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May 14, 2013

Norman sales tax takes a hit

NORMAN — Norman sales tax dropped 3 percent from sales tax collections during the same time period last year, according to the city’s finance department.

Total sales tax remitted to the city by the Oklahoma Tax Commission on May 9 for primarily March collections was $4,681,595. Of the total collected, $936,319 will be diverted to the Public Safety Tax fund, leaving the city with $4,012,796 in sales tax, which is 3 percent below collections for last year.

However, the low number is due to an abnormality this month and does not represent actual tax collected.

“We took a reduction because of a refund that was given to AT&T for Internet sales that they have between 2007 and 2010 that were deemed to be tax exempt,” Norman Finance Director Anthony Francisco said. “When the tax commission reaches a settlement with the taxpayer, the settlement is applied at one time, even though the overpayment was for a period of three years.”

The settlement amount was $292,881.

Had that total been included in this month’s payment to the city, Norman would have seen an increase, rather than a decrease, in its sales tax collections. The increase for the month’s collections would have been up 4.1 percent above last year.

Even at that, Norman is still running slightly below budget predictions of a 4.25 percent increase. Earlier in the fiscal year, other revenue sources were performing above budget to fill that gap. Francisco said whether that is still the case has not been determined and the finance department will report on that at the end of May.

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