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Palin Reports Six-Figure Income in '06 and '07

By Dan Morgan
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, have assets worth up to $2.1 million and they paid $24,738 in 2007 income taxes on total income of $166,495, documents released today by her campaign show.

The Palins' joint income last year came from her salary as governor of Alaska and money he earned as an oil worker, fisherman and snow machine racer. Tax returns released by the McCain-Palin presidential campaign indicated that Sarah Palin paid no taxes on $16,951 in state payments she received as meal and incidental expenses when she stayed at her home in Wasilla instead of at the governor's mansion in Juneau.

Alaska's director of finance has already declared that the state does not consider these $60-a-day payments taxable. Accounting experts and some tax courts have differed on whether such compensation is tax-exempt.

Palin stayed in her Wasilla home 312 nights, or 54 percent of the time when she claimed reimbursements from Dec. 4, 2006 (when she took office) through June 30, 2008. Her staff has said that most of Palin's work as governor is performed in Anchorage, 45 miles from Wasilla, but Finance Director Kim Garnero said the state capital in Juneau is considered her duty station, making her eligible for the meal and expense payments.

In the couple's 2007 return, which was prepared by H&R Block, Palin describes her occupation as "public service" while her husband Todd declares his as "oilfield." The couple claimed six exemptions -- themselves and their four children. (Their fifth child was born this April.)

The Palins' total charitable donations in 2007 came to $3,325, or about 2 percent of total income. These included $2,500 in various non-itemized gifts and an $825 in-kind donation to the Salvation Army.

On a separate financial disclosure form, the Palins valued their home in Wasilla at between $500,000 and $1 million. Their mortgage interest deduction of only $10,203, reported on their tax return, suggests they have substantial equity in the property, according to one tax accountant.
Todd Palin's commercial fishing business is worth between $50,000 and $100,000, and the couple's fishing leasehold in Nushagak River, Alaska, is valued at $100,000 to $250,000.
Along with mutual funds and property, their total assets are between $880,000 and $2.1 million, the form indicated.

Much of the Palin tax return deals with Todd Palin's varied business activities. Although he won $17,000 in prize money in Alaska's Iron Dog snow machine race, he reported a $9,639 business loss after deducting equipment depreciation, repairs, fuel and other costs of racing.
However, he reported a profit of $15,513 on on his commercial fishing operation even after deducting $12,245 paid to his crew as a share of the catch, along with other expenses.

His major income was $43,518 from his job as an oilfield worker for BP. He paid $204 in union dues.

The couple's 2006 return, which was also made public today, was not filed until Aug. 8, 2007, after they sought an automatic extension. They paid taxes of $19,951 on total income of $128,005. That year the bulk of the family income came from Todd Palin's job as an oil worker, which paid him $102,716.

Posted at 8:05 PM ET on Oct 3, 2008  | Category:  Sarah Palin
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Some comments from http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2008/10/tax-profs-agree.html

Googling >"Jack Bogdanski" + obama

. . .

Wow, so if I take my taxes to H&R Block and pay them to take care of it for me, I can later find myself subject to public condemnation and tax penalties for their screwups.

Who cares about Palin? H&R Block is the one who looks pretty bad in all of this.

(Yeah, I know, the odds of me having a hundred ideologically motivated academics singularly focused on slinging mud at me are pretty low. But still, that's why you pay H&R Block, to get it right. By the way, how's the review of Obama's tax returns shaping up...)

. . .

Maybe these professors should offer their services to H&R Block. Imagine how many of Block's other clients might have similar problems.

. . .

I hope any analysis based on Sec. 274(m)(3) takes into account Reg. Sec. 1.132-5(t). That subsection appears to expressly delink determinations of employer deductions for related-person travel expenses from those of employee inclusion. If one must therefore revert to plain vanilla Sec. 162 business-purpose analysis, all that stuff therein about Congresspersons and state legislators seems to provide at least some rationale for a governor's excluding arguably similar income, if a governmental business purpose can be shown (e.g., the politics of presenting a functional family to the world, or some such.) Certainly there's enough authority to defer hitting the Sec. 6662 panic button.

