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Oklahoma | Tax Credits for Working Families

Tax Credits for Working Families

Oklahoma

Earned Income Tax Credit^

Income Tax Rate: Graduated .5-5.25 percent; according to a deal reached in May 2012, the top rate will drop to 4.8 percent and will drop again in 2015 to 4.5 percent if state revenues grow by 5 percent that year.

State Credit: Yes

Refundable: Yes

Formula: 5 percent of the federal EITC

Enacted: Effective January 2002

Notes/News: In 2011 the governor and legislature created two state task forces to consider state tax credits and comprehensive tax reform. The Task Force on Comprehensive Tax Reform recommended eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit; it also recommended a gradual 0.5 percent reduction in the state’s top individual income tax level and envisioned a day when the state would have no income tax. On February 6, the governor announced a plan to steeply reduce income tax rates, and pay for it by eliminating many credits and deductions, including the EITC.

Four bills to reduce or eliminate the state income tax were introduced. HB 3061 was based on the governor’s tax cut plan. SB 1623 is based on the recommendations of the tax reform task force. The Senate Finance Committee voted to pass this bill with some amendments, and it will move on to the full Senate. Under this bill, the existing bracket structure would have stayed the same, with the top personal income tax rate dropping to 5 percent in 2013 and 4.75 percent in 2014. The bill would have eliminated about 40 other credits, deductions, and exemptions, including the Child Tax Credit, sales tax relief credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit.  Two bills that would completely eliminate the income tax also passed in committee. SB 1571 would have created a flat rate of 2.25 percent for all single filers making more than $8,700 and joint-filers making more than $15,000. The rate would have then been reduced by a quarter percent every year until fully eliminated in 2022. All credits, deductions, and exemptions would have been eliminated. HB 3038 would retain 4 brackets with a top rate of 2.25 percent. The rate is reduced by a quarter percent every year until fully eliminated in 2022. All credits, deductions, and exemptions would have been eliminated except for the volunteer firefighters’ credit. The Oklahoma Policy Institute prepared a more detailed comparison.

By May, only HB 3061  and HB 3038 were still active. Both of these bills would have eliminated the income tax credit. The governor, House and Senate began negotiations to reach final agreement on one bill. On Tuesday, May 15, the Senate leadership proposed to cut the income tax by one-half of one percent over the next two years, and offset the costs by eliminating a number of tax credits including the state EITC.  On Thursday, May 17, the governor and legislative leaders announced that they had reached a deal to reduce the income tax, including cutting the state’s top personal income tax rate next year from 5.25 percent to 4.8 percent. Oklahoma’s current seven income tax brackets would have been reduced to three: a 1 percent tax rate for up to $2,500 in taxable income; a 3.3 percent rate for $2,500 to $7,500 in taxable income; and 4.8 percent for more than $7,500 in taxable income. If state revenue grew by 5 percent in the 2015 fiscal year, the top rate would have dropped further to 4.5 percent effective January 2015. The plan would have spared the state’s credits for low-income workers, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Child Care Credit.

However, analyses of the plan showed that it raised taxes on many low and middle income Oklahoma families because it eliminated other credits, and it also reduced state revenues. On May 23, House Republicans offered a different plan to reduce income taxes; Senate leaders refused to consider that plan. The legislative session ended May 25th without the passage of any final tax reform legislation and the governor has announced that she will not call a special session to try to pass tax legislation. Thus, for 2012, all Oklahoma working family tax credits including the EITC are expected to remain intact as will the state’s current income tax structure and other exemptions, deductions and credits for low income families.

In 2013 Governor Fallin has proposed cutting Oklahoma’s highest tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent starting Jan. 1, 2014, and the leaders of the Republican majority in both houses say they are solidly behind her. In a vote February 25 along party lines, a committee of Oklahoma‘s House of Representatives passed both House Bill 1598 to reduce the state’s top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.99 percent, and House Bill 2032, to drop it to 5 percent.

