OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Tax Commission is hiring new auditors and hiking their pay in an effort to improve compliance with tax codes and increase state revenue.

The commission hopes to bring in more than $50 million in new revenue by tightening enforcement, The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2ejiDPg ) reported. The plan comes as state government continues to suffer from budget challenges amid declines in the oil industry.

The commission has hired 20 new auditors so far and is seeking 33 more. Commission spokeswoman Paula Ross said starting salaries have risen from about $2,200 a month to about $2,700. Even so, the annual compensation is considered relatively low for a position meant to attract college graduates who studied business and finance.

According to the bill’s fiscal impact statement, the new tax code enforcement is expected to result in an estimated $26.8 million increase in state sales tax collections.

“For each new auditor we bring on, that much more money can be brought in,” Ross said. “But it’s not just looking at tax returns, businesses need assistance. The tax system works on voluntary compliance.”

The commission is hiring 10 new compliance officers as well. Compliance officers typically contact taxpayers to discuss delinquent taxes.

A bill approved this year ordered the commission to find and decrease fraud, increase its audit staff to catch people failing to file their taxes or underreporting what they owe and ensure proper reporting and collection of gross production taxes.

Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com