Lord knows if the 1040 and W-2 preparers were looking at this, but it seems to present a problem for quickie web critiques based in the Sec. 274 language. Of course, the business-purpose sifting is thankless, probably indeterminate, and may ultimately dictate inclusion.

More to the point, the Palin returns reflect the kind of rough tax justice that fills the working world. One can argue that the return positions lack a certain sophistication. However, to get a little meta here, they also arguably better represent the true dynamics of taxation policy and practice than do more technically careful analyses.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 7, 2008 11:40 AM

Hi, zuckermand! Ready to debate whether Trig's travel expenses are taxable income? Please cite IRC and Tax Court cases.

Posted by: JakeD | October 6, 2008 11:50 PM

I challenge all to visit this site. John McCain is just as bad as George Bush. They are both war mongers and have killed innocent civilians, women, children, impoverished, etc.

http://therealmccain.com/

Posted by: LKM2 | October 5, 2008 6:17 PM

FRANK MURKOWSKI (2002-2006)

Murkowski was Alaska's worst governor. Fortunately, he was also its most incompetent, so his ill-considered ideas on the Permanent Fund, oil taxes and the gas pipeline never went anywhere. Unfortunately, corruption flourished on Murkowski's watch. I also think that was due to his ineptitude. Others hold a less charitable view.

The weaknesses Palin has displayed as governor. She is naive if not disinterested regarding the boring elements of state government such as the personnel system and the laws that govern it. She has demonstrated little skill in mentoring or allocating trust and authority to subordinates. And she has trouble distinguishing the difference between her public responsibilities and her personal and family desires, a problem that has her embroiled in a legislative investigation of the sort not seen since the Legislature considered impeaching Sheffield (BILL SHEFFIELD (1982-1986)

Posted by: LKM2 | October 5, 2008 12:40 PM

"His major income was $43,518 from his job as an oilfield worker for BP."
This fact scares the hell out of me. How much more have the Palin's received, under the radars, in compensation from big oil? Just like the Bush's, this is Palin's meal ticket. The only reason Sarah Palin is in the Governor's position now is because her predecessor was favored by only 20%. The people of Alaska were sick and tired of Frank Murkowski, and if you ran a dogfish against him, the dogfish would be Governor of Alaska now having an 80% favorable opinion! Instead, Alaska now has a bullying pitbull for Governor who is not respected by a majority of her constituents.

Posted by: LKM2 | October 5, 2008 12:25 PM

How about a compromise? The Palins were middle class up until the day she was elected Governor.

Posted by: JakeD | October 5, 2008 10:54 AM

"Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, have assets worth up to $2.1 million."

I don't know ANY middle class families/person's who have assets as the Palins have. Sarah Palin is a bold faced liar and is part of the McCain elitists.
Sarah Palin is insulting and an embarrassment to this country,particularly the way she exploits her children for political purposes of garnering votes. I am, a disabled adult who has worked in the field for 35+ yrs. Just because a person is born with downe syndrome does not mean that they are incapable of being full functioning adults of society. Filling our traditional grouphome beds with Downe syndrome adults is a thing of the past. They can read, write, are employed full time, are completely independant in all of their personal cares and activities and make sound decisions. They can vote which says more for them than it does for felons. And the way Sarah Palin embarrassed that unwed, pregnant 17 yr old daughter of hers in the world's eye is totally unforgivable. This child is going to be ostracised for the rest of her life. Does "The Scarlet Letter" ring a bell? The overall intellect of this country thinks like the folks think in that story. Come on people, I work very hard, and have for 38+ yrs and do not have assets any where near 1/10 of that of the Palin's. I want someone who has worked their way up from extremely humble beginings to be this countries leader. Not another silver-spoon fed, war mongering, chauvanist woman abuser!!!!

Posted by: LKM2 | October 5, 2008 10:44 AM

On a joint return, the Palins had a 6-figure family income? So that means they each earned more than $50,000 a piece. That sounds like an average or slightly above average middle class income.