On March 12 the full House voted for HB 2030. On March  11, the full Senate voted for  SB585 , which would reduce the state income tax rate to 4.75 percent and also leaves the state EITC, Child Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit intact for families making less than $50,000.  The final version of the bill passed by the full legislature will leave all three credits untouched.

Reports/Materials: Oregon State & Local Taxes, from Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, January 2013

Statement: Tax Deal Sets Wrong Priorities for Oklahoma, OK Policy Blog, May 2012

The Conservative Anti-Poverty Program, OK Policy Blog, May 2012

The “Tax Cut” Bait and Switch: How Average Oklahomans Could Be Collateral Damage in the Assault on Tax Credits, Gene Perry, Oklahoma Policy Institute, March 2012

Don’t Pay for Tax Cuts on the Backs of Working Oklahoma Families, Oklahoma Policy Institute, March 2012

Oklahoma: State and Local Taxes in 2007, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, November 2009

Increasing the State Earned Income Tax Credit: Targeting Tax Relief to the Working Poor, Oklahoma Policy Institute, October 2008

Articles: Earned Income Tax Credit Upheld: It isn’t an unconstitutional gift to low- income taxpayers, the state Supreme Court rules, Marie Price, Tulsa World, July 12, 2008

Earned Income Credit Encourages Work (Editorial), Eddy Collins, The Oklahoman, November 30, 2001

Don’t Tax Poor Families’ Income, Tulsa World, January 21, 2001

Child Tax Credit^

State Credit: Yes

Refundable: No

Eligibility: Same as for Federal Child Tax Credit. Taxpayers with an income above $100,000 are ineligible.2

Formula: Eligible families can claim either 5 percent of the federal Child Tax Credit or 20 percent of the federal Child and Dependent Care Credit, whichever is greater.

Notes/News: Oklahoma’s task force on comprehensive tax reform’s final report to the governor and legislature, while it did not explicitly include the Child Tax Credit in its list of tax credits to eliminate, effectively recommended eliminating it because Oklahomans can choose whether to claim this credit or the Child Care Credit, and the task force identifies the credits together in other materials.

In 2012, the governor announced a plan to steeply reduce income tax rates, and pay for it by eliminating many credits and deductions, including the Child Tax Credit. The details of the legislative  deliberations over tax reform are in the EITC note. The legislative session ended May 25th without the passage of any final tax reform legislation and the governor has announced that she will not call a special session to try to pass tax legislation. Thus, for 2012, all Oklahoma working family tax credits including the Child Tax Credit are expected to remain intact, as will the state’s current income tax structure and other exemptions, deductions and credits for low income families.

In 2013 Governor Fallin has proposed cutting Oklahoma’s highest tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent starting Jan. 1, 2014, and the leaders of the Republican majority in both houses say they are solidly behind her. In a vote February 25 along party lines, a committee of Oklahoma‘s House of Representatives passed both House Bill 1598 to reduce the state’s top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.99 percent, and House Bill 2032, to drop it to 5 percent.

On March 12 the full House voted for HB 2030. On March  11, the full Senate voted for  SB585 , which would reduce the state income tax rate to 4.75 percent and also leaves the state EITC, Child Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit intact for families making less than $50,000.  The final version of the bill passed by the full legislature will leave all three credits untouched.

Reports/Materials: New poll shows Oklahomans oppose income tax cuts, Global Strategy Group, May 2012 (One question specifically references the state Child Tax Credit)

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit^

State Credit: Yes

Refundable: No

Eligibility: Same as for federal Child and Dependent Care Credit. Taxpayers with an income above $100,000 are ineligible.2

Formula: Eligible families can claim 20 percent of the federal credit, except that if OK AGI is less than federal AGI, the state credit is prorated based on the ratio of OK AGI to federal AGI. Filers with income above $100,000 are ineligible.

Notes/News: Eligible families can claim either 20 percent of the federal Child and Dependent Care Credit or 5 percent of the federal Child Tax Credit, but not both. It is unclear whether expenses for the care of dependents other than children are eligible for the state credit.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates that the Child Care Credit refunded $6 million to Oklahoma families in the 2008 fiscal year.3

Oklahoma’s Task Force on Comprehensive Tax Reform final report to the governor and legislature recommended eliminating the Child Care Credit. In 2012, the governor announced a plan to steeply reduce income tax rates, and pay for it by eliminating many credits and deductions, including the Child Care Credit. The details of the legislative debate over tax reform are in the EITC note.

