Alaska Says Palin Owes Tax on Expense Payments
By Scott Butterworth
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) owes income taxes on thousands of dollars she received as expense money while living in her own home, the Anchorage Daily News reported today.
Palin received $16,951 in per diem payments, which are intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business, The Washington Post reported in September. Even though she was staying in her home in Wasilla, Alaska, she claimed the expense money because she was away from her official "duty station" in Juneau, the state capital.
"The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it," gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said at the time.
The Post reported on the payments after Palin was named as Sen. John McCain's running mate on the Republican presidential ticket. Liberal groups challenged the payments and asked whether she owed tax obligations on them.
That answer, according to state administration commissioner Annette Kreitzer, is yes.
"At the Governor's request, we reviewed the situation to determine whether we were in full compliance with the pertinent Internal Revenue Service regulations," Kreitzer wrote in an e-mail to the Daily News. "As a result of this review, we determined that per diem needs to be treated as income, requiring a revision of W-2 forms for any affected employees."
Palin's office would not how much she owes in back taxes, or whether she intends to continue to seek the per diem allowance. As of December, she was still asking the state for the payments, the Daily News reported.
"The amount of taxes owed is a private matter," Leighow, Palin's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail to the Daily News. "If the governor collects future per diem, those documents would be a matter of public record."
Posted at 12:04 PM ET on Feb 18, 2009
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