State Sen. Roger Thompson has been appointed to the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on State and Local Taxation.
He currently serves as the chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance. That is the primary committee that considers legislation dealing with taxes in Oklahoma.
On-line shopping is one of the issues his committee will looking into in the months ahead.
“Just like Oklahoma, states throughout the country are struggling with many of the same issues. Our tax laws need to be adapted to changes in the economy and how business is done,” said Thompson, R-Okemah. “The growth of online shopping is just one example. It puts our local stores at a big disadvantage because they are required to include sales tax when purchases are made. Most of these retailers will tell you they’ve lost business because internet purchases often include no sales taxes. It also hurts the many services and programs funded at the local and state levels.”
Last year lawmakers passed legislation requiring the Oklahoma Tax Commission to notify more out-of-state retailers about their responsibility to collect and remit Oklahoma sales taxes. It also requires internet companies to send customers an annual summary of their purchases and remind them that they are required to pay taxes on those purchases. “If the federal law changes, this will help us take advantage of that. This isn’t a new tax—it’s just that federal law has prevented Oklahoma, and other states, from collecting it from big internet sites and companies.”
The state is facing another significant budget shortfall this session. It continues to be driven by several factors including job losses and production decreases in the energy industry, the increase in off-the-top funding, and the need to continue efforts to reform tax preferences that do not promote economic growth and job creation,” Thompson said. “The more information we have, the better we’ll be able to approach these challenges, so I am extremely pleased to have been appointed to this task force.”