October 17, 2011

The Truth of Oklahoma’s Tax Credits

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A well-known Norman workers compensation attorney said he used tax credits to reduce by about half what he owed in state income taxes.

Richard A. Bell told a panel studying tax credits and economic incentives Wednesday that he didn’t believe that his use of transferable and nontransferable tax credits created a single job.

The Task Force on State Tax Credits and Economic Incentives is studying an array of tax credits and incentives to determine which ones produce jobs. The panel is expected to issue recommendations to lawmakers regarding which ones should be eliminated.

Bell said he was encouraged by friends and associates to buy the tax credits, something he was leery of doing. He said he finally did so to prove a point. It did generate some caustic remarks from lawmakers, Bell said. Nothing he did was illegal, he said.

Bell said the transferability of tax credits has been problematic.

“The second point is if we’re going to do something in the state about the state income tax, then let’s repeal it for everybody, not just the people that can afford to do these guises under legitimacy so they don’t have to pay state income tax,” he said.

Bell said he didn’t feel good about using the tax credits to reduce his liability.

“I can assure you, I will be buying no more of these instruments,” he said.