerce laws prohibit the state from collecting sales taxes on goods purchased over the Internet by Oklahomans.
“As more and more people shop online, it’s fairly reasonable to expect that we’re losing that kind of money,” she said.
The only solution, she said, appears to be a federal law requiring out-of-state companies to collect the sales tax.
The state income tax form asks residents to declare their sales tax on online purchases, Ross said, but it is voluntary.
The Task Force on State Credits and Economic Incentives said the state provides an estimated $500 million in tax breaks for industry.
Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, co-chairman of the task force, said most of the 408 tax breaks are beneficial, but others are not.
“A lot of these credits are giveaways,” said Dank, who chairs the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. “We’ve got these high-powered lawyers who sit down here in these ivory towers and don’t do anything but think about how they can get into the public coffers.”