Use taxes rise in SW Okla. as pandemic lingers

  • County Sales and Use Tax Receipts

OKLAHOMA CITY – Use tax receipts were significantly higher in several southwest Oklahoma cities and one county this month compared to the same month a year ago.

Those included Lawton (+47%), Elgin (+70%), Cache (+61%), Medicine Park (+31%), Fletcher (+77%), Geronimo (61%), Indiahoma (+76%), Chattanooga (+79%), Altus (+33%), Apache (+40%), Carnegie (+65%), Cyril (+227%), Davidson (+32%), Duncan (+45%), Eldorado (+165%), Frederick (+63%), Grandfield (+33%), Hobart (48%), Loco (+96%), Lone Wolf (+166%), Marlow (+45%), Snyder (+106%), Sterling (+88%), and Tillman County (+72%).

Roosevelt received almost twice as much from use taxes this month as it did in sales taxes, which fell 55% from a year ago. Indiahoma was another town that received more in use taxes this month than it did in sales taxes.

A “use tax” is a sales tax on purchases made outside one’s state of residence for taxable items that will be used, stored or consumed in one’s state of residence and on which no tax was collected in the state of purchase.

Walters experienced an 88% jump in its use tax receipts plus a 39% increase in its November sales tax disbursement.

Many of the cities and towns in eight counties in southwest Oklahoma had higher sales tax receipts this month than they recorded in November of last year. Those included Lawton (+$386,926), Altus (+$127,705), Blair (+$9,893), Elgin (+$41,142), Faxon (+196%), Gotebo (+63%), Gould (+155%), Marlow (+$28,527), and Medicine Park (+$7,992).

But the sales tax disbursement to several southwest Oklahoma cities was much lower this month than it was last November. Bray’s allocation this month was 80% lower than its sales tax check in November 2019; Cement’s fell by 37%; Duncan’s by $50,000; Eldorado, -53%; Granite, -48%; and Olustee, -47%. The allocations were derived from taxes collected on business transactions in September and remitted to the Oklahoma Tax Commission in October. A possible explanation for the decline in sales tax receipts and the increase in use taxes is the lingering coronavirus pandemic: many Oklahomans are staying inside as much as possible and making their purchases online.