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Posts tagged: Idaho Tax Commission

Hart cast deciding votes on state tax rules

Idaho Rep. Phil Hart, who has big tax disputes pending over back state and federal income taxes, sat on a three-member legislative subcommittee this year that reviewed new state tax rules for all Idaho taxpayers, and he cast the deciding vote on two of them. Those included a new rule for how the state Tax Commission should handle settlements of more than $50,000 in income tax liability - at a time when Hart was facing an order to pay $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest. Hart never mentioned his case or declared a conflict of interest.
 
A special House Ethics Committee is currently looking into whether Hart had conflicts of interest in the Legislature due to his tax problems, and whether he abused the legislative privilege from arrest or civil process during sessions by invoking it repeatedly to win delays in his state and federal tax cases. Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, who served with Hart on the subcommittee, tried to get two new income tax rules killed because he thought they were too lenient on tax scofflaws. “I would’ve loved to have Phil’s support, because we could’ve defeated the rule,” Burgoyne said. “I had several concerns about it. … I generally take the view that people who get away with not paying their taxes make chumps out of the rest of us.”

Hart said today that he saw no conflict, because his own case had already progressed past the point of a possible settlement. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com. Also, Hart today sent out a guest editorial entitled “Tax Reform for Idaho,” in which he called for eliminating the income tax. “A tax on wages and salaries is a tax on our right to exist.  It is the feudal system of the old world,” he writes. “We threw off the old world system in 1776, but it crept back in.  Today, it is time to do it again.” You can read his piece here.

Tax Commission seeks $15M transfer from general fund for tax refunds

Just as it was on March 4th, Idaho’s state Board of Examiners will be asked in the morning to transfer money from the state’s general fund to the Tax Commission’s refund account so timely refunds can continue to be paid to Idaho taxpayers who are filing their tax returns in droves. This time, the Tax Commission wants another $15 million transferred; in March, it asked for $45 million, but got only $30 million. It’s a cash-flow issue; the Tax Commission’s current projections show that it’ll transfer $18 million back to the general fund by the end of June, but now’s the time that the cash is needed as refund returns continue to pile up.

When people have to pay with their returns, 20 percent of their payments go into the refund account, while 80 percent is “swept” daily into the general fund. In March, the Tax Commission anticipated possible two-day delays in refund payments due to the cash-flow issue, but it reported today that refunds are being paid daily and on-schedule. Currently, because of the volume of returns, refunds for e-filed returns are going out in four weeks, while those for paper returns are at six to 10 weeks; that’s comparable to last year and normal for this time of year. The additional $15 million, said spokeswoman Renee Eymann, is “just kind of to cover our bases.” The Tax Commission must pay all refunds out by June 15th or start paying interest on them; the transfer, if approved, should help it avoid any interest payments.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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