Scores of Oklahomans used the tax forgiveness opportunity

Efforts to get Oklahomans to pay back taxes are paying off.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission’s PAYRight OK (PRO) collections rose far above initial projections of $35 million by bringing in over $129 million in past-due taxes.

Additionally, 6,841 taxpayers with liabilities have entered into pay out plans and if all that money is remitted, the grand total could end up exceeding $146 million.

Gov. Mary Fallin, along with the Oklahoma Legislature, enacted PRO during the 2015 legislative session by passing House Bill 2236. PRO offered taxpayers the opportunity to file past-due state tax returns and pay their tax liabilities for any periods ending prior to January 1 without paying penalty and interest. Eligible taxes included income tax, sales tax, use tax, withholding tax, mixed-beverage tax, gasoline and diesel tax, gross-production  and petroleum excise tax and privilege tax. The program began September 14 and ran through November 13.

“We are thrilled about the extreme success of PRO. It was beneficial to both the taxpayer and the State by giving taxpayers the opportunity to save money as well as generating revenue for Oklahoma,” said Paula Ross, Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

“We know programs such as PRO are used by Gov. Fallin and the Legislature as ways to address budget gaps. Between taxpayers who utilized PRO to pay off their liabilities and those who got on payment plans, thousands of taxpayers were able to get their accounts in compliance.

“Our hope is in the future these taxpayers will be able to stay current with their tax obligations.”

“Throughout the duration of PRO, our staff fielded over 26,000 calls through a PRO-dedicated hotline, received over 17,000 inquiries through our website and answered questions for more than 2,000 walk-in taxpayers,” said Tony Mastin, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Tax Commission.