OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate passed legislation Wednesday evening in an effort to address the number of illegal immigrants in Oklahoma as well as the hundreds and thousands of dollars of untaxed cash that those individuals send out of Oklahoma annually. Senate Bill 547, by Sen. Paul Scott, would charge illegal immigrants and anyone else who does not present a valid personal identification a fee on their international wire transactions.
“Something has to be done and while this is a small step, it’s a step towards stopping illegal immigration in our state,” said Scott, R-Duncan. “These individuals are breaking the law just by being in our state and then they’re working for cash that they don’t pay taxes on and wiring it to other countries. They don’t pay taxes but they use numerous state services that Oklahoma citizens pay for like education for their kids, driving on our roads, and getting free medical care in our emergency rooms not to mention those who are involved in drug trafficking and hurting our communities in other ways. This fee is a small price for them to pay for all of the free services they get living here illegally.”
SB 547 would authorize money transmission licensees pursuant to the Oklahoma Financial Transaction Reporting Act to collect a $7.50 fee for transactions of up to $500 and a 1.5 percent fee for transactions over $500. The Commission would work with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBNDD) to create the necessary forms for the remittance of fees. The forms and fees would be required to be filed with the Commission no later than the fifteenth day of the month following the close of each calendar quarter.
The fees would be remitted quarterly to the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) who would disperse the money to three funds.
For those transactions up to $500, the $7.50 fee would be split as follows:
For those transactions over $500, the 1.5 percent fee would be divided as follows:
The bill would also direct money transmission licensees and their delegates to post a notice on a form created by the OBNDD Director notifying customers that upon filing an individual income tax return with either a valid social security number or a valid taxpayer identification number the customer will be entitled to an income tax credit equal to the amount of the fee paid for the wire transaction.
SB 547 also authorizes the OTC to suspend the license of any money transmission licensees and their delegates who fail to file reports or remit the transaction fees. The State Banking Commissioner and the OBNDD Director would be notified of any suspensions. The licensee and its delegates could reapply for a license once all of the required reports and fees had been submitted. The OTC could also request that the State Banking Commissioner make a claim against the surety bond of the licensee on behalf of the state.
Finally, the legislation authorizes the OBNDD and its attorneys to assist the OTC in conducting audits and prosecuting and/or seeking legal remedies to ensure compliance with the Drug Money Laundering and Wire Transmitter Act.