Oklahoma officials say SQ 766 could raise property taxes
BY RANDY ELLIS NewsOK.com
Sunday, October 28, 2012
10/28/12 at 7:28 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Homeowners and locally assessed businesses could see property taxes go up regardless if Oklahomans vote Nov. 6 to exempt all intangible personal property from state property taxes by approving State Question 766, officials say.
"We have no clue what the impact is going to be," admits Garfield County Assessor Wade Patterson, who has an advantage over most folks because he served on a committee that studied the issue.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission's best estimate is that 251 centrally assessed companies like AT&T, Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co., American Airlines and Cox Communications will receive a collective $50 million tax break if voters approve State Question 766.
Patterson said he has seen other estimates ranging from $12 million to more than $60 million.
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What is intangible property?
Even experts have a difficult time explaining it.
Tangible property is much easier to understand, said Wade Patterson, Garfield County assessor. Tangible property is property a person can touch like a building, home, manufacturing equipment, car or furniture.
Intangible property is property whose value stems not from its physical attributes, but from what it represents. Cash, for example, is often considered intangible property because its value stems not from the value of the paper, but from the value of items that can be purchased with it.
Other examples of intangible property are stocks, bonds, promissory notes, annuities, patents, inventions, licenses, contracts, land leases, mineral interests, insurance policies, custom computer software, trademarks and brand names.
The Oklahoma Constitution specifically exempts certain types of intangible property from taxation including cash, stocks, bonds, promissory notes, gold, silver, certificates of deposit and more than a dozen other categories of property.
Numerous other categories of intangible property aren't specifically exempted from taxation by the state Constitution and potentially could be taxed. Examples include patents, inventions, trade secrets, licenses, contracts, land leases, mineral interests, insurance policies, trademarks and brand names.
Original Print Headline: Officials: SQ766 could raise taxes