Looks like Obamas reported a 7-figure income in 2007. Why did they need to get a special discount on their property from ANTOIN REZKO?

Posted by: ttj1 | October 5, 2008 9:54 AM

If anyone -- other than zuckermand -- wants to know the difference between a joint return and married, filing separately, please let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 5:34 PM

Jake:
I support McCain-Palin doing whatever it takes (within the law) to win.
=============

I know. It's sad, really.

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 5:21 PM

Jake, the singular McCain in your list is a cute touch. Do you ever hesitate to mislead when it serves your purpose?

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 5:03 PM

1. Who said the per diem were illegal? Brad and I agree they ought to have been included in taxable income. Are you pretending to misunderstand?

2. I don't believe any topic should be "off-limits". I do question the relevance of such associations and the value of considering them. Clearly, you will pretend Sen Obama's interactions with those men are of vast import if you believe that will sow doubt among the more impressionable. I suppose you're perfectly entitled to do that, but one hopes there is some shame in that.
I do seriously question the judgment of the campaign raising these sort of attacks to the candidate level. Desperation is never pretty. Of course, McCain's poor judgment is a factor in my not supporting him, so I can't say I'm surprised.

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 5:00 PM

She's alot closer to you and me than the other three candidates. How much is Biden's house worth? I am going to watch her live here in California in just a few minutes.

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 4:51 PM

To recap, 2006 income vs. 2007 income:

Obamas. $984,000. $4,140,000
John McCain $339,000. $387,000
Bidens. $249,000. $320,000
Palins. $166,000. $128,000

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 4:47 PM

Ah, yes, Palin is just like me! Worth between 1 and 2 million dollars. House worth half-a-million. Gets paid $60 a night for staying in her own home instead of the mansion the state provides her. I think her cutesy little 'you betcha!!!' wink, wink, Joe six-pack stuff is wearing thin and is obviously a lie to perpetuate the myth that "she's one of us".

Posted by: SueB2 | October 4, 2008 4:27 PM

DrainYou:

Are you still here? Please see pending questions, below.

zuckermand:

I support McCain-Palin doing whatever it takes (within the law) to win. Why should Ayers, Wright, etc. be off limits? That tells us much more about who the candidate is than "what newspapers do you read?". Speaking of which, take a look at today's NYT ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 4:23 PM

zuckermand:

What part of the Alaska director of finance saying the per diem payments being completely legal don't you understand?

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 3:52 PM

DrainYou, did you write that list yourself? I'm guessing you did.

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 3:49 PM

By the way, Jake, your guy's in big trouble. I understand he plans to go wall-to-wall Rezko-Ayers-Wright. Does this bother you at all, or does the end justify the means? Wouldn't you rather win a policy argument on the merits?

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 3:47 PM

DrainYou:

Very funny (not). Did you actually watch the debate?

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 3:46 PM

Brad's right, her position on the per diem is aggressive.

On another subject, I do wonder who Dan Morgan is. He doesn't seem to be playing it straight here. I don't cotton to that, as you know, even when he seems to be on my side for today.

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 3:44 PM

Dave Lettermans-Caribou Barbie Top Ten list


Top Ten Things Overheard At Palin Debate Camp:
------------------


10. "Let's practice your bewildered silence."


9. "Can you try saying 'yes' instead of 'you betcha'?"


8. "Hey, I can see Mexico from here!"


7. "Maybe we'll get lucky and there won't be any questions about Iraq, taxes or healthcare."


6. "We're screwed!"


5. "Can I just use that lipstick-pit bull thing again?"


4. "We have to wrap it up for the day -- McCain eats dinner at 4:30."


3. "Can we get Congress to bail us out of this debate?"


2. "John Edwards wants to know if you'd like some private tutoring in his van."


1. "Any way we can just get Tina Fey to do it?"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrzXLYA_e6E
-

Posted by: DrainYou | October 4, 2008 3:33 PM

zuckermand:

My much-longer post to you and bradcpa got lost in cyberspace. That point was for brad since HE brought up H&R Block. I was writing about their being professional tax preparers. My post to you was making fun of your fellow Dems resorting to allegations of "cheating".

