“When this law first went on the books we had problems with compliance, so we later added an administrative fine of $500,” Gumm said. “When the fine was enacted, we saw compliance jump to about 90 percent. The problem is we still have at least one nationwide retailer in particular who refuses to follow this Oklahoma law.”
Under the final version of SB 1321, a first offense would result in the $500 fine, while a second offense would result in a misdemeanor charge. In addition all correspondence between the Tax Commission and the offending retailer would be made open to the press and public. Currently they are considered confidential communications, shielding those stores that refuse to honor the sales tax exemption for qualified vets.
“If the fine and the misdemeanor charge fail to get retailers’ attention, then I’m confident this sunshine provision may give them the motivation they need to finally obey the law. When veterans and the public are able to see who is in violation, they can vote with their feet and spend their dollars elsewhere,” Gumm said.
The Democrat from Durant said he felt confident that Gov. Henry, who has a strong record of supporting veterans, would sign the measure into law.
“I want to thank my fellow members for their support of this measure, and my House author, Rep. Randy Terrill, for his work winning approval in the House of Representatives. This is the right thing to do to ensure Oklahoma’s disabled veterans get the respect they deserve when they attempt to take advantage of this tax exemption.”