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Senate committee approves wire transfer fee for illegal immigrants

Sen. Paul Scott Sen. Paul Scott

Each year, millions in untaxed money is wired out of the United States to other countries including from Oklahoma. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 547 Wednesday to charge a fee on international wire transactions for individuals who do not present valid personal identification. Sen. Paul Scott, the principal author, said he filed the legislation to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants sending money out of the state as well as address drug money being funneled to other countries.

“Oklahoma is home to many undocumented immigrants illegally working for cash and many send those untaxed dollars back to their home countries through wire transfers and the state currently makes nothing from those transactions,” said Scott, R-Duncan. “Assessing this fee would ensure the state would make something, however small, off those funds since we’re missing out on the income and other taxes that legal citizens pay.”

SB 547 would authorize money transmission licensees to collect a $10 fee for transactions of up to $500 and a one percent fee for transactions over $500. The fees would be remitted quarterly to the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) and deposited into the General Revenue Fund.

“This continues the conversation and shines a light on the problem we have in Oklahoma with illegal immigrants,” said Scott. “Until the federal government figures out how to curtail illegal immigration, states have very few tools to stop the illegal activities of these individuals including sending untaxed funds out of the country. Hopefully, assessing a fee will encourage these individuals to keep and spend that money in Oklahoma and even seek citizenship.”

Under the bill, a valid personal identification is an unexpired state-issued driver license, permit or temporary permit or identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety, or any unexpired federally-issued document from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service authorizing a lawful presence.

SB 547 now moves to the full Senate.

Contact info
Sen. Scott: 405-521-5522