OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – A bill that allows Oklahomans to pay their ad valorem taxes in numerous installment prepayments passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
The House approved House Bill 2003, written by Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa, on Thursday with a 52-31 vote.
The bill sets procedures for county treasurers to accept 12 installment payments for the prepayment of ad valorem taxes. Through the bill, treasurers have the discretion to accept installment prepayments. Qualifying taxpayers are required to submit written notice of their desired payment method to the state treasurer by Jan. 15 each year.
Being able to pay ad valorem taxes can be difficult on individuals who have paid off their mortgage, often senior adults, Boatman said in an interview with Oklahoma Business Voice.
“Because they’ve paid off their mortgage, the escrow services that are typically available to people that have a mortgage aren’t available to them anymore – there’s not that option to make your taxes and insurance part of your monthly mortgage payment – so, they end up stuck with either one or two large lump sum payments,” Boatman said. “You either have to get it all paid by the end of December or half of it by the end of December and half of it by April 1st. So, they end up with either one or two of those large payments. And what I’m trying to do with this bill is just allow them to send in prepayments so the county gets the money early.”
The bill enables Oklahomans to make regular monthly prepayments and work those expenses into their budget instead of having to come up with one or two large lump sum payments.
Treasurers can deposit the installment payments into an interest-bearing account and keep the interest that they earn to offset the cost of providing the service, according to Boatman.
“So, there wouldn’t be interest to the consumer, but there is a cost management mechanism for the county. The rates would just be whatever prevailing rates were at their bank of choice,” Boatman said.
Oklahomans who have accounts with delinquent taxes, accounts with an ongoing valuation protest, taxes paid through an escrow account and public service corporations are not eligible for installment payments.
HB 2003 next moves to the Oklahoma Senate for consideration.