Oklahomans may be sweating out one of their last April 15th deadlines on state income taxes if the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate gets his way.
Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor pointed out that state income taxes, the April 15th deadline and tax audits would be a thing of the past if voters adopt his "Texas Plan" - an initiative that would replace the Oklahoma tax code with the Texas tax system. Texas levies no personal or corporate income tax.
"With the Texas Plan, we not only get rid of the tax, we get rid of the hassle that goes along with filing tax returns. Instead of rummaging through receipts and filling out tax forms in the days before April 15th, Oklahomans could be spending carefree time relaxing with their families," said Senator Taylor.
Since he announced the Texas Plan last month, a good deal of attention has been focused on the various economic benefits that would result if Oklahoma voters adopted the Lone Star State tax code. While those benefits are the main reason he is pushing the proposal, there are several side benefits that are enticing as well, according to Taylor.
"Some may view those side benefits as icing on the cake, but I think they are very important and attractive features of the Texas Plan that deserve attention. Anyone who has stayed up all night filling out their state tax returns or sat through an audit by the Oklahoma Tax Commission will probably agree," said Senator Taylor.
The side benefits of the Texas Plan include:
"For a lot of people, filling out their income tax returns or enduring an audit can be just about as painful as paying the tax itself. The Texas Plan may turn out to be the best stress reliever we can prescribe for Oklahoma taxpayers," said Senator Taylor.
Last month, the Senate leader asked officials at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University to help draft language that would allow the Legislature to put the Texas Plan to a vote of the people. The schools have since appointed a team of academicians to complete the work and forward the final product to state lawmakers.
Senator Taylor remains optimistic that the work can be completed before the Legislature adjourns at the end of May. He said a statewide vote on the issue could come as early as this fall.
"I'm looking forward to the time when April 15th is just another day in Oklahoma. The faster we move on the Texas Plan, the faster we can forget the tax deadline day and all of the headaches that go along with it," said Senator Taylor.