Oklahoma Supreme Court overrules state Tax Commission on electric vehicle credits

Friday's Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion says taxpayers who purchased Tomberlin brand electric vehicles and were denied tax credits should receive them after all. It applies to about 735 people.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: May 26, 2012

Taxpayers who bought Tomberlin low-speed electric vehicles and were denied tax credits by the Oklahoma Tax Commission will get their rebate after all, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court disagreed with the Tax Commission's interpretation of the law and said the taxpayers who appealed should receive the tax credit, concluding a two-year battle for many of those who bought low-speed vehicles with the understanding they'd receive a tax credit worth 50 percent of the purchase price.

Tax Commission spokeswoman Paula Ross said about 735 tax credits are pending on Tomberlin vehicles, and the court's decision will apply to all of them.

So far, the commission has paid out about 900 credits on other brands of vehicles.

In 2011, the Tax Commission denied tax credits to taxpayers who bought Tomberlin brand electric vehicles in 2009, arguing that the vehicles are “known as golf carts.” The law, which was scrapped in 2010, exempted “golf carts, go-carts and other motor vehicles which are manufactured principally for use off the streets and highways.”

Craig Riffel, an attorney who represented many of the taxpayers who appealed, said he was pleased the case was resolved.

“The credit really belongs to the clients that stuck in there and fought the fight,” he said.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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