Legislation to clarify qualifications for a $5,000 tax credit originally approved to help attract and keep aerospace engineers in Oklahoma has been approved by the full Senate and is on its way to the House for further consideration.
Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, is the author of Senate Bill 1461, which he filed after an interpretation by the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) resulted in notifications being sent to aerospace engineers saying they didn’t qualify for the credit and must repay the state the $5,000 credit plus penalties and interest.
“Aerospace is Oklahoma’s second largest industry with an annual economic impact of $44 billion. It’s also our fastest growing industry, increasing by 250 percent between 1999 and 2017,” Standridge said. “Oklahoma’s engineer tax credits have been a significant reason for that—just ask Boeing. The company recently added over 3,000 jobs in our state. My legislation makes sure there’s no confusion over the qualifications for that credit.”
Standridge said the law requires engineers to have completed degrees accredited by ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. He said some engineers who applied for the credit held undergraduate degrees from schools overseas that are not ABET certified, although they later completed graduate degrees here. The catch is that graduate degrees are often not ABET certified either, even though the undergraduate degrees at colleges and universities are ABET accredited.
SB 1461 clarifies that if a person holds a graduate degree in engineering from a university whose undergraduate degree in engineering is ABET accredited, that engineer qualifies for the tax credits. It also states that someone with a professional engineering license in electrical, mechanical, aerospace or other licenses specified in the bill would also qualify for the tax credits.
“This credit has been an extremely successful incentive for ensuring Oklahoma can provide the highly qualified work force required by the aerospace industry,” Standridge said. “This legislation is aimed at ensuring the credit can work as originally intended.”
For more information, contact Sen. Rob Standridge at 405-521-5535 or email Rob.Standridge@oksenate.gov.
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