Community reacts to Tax Commission office closing

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ARDMORE -- Most of us have heard the old expression – “Only two things are certain in life, death and taxes.” But residents and business professionals across Southern Oklahoma say tax issues are going to become uncertain. Telling us, any questions or problems with tax filings are going to be difficult to solve without the local Ardmore Tax Commission office. Shelby Levins reports.

"(We feel) kind of like a step child. We need that kind of service in this area, there are a lot of people that depend on it,” CPA James Chambers said.
"Yes, we're a smaller town, but we have a lot of business people who still mean a lot to the state,” CPA Kathy Fox explained.

Fox is a local CPA at Chamber Jackson and Fox. She says the closure of the Oklahoma Tax Commission office in Ardmore may not affect her firm's bottom line, but it will make her job more difficult. And it could really hurt many of her small business clients who depend on the free, personal help at the local Ardmore office.

"It would affect a lot of clients that we assist and if it affects them it affects the whole community,” Fox said.

Tax Commission officials say the office in Oklahoma City will remain open, along with free services online and by phone. But Fox says it's simply not the same.

"I try not to deal with the Oklahoma City office, simply because when I have had to deal with them, you're on the phone for 20 or 30 minutes and you might or might not get an answer to your question,” Fox explained.

And fellow principal James Chambers adds he hates to see the closure for local taxpayer's sake too, saying many citizens throughout Southern Oklahoma rely on the hard forms available at this satellite office.

"Unless you got access to the internet now, it's almost impossible to get Oklahoma forms,” Chambers explained.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission say forms are also available by mail. But the Ardmore office has to be closed to save money, releasing this statement:

“Revenue shortfall and the current budgetary restraints have resulted in the decision to cease operations in the Oklahoma Tax Commission offices in Lawton and Ardmore. The offices will close the end of business October 30, 2009. We will attempt to notify taxpayers in the area of the availability of services on our website and by telephone in our Oklahoma City office.

In an effort to allow the employees in those offices to maintain employment, the employees have been notified regarding the relocation of their job duties to the Oklahoma City Office.

- Paula Ross, Oklahoma Tax Commission, Communications Director

The Tax commission couldn't say how much money this closure will actually save, but at the end of business on October 30th, the Ardmore office door will be locked for good.