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Oklahoma: The Case of the Wrong Number

  • Jun 27, 2013 | Gail Cole

 Oklahoma: numbers matter.

Having the right number is important. If you dial the wrong phone number, a stranger answers. If you give the wrong credit card number when you buy something over the phone, the card is rejected. And if you reference the wrong court case number on a ballot to raise sales tax, you may get a great big mess.

Just ask Rogers County, Oklahoma.

Back on June 26, 2012, the people of Rogers County voted overwhelmingly in favor of a 1/3 cent sales tax "designed to pay the $32.5 million judgment awarded to Material Services, Inc." The tax went into effect in November of that year, and since that time Rogers County has collected roughly $1.3 million in sales tax. That sales tax has funded monthly bond payments of approxmately $190,000. (The Daily Progress).

And that would be that, were it not for what seems like a simple oversight: the wrong court case number was written on the ballot.

Voters approved a proposition that read:

"… The Rogers County Finance Authority for the purpose of satisfying debt in Case No. CJ-2004-234 in the District Court of Mayes County…." (Emphasis mine).

Unfortunately, the case number for Walter Mortgages vs. Donald Cowan, in the District Court of Mayes County, is actually CV-2009-42.

It may be a simple matter to solve, and then again, it may not. It could end up a great big mess.

According to Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker, "This is a matter for the legal department to look into… it is purely a legal issue. … It may be huge or nothing." He added that the Rogers County Commissioners "…will do the right thing and take care of it."

Worse case scenario? The election is declared invalid, which would mean the tax revenue that was collected and distributed was wrongly collected and distributed. An Oklahoma news source reports that the "$32.5 million bond financed through the Rogers County Finance Authority could be in question as well."

The moral here? Be sure the numbers are right.

Who checks your numbers? Automation makes it easy.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.