The legislative session ended May 25th without the passage of any final tax reform legislation and the governor has announced that she will not call a special session to try to pass tax legislation. Thus, for 2012, all Oklahoma working family tax credits including the Child Care Credit are expected to remain intact as will the state’s current income tax structure and other exemptions, deductions and credits for low income families.

In 2013 Governor Fallin has proposed cutting Oklahoma’s highest tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent starting Jan. 1, 2014, and the leaders of the Republican majority in both houses say they are solidly behind her. In a vote February 25 along party lines, a committee of Oklahoma‘s House of Representatives passed both House Bill 1598 to reduce the state’s top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.99 percent, and House Bill 2032, to drop it to 5 percent.

On March 12 the full House voted for HB 2030. On March  11, the full Senate voted for  SB585 , which would reduce the state income tax rate to 4.75 percent and also leaves the state EITC, Child Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit intact for families making less than $50,000.  The final version of the bill passed by the full legislature will leave all three credits untouched.

Property Tax Circuit Breaker^

Circuit Breaker: Yes, called the Refund of Property Tax Credit

Refundable: Yes

Eligibility: Homeowners over 65 years old or fully disabled, and meet each of the following requirements:

  • File as a head of household
  • Live in Oklahoma for the entire calendar year before filing
  • Have a household income below $12,000.4

Formula: The Refund of Property Tax Credit is equal to either $200 or the property tax amount subtracted by the tax cap amount, whichever is less. The tax cap is 1 percent of household income.5

Notes/News: Oklahoma does not offer a property tax circuit breaker for renters. Credits are sent to taxpayers as rebate checks. In the 2008 fiscal year, Oklahoma refunded $75,000 to low-income taxpayers who qualified for the circuit breaker.6

In 2011, HB 1293 was introduced to expand eligibility of the circuit breaker to low-income seniors making less than $22,000 a year or 50 percent of the county’s median income, up from the current level of only $12,000 a year.

In 2011 Oklahoma’s Task Force on Comprehensive Tax Reform issued its final report to the governor and legislature. The Task Force recommended eliminating the state’s Refund of Property Tax Credit for low-income residents.

In 2012, the governor announced a plan to steeply reduce income tax rates, and pay for it by eliminating many credits and deductions. The details of the legislative debate over tax reform are in the EITC note. The legislative session ended May 25th without the passage of any final tax reform legislation and the governor has announced that she will not call a special session to try to pass tax legislation. Thus, for 2012, all Oklahoma working family tax credits including the Refund of Property Tax Credit are expected to remain intact as will the state’s current income tax structure and other exemptions, deductions and credits for low income families.

In 2013 Governor Fallin has proposed cutting Oklahoma’s highest tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent starting Jan. 1, 2014, and the leaders of the Republican majority in both houses say they are solidly behind her. In a vote February 25 along party lines, a committee of Oklahoma‘s House of Representatives passed both House Bill 1598 to reduce the state’s top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.99 percent, and House Bill 2032, to drop it to 5 percent.

Reports/Materials: Property Taxes in Oklahoma, Oklahoma Policy Institute, March 2011

Property Taxes in Oklahoma, Oklahoma Policy Institute, April 2009

 

1 State of Oklahoma Tax Expenditure Report 2007-2008, Tax Policy Division of the Oklahoma Tax Commission, 2007-2008

2 68 Okl. St. §2357 (2)

State of Oklahoma Tax Expenditure Report 2007-2008, Tax Policy Division of the Oklahoma Tax Commission, 2007-2008

4 68 Okl. St. § 2905

5 68 Okl. St. § 2907

State of Oklahoma Tax Expenditure Report 2007-2008, Tax Policy Division of the Oklahoma Tax Commission, 2007-2008