Oklahoma Town Worried About Image After Error By Oklahoma Tax Commission

February 11, 2009

The town of Caddo, Oklahoma (population 944) was surprised in June 2008 when their town clerk received a $54,138 check from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Supposedly its share of sales tax collections, it was actually an error, with the money meant for Caddo County (pop. 30,000).

No problem, we’ll send the money back, thought the clerk, Deanna Lilley. No thanks, said the Oklahoma Tax Commission:

“They said that would mess up their books,” Lilley said. “What they want to do is hold out a little each month until they recoup that $54,000.”

As a result, the Oklahoma Tax Commission has been allocating $8,000 each month to Caddo for its sales tax revenue and withholding any money exceeding that amount to repay the $54,000 tax error. Lilley estimated this process to repay the money would take approximately two years.

“Keep in mind, we have the money already. They sent us $54,000. They just won’t let us send the whole thing back,” Lilley said. “This is just their way of getting back that overpayment.”

By “mess[ing] up their books,” the Commission probably means “correcting ourselves and making an accurate report.” This way they can correct the error quietly, a dribble at a time.

But that method means that Caddo looks like its sales tax revenues have plummeted, suggesting a dire economic situation:

“Starting in February, our sales tax revenue is going to look really, really low because OTC is going to withhold $8,000, and let us keep the rest,” Lilley said. She explained the town of Caddo has not been losing money or business.

Just amend your reports, Oklahoma Tax Commission.

More on ridiculousness from the Oklahoma Tax Commission:

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