Oklahoma Liquor Tax Lawsuit

To Begin With...

Four basic rules:

  1. In Oklahoma, all wine, and "strong beer" (all of these are called
    "mixed drinks") which are sold for on-premise consumption ("liquor by
    the drink") are subject to a 13 1/2% "gross receipts tax" or "liquor tax."
  2. The liquor tax is a "direct tax" which may be collected by being
    included as part of the price
    of the drink, or it can be collected
    on top of the price of the drink, except ---
  3. When the price of the drink is advertised, the liquor tax must be
    in the advertised price instead of added to it, and
  4. Sales tax cannot be applied to the liquor tax.

What this lawsuit is about:

        Over the last six years consumers have visited over 2,500 Oklahoma on-premise liquor retailers.
They have found that about 40% (two out of five) of these retailers overcharge their customers one way or
by violating one or more of these four basic laws. The overcharge rates range from about 1% to
almost 15% of the price of each drink they sell.

        By themselves, these overcharges do not amount to very much. Often they are very small - only a few
cents, but sometimes as much as a couple of bucks. But when they are all added up, a great deal of
money is involved.

        It may be very hard to collect the overcharges and match each one up to the individual who was
overcharged. However, in any event it's certainly unfair to let the retailers keep the money they have gotten
by violating these laws. That is why we believe that this money should be turned over to be used for
some public purpose approved by the Court. This action could impact your rights to recover overcharges
you may have suffered yourself, so you need to consult your own lawyer.


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