Speaking of which, DrainYou:

What "note cards" are you talking about?

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 2:58 PM

I get a kick out of all of these Wingnuts who think Caribou Barbie did great at the debate just because she could effectively read note cards....and she still did terrible.
She sounded like she was running for high school student counsil president.


If you take the tele-prompter and note cards away from Palin she's turns back into what she really is:
an unqualified know-nothing who will wink and say "youbetcha" when you pull her string.


I agree with the deluded Repubs out there, I think McCain should turn her loose and let her do some open press conferences (which she still won't do)....."wink, wink"
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MJCvHMtwE4
.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 4, 2008 2:27 PM

Regardless of your personal opinion about H&R Block, the per diem expense was completely legal and would withstand audit.

Posted by: JakeD
============

Of course, it was a professional opinion, and the relevant one did not pertain to H&R Block, but you knew that, didn't you? Or, am I giving you too much credit?

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 2:13 PM

The Palin's gave more to charity in one year than the Biden's did in ten years.

Will the people on the View, NY Times or MSNBC comment on this?

Posted by: mwhoke | October 4, 2008 2:12 PM

keithwright and dsoulplane:

I realize she did so well during the debate that CHEATING has to be the only explanation. There was a blank note pad, verified by the CPD, on which both candidates took notes. Nothing was pre-printed in front of her.

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 1:32 PM

Regardless of your personal opinion about H&R Block, the per diem expense was completely legal and would withstand audit.

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2008 1:24 PM

bradcpa, what strikes me is the returns' recklessness. It's as though no one considered the possibility they'd be looked at, much less released to the entire country. What are the odds that those mileage logs, with the exact same, round thousands mileage every year actually exist? How about the likelihood documentation agrees with the round numbers for non interest and tax expenses on the 8829? Where's the sec 179 recap on the Arctic Cat sale, and what are the chances a sale occured New Year's Eve, never mind doubling his money on an at least 2 year old machine?

It looks like the returns my neighbors do on Turbo Tax and ask me to look over for craziness. Bizarrely careless and unsophisticated for people operating in this political strata.

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 1:10 PM

Ok, America...how many Joe Six Packs have a net worth of $2.1m?

More like $20.1k

I'm waiting for her next interview which may prove, without a doubt, her notes fromt he debate (you can see her shuffling them in a few scenes)

Posted by: keithwright1 | October 4, 2008 12:24 PM

I am a CPA with 25 years experience who knows a little about he concept of tax home. The fact that the employer is willing to reimburse it has nothing to do with it's tax status. The question is was it for a valid business reason and for the convenience of the employer. You have to look at the facts and circumstances. I have little doubt this was done for the convenience of the Governor and there by taxable.

If I was an agent I would be verifying if the show machine racing is really a business. He would have to show a profit three out of five years to fall within an IRS safe harbor; otherwise it becomes a facts and circumstance issue. My guess this is a hobby and is not deductable.

One would think if you were governor you would use a more sophisticated tax service than H&R Block. Generally if you running for an elected office you do not take such aggressive positions on your tax returns,

Posted by: bradcpa | October 4, 2008 11:25 AM

dsoulplane, the debate's rules prohibited pre-prepared notes. I don't believe she cheated. I do believe that every assertion she made was either false, past due canned GOP boiler plate, or gibberish. The lack of prepared text might explain my observation.

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 11:20 AM

"For Sarah Palin, Thursday's night’s debate was an open-book exam. She spent much of the evening methodically reading and rehearsing answers from “carefully scripted talking points.” Palin’s notes were largely hidden from plain view, resting behind the lectern where she stood. Because the cable and network television stations did not show a split screen of the debate, most viewers could not see that, during Joe Biden’s answers, Palin spent almost all her time looking down and studiously reading her notes. But viewers did see that when Palin delivered her answers, she would repeatedly glance down to check her talking points. ThinkProgress has compiled a video documenting some of the instances where it was clear to the audience that Palin was propped up by written responses. Watch a video compilation."

http://thinkprogress.org/2008/10/03/palin-can-read/

Posted by: dsoulplane | October 4, 2008 10:12 AM

I find Mr Palin's vehicle mileage and home office claims fascinating. Try as I may, I never seem to get mine to come out with round numbers. He must be VERY organized. I'm also impressed with his equipment wheeling and dealing, managing to sell a 2 year old $2,700 Arctic Cat on the very last day of the year for $5,000. Maybe I should ask him to help me sell my old Volvo.

