Oklahoma Supreme Court denies stay in lawsuit; sales tax on vehicles will go into effect

OKLAHOMA – In just a few short hours, Oklahomans will have to start paying sales tax when purchasing vehicles.

In the past, Oklahoma residents have paid a 3.25 percent excise tax when purchasing vehicles. However, sales tax has never applied to those purchases.

Now, a 1.25 percent sales tax will be tacked on to every vehicle purchased after July 1, 2017.

“For some people, that’s a car payment. That’s another month’s car payment. And, it’s not just that it’s $250, but it makes a total of almost $1,000 just for the tax on the vehicle,” Lynna Bryan, with the Oklahoma Independent Automobile Dealers Association, said.

Earlier this week, Battison Honda, the Oklahoma Auto Dealers Association and a Ponca City woman filed a lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of the new vehicle tax.

“We just think that the consumers ought not have to pay an additional sales tax when they buy a new vehicle or a used vehicle,” Larry Battison, owner of Battison Honda, told NewsChannel 4.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that passing the tax violates the Oklahoma Constitution.

Revenue-raising bills need three-quarters support from the Legislature in order to move forward, and the Constitution also prohibits lawmakers from passing those revenue-raising measures in the last five days of the session.

However, proponents argued that this is simply repealing an exemption that’s been in place for years.

The issue will head to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, who will ultimately decide whether or not the measure was against the law.

On Friday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied a request by the plaintiffs to stop the tax from going into effect on Saturday, meaning that the tax will be applied to vehicle purchases until a decision is made in the case.

According to the Associated Press, the court has scheduled oral arguments to begin on Aug.8.