In the state of Oklahoma, most of the products sold in retail stores are subject to a sales tax of 4.5 percent (this is fairly low, compared to other states, but can increase significantly depending on municipal or school-district tax rates). These taxes have to be collected by the store’s owner, and forwarded on a regular basis to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. If you owe back sales taxes, or never bothered to collect the sales tax in the first place, the state can take action to close your store—at which point you need to hire an experienced tax attorney from the law firm of Travis W. Watkins, PC.
You Need an Oklahoma Sales Tax Permit in Order to Open a Retail Store
Before you can legally open a retail store in the state of Oklahoma, you need to obtain an official sales tax permit. If you wind up owing a significant amount of back sales taxes, state officials can move to rescind your permit, which essentially means that you have to shut your store down. This, by itself, does not clear your debt; even though you no longer operate a retail business, the Oklahoma Tax Commission can use the full force of the law to obtain its money by other means (such as going after your assets).
Oklahoma’s state sales tax of 4.5 percent may not seem like such a big deal; after all, it’s about half the rate of more populous states like New York. Still, in this economy, many Oklahoma retailers operate on extremely tight margins, and may be tempted to keep that 4.5 percent for themselves (or not collect the tax in the first place, thus enabling them to lower prices and beat the competition). Even if a store does a low volume of business, that 4.5 percent can add up over time, resulting in a tax debt of thousands of dollars for a given fiscal year.
Somewhat sneakily, the Oklahoma Tax Commission won’t always advise troubled storeowners that they are entitled to hire a lawyer to defend their interests. Under the guise of “helping” you to keep up on your back sales taxes, the OTC may wind up imposing an additional burden, whereas an experienced tax lawyer may be able to negotiate with the commission to accept lower payments and keep your store open.
The State of Oklahoma Treats the Withholding of Sales Taxes as Theft
As far as the OTC is concerned, not forwarding your store’s state sale taxes—or not collecting state sales tax in the first place—is tantamount to theft, and places you in the same category as a common felon. Needless to say, the Oklahoma authorities take theft very seriously, and will do everything in their power to collect any back taxes they claim you owe. By hiring an experienced tax lawyer from Travis W. Watkins, PC, you’ll have an advocate who can stand up to the OTC and negotiate a fair deal that may be able to keep you in business. Call now for a free consultation!