Posted by: zukermand | October 4, 2008 9:07 AM

how about an article on how michelle obama got 25% of the grant Obama got for her employer funneled into her paycheck..

a 250K raise

Posted by: newagent99 | October 4, 2008 7:32 AM

LOL! The McCain campaign doesn't even take Palin seriously!

Palin Doesn't Have McCain's Phone Number?


http://www.stopthinkvote.com/whatsnew/mccainsphonenumber.html

Posted by: dmwhipp | October 4, 2008 2:35 AM

Let's see here:

"oil worker, fisherman and snow machine racer... the couple's 2007 return, which was prepared by H&R Block......."

Oh yeah, the WaPo's banner headline in this case is entirely justified. And, in fact, I think they should concentrate on things like this rather than the long series of shady people BHO is connected to, including at least one person under indictment who helped him buy a major asset.

Dan Morgan, do you know who I'm refering to? C'mon, Dan, his first name starts with a "T".

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | October 3, 2008 11:18 PM

"Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, have assets worth up to $2.1 million"

This is the first time--regarding federal Financial Disclosures--I've seen a media like the Post use the HIGHEST of the reportable dollar ranges.

For example, to get to the $2.1 million figure, the Post chose to report the $250k maximums in the $100,000 to $250,000 category.

The same for their house value: $500,000 to $1,000,000.

Unless specific data is known, the Post, and other media customarily use the mid-average $350k/2=$175, which would cut your $2.1 million somewhere near half.

But then this is Palin, the GOP-VP candidate.
Now I understand. Never mind.

Posted by: chazz60 | October 3, 2008 11:04 PM

Are we really supposed to beleive that the Palins are "middle-class" like she kept insisting last night? Maybe 15 years ago...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | October 3, 2008 10:54 PM

McPanse,

Todd Palin made significantly less in 2007 from his job as an oil worker because he took close to 7 months off to stay home with the kids. If you're concerned with financial irregularities, you may be interested in looking into Obama's mortgage-loan gifts from Rezko.

Posted by: wadetabor | October 3, 2008 10:29 PM

Some comparative data, from www.census.gov:

Median Alaska household income for 2004:
$52, 141;
for US households:
$44,334;
household income for Gov. Palin in 2007:
$166,495

Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000, Alaska:
$144,200
Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2000, USA:
$119, 600
Value of Gov. Palin's home, 2007:
$500,000-$1,000,000

Posted by: chrisduckworth | October 3, 2008 9:37 PM

No itemization of charitable gifts/tithes to her church. Doesn't mean she doesn't give, but it's just interesting to note. For someone with such a widely-recognized dedication to her faith and church, this is a slight bit surprising.

Posted by: chrisduckworth | October 3, 2008 9:28 PM

Dan, any word on why the Palins filed their 2007 return on Sept. 3, 2008? If I'm not mistaken, that's the same day she formally accepted the nomination. Busy day.

Also, I'm trying to understand why Todd Palin earned over $100K from BP Exploration in 2006 and only $37K or so the following year. Is $100K the going rate for a part-time oil field worker who also runs fishing and snow machine businesses?

And while the Palins appeared to have paid a reasonable amount of taxes for 2007 (remember-- this return was filed AFTER she was tapped as McCain's running mate) they paid much less for 2006, for an effective tax rate that year of 9 percent. Nine percent folks! No wonder she's so hoppin' mad when it comes to taxes.

Posted by: McPanse | October 3, 2008 9:01 PM

looks good to me

Posted by: JakeD | October 3, 2008 8:54 PM

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