Monday, October 16, 2023

AFP comments on OK Tax Commission's proposed rules for Parent Choice Tax Credit Act

With the passage of HB 1934 and signing by Gov. Stitt, landmark 'school choice' legislation is now law in Oklahoma, providing tax credits of $5,000-$7,500 for private school students (depending on household income) and $1,000 tax credits for homeschool students (with a cap of $5,000,000, or 5,000 students for now, though estimates put the Oklahoma homeschool student population from a low of 25,000 to 120,000 on the high end). 

A relatively little-known aspect of law and government is that state and federal agencies must develop and publish rules to put most legislation into effect. Typically, there is a public comment period for citizens to have some input on the impact of proposed rules before the rules are finalized (and in some cases sent to the legislative branch for approval).

John Tidwell, State Director for Americans for Prosperity Oklahoma (which advocated very heavily for the bill), submitted the following letter during public comment on the proposed rules put forth by the Oklahoma Tax Commission:

Subject: AFP Oklahoma comments regarding the Parent Choice Tax Credit Act proposed rules 

To: Oklahoma Tax Commission
From: John Tidwell, State Director, Americans for Prosperity Oklahoma
Date: October 12, 2023
Re: Comment Regarding Proposed Emergency Rules pertaining to the Parent Choice Tax Credit Act of 2023 

On behalf of Americans for Prosperity and our 45,000 activists statewide, we respectfully submit the following comments regarding the proposed emergency rules concerning the Parent Choice Tax Credit Act of 2023 (the Act). 

The Oklahoma chapter of Americans for Prosperity supports empowering families to direct the education of their children and has supported efforts to expand educational choice in Oklahoma since its inception. Our organization, and our thousands of activists across the state, have fully supported the Parent Choice Tax Credit Act of 2023. 

Since the passage of the Act, we have worked diligently to inform families about the new program and activate them to sign up for the tax credit. 

At its core, educational freedom works best when it works for families. Oklahoma crafted arguably the best program in the country because of the simplicity of the tax credit and the easy process for families. However, it is imperative the Tax Commission does not impose unnecessary complications or burdens on families through its implementation of the program. To that point, we submit the following comments and encourage you to address these concerns regarding the proposed rules: 

  1. The tax credit must not be considered as (taxable) income for families. If the Commission intends to send 1099s to families who receive the credit, this will create the possibility that the credit could be considered taxable income by the IRS. That has never been the intent of the program and could be a severe penalty to families who have several children who qualify
  2. Reduce the burden on families for applying and submitting documentation. Current rules require families to submit separate applications for each child. Other state programs use household applications. Requiring multiple applications could mean more chance for error and/or one child not qualifying, while his/her siblings do qualify.
  3. Families should not have to submit tax documentation with their application. The Tax Commission has the capability to link families’ applications with their tax documents to provide further ease on families. 
  4. The Tax Commission needs to create a timeline and guidelines for notifying families on whether they will receive the tax credit and when payments will be sent. 
  5. The tax credit should be aligned with the school year rather than the calendar year as currently proposed. 

Lastly, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the Oklahoma Tax Commission for their diligence and hard work crafting these rules in such a short period of time. 

If Americans for Prosperity can be of further assistance, please contact me directly at 

Most Sincerely, 

John M. Tidwell
State Director
Americans for Prosperity Oklahoma


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