Vietnam War Veteran Fights For His Tax Exemption Right

Monday, November 2nd 2015, 10:44 pm
By: News 9

For the past several years, Oklahoma veterans with 100 percent disability have been able to get a state identification card. 

That card is supposed to exempt those veterans from having to pay state sales taxes on purchases in stores and restaurants.

Vietnam War veteran Tom Gaut said he earned two Purple Hearts, and has earned the right not to pay that tax. 

However, he said a handful of businesses including Dollar General, Olive Garden and the Belle Isle Walmart have been giving him problems. 

He said Dollar General stores in Edmond and Guthrie have flat out turned him down when he showed his card. 

He’s filed two formal complaints in the past two weeks against Dollar General with the State Tax Commission. 

He said the Olive Garden across from Penn Square Mall and the Walmart have made him fill out paperwork — which he said took 20 or 30 minutes — to get his sales tax exemption, which he says isn’t right either. 

“For one thing it’s got personal information they’re asking, it’s taking up my dang time and I already gave my time,” he said. “I gave them blood, I gave a lot of thought of what I did. I could have been a Canadian when I got that draft notice!” 

State Tax Commission spokeswoman Paula Ross said they are looking into Gaut’s complaints. 

“It’s not OK and I don’t know if those businesses do that or not,” she said. “But we don’t want it to be time-consuming to somebody who has that card.” 

National corporate spokespeople for Walmart and Olive Garden told News 9 Monday they are also looking into Gaut’s claims. 

The Dollar General district manager called back Tuesday to apologize and will send Gaut a $50 gift card.

Ross said a business can be fined $500 if it is proven it violated state law.