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Okla. House panel approves axing franchise tax

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma businesses would no longer have to pay a franchise tax under a bill that easily cleared a House committee on Wednesday.

The House Appropriations and Budget Committee voted 16-4 for the bill, and a similar measure was endorsed earlier this week by a Senate panel.

Both bills would get rid of the state's franchise tax that has been suspended in Oklahoma since 2010 but is scheduled to resume on July 1. The tax, which is levied on all corporations that do business in the state in the amount of $1.25 for each $1,000 of capital invested or used in Oklahoma, was replaced by a separate $25 business tax that expires this year.

The State Chamber, an association of businesses and industries in Oklahoma, has described the franchise tax as a "nuisance" for Oklahoma businesses, especially small companies that are forced to spend more time complying with the tax than the amount they pay the state in taxes. The franchise tax is in addition to the 6 percent corporate tax assessed on Oklahoma businesses.

A House estimate found that the franchise tax was expected to generate $40 million in the upcoming fiscal year.