Thousands in Amazon sales tax coming to Lawton - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Thousands in Amazon sales tax coming to Lawton

(Source Amazon) (Source Amazon)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Money collected through sales tax on items purchased on Amazon will now making its way back to cities in Oklahoma.

Amazon made an agreement with the state back in February to start charging sales tax on all sales made in Oklahoma.

That includes Lawton, and according to one city official, he expects the first monthly check for more than $20,000 to arrive at some point in the next week. In total, they're expecting about $250,000 per year to be given back to the City of Lawton.

Lawton City Manager Jerry Ihler said getting that additional money will be great for Lawton.

"Well obviously it will be a big positive for Lawton and the state of Oklahoma because Oklahoma is the only state in the union that it remains that is not able to use property tax for operational purposes,” Ihler said.

Ihler said they are still unsure of exactly how much money they will get this year, but whatever that amount is will be used to make up for this year's decrease in revenue coming from residents' water bills.

"We continue to have a lot of rain and wet times so people aren't using as much water and we aren't having as great of sales as we normally would have,” Ihler said. “So, it would help supplement that reduction that we're receiving in those revenues."

Ihler said it will also be used to make up for a reduction in sales tax over the last few years. As they start getting more concrete numbers of exactly how much money they will receive, they will start putting the money towards the city's budget for next fiscal year.

"Things like police and fire and public safety issues and divisions,” Ihler said “One of the things we collect sales tax and use for is our capital improvements projects. What that will allow us to do is do more projects like sidewalk projects to help get people from point A to point B."

In addition to helping the city out, Ihler said the revenue generated from the Amazon sales tax will also help individual businesses within the community.

"It puts it on a more level playing field. The local retailers with the mortar and brick will be on a lot better playing field with the online shoppers, retailers,” Ihler said. “So, that's a very positive for the local retailers.”

Ihler said the partnership with Amazon is great for Lawton and that in the future, he thinks even more websites will make similar changes in the way they handle sales tax.

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