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Posts tagged: income tax

Idaho Among Biggest Non-Payers

Using a Tax Foundation map of the United States, David A. Graham of The Atlantic is reporting that 47 percent of Americans don't pay income tax. Idaho is among the 10 states with the highest amount of non-income-tax payers. In his now infamous comments re: non-payers, Mitt Romney said that states with the most non-payers are likely to vote for President Obama. But this map shows several GOP states among biggest non-payers. Graham's story here.

Question: Does that make Idaho a moocher?

Hart Asks High Court To Reconsider

Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart is asking the Idaho Supreme Court to reconsider its dismissal of his state income tax appeal, saying the court should have given more consideration to his legislative privilege argument. Hart appealed an order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest, but filed his appeal months after the 91-day appeal period had expired. He argued that because an Idaho legislative session fell just after the appeal period, his status as a lawmaker should entitle him to more time to file. The Idaho Supreme Court strongly disagreed, writing in its unanimous decision in April, “In this instance, Hart is just a taxpayer, with no greater privilege than his constituents”/Betsy Z. Russell, SR. More here.


Rep. Hart Files For Bankruptcy

Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, who lost his bid for a fifth term in the GOP primary two weeks ago, has filed for bankruptcy. In Hart’s petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, he lists just three creditors: The IRS, the Idaho State Tax Commission, and Anderson & Krieger, a construction defect law firm in Sacramento, Calif. Hart also is facing a foreclosure lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department seeking to foreclose on his Athol home for more than $500,000 in back federal income taxes, penalties and interest, and a state order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest. Michael McFarland, Hart’s Coeur d’Alene attorney in the bankruptcy proceeding, said, “I’m really not in a position to discuss details”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. And: bankruptcy document here.


Romney To Pay $6.2M In Taxes

Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate for 2011 showing he is likely to pay $6.2 million on income of $42.5 million over the two-year period. Romney's tax information — covering more than 500 pages — can be found on his website. The tax records show Romney and his wife, Ann, paid an effective tax rate of 13.9% on their adjusted gross income in 2010. The estimate is 15.4% for 2011. How does Romney's effective tax rate compare with other Americans? The average effective tax rate of American taxpayers is 11% on adjusted gross income, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Tax Foundation. Millionaires pay about about 25%, the foundation says/USA Today. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Is Mitt Romney paying his fair share of taxes?

Rep. Hart Fights Home Foreclosure

Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart has cited his status as a state legislator numerous times in seeking delays in his court fights over paying back state and federal income taxes, pointing to the state constitution’s clause protecting lawmakers from civil actions during sessions. Now he’s using it as an argument for dismissing a federal lawsuit to foreclose on his Athol home for back federal taxes. In Hart’s reply to the federal lawsuit, in which the Department of Justice is seeking to foreclose on the home to pay off more than a half-million dollars in back taxes, interest and penalties, his attorney charged that the IRS claim is “barred” because a “notice of deficiency” was sent to Hart while the Legislature was in session/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Hart is trying to use his elective office to thwart the IRS again?

JohnA: Give Hart His Day In Court

JohnA re: “Hart says IRS wrong re: payments”: Phil Hart has a very legitimate engineering business and is clearly entitled to his deductions, assuming he has written proof. If, as Larry asserts, they are are legitimate and provable, and all are being disallowed he should be able to prove that in court. Having prepared taxes for many years I’m guessing the end result will be that Phil will get his deductions, which should help to offset some of the interest and penalties that have accrued over the years. … I say let’s give Phil his day in court before we judge him too harshly.”

Question: Have we been quick to judge Rep. Phil Hart harshly (before his day in court)?

Hart Says IRS Wrong re: Payments

A state legislator from Athol filed an answer on Thursday to the federal government's lawsuit against him seeking to collect more than half a million dollars in back-income taxes. Rep. Phil Hart claims in the document that the IRS is wrong in asking him to pay eight years worth of business deductions, which he believes have been denied because of his book challenging the legality of the income tax. “No, they won't accept my answer,” Hart predicted of the federal government's reaction. “They never do in any lawsuit.” But his answer does kick off the legal process, he stated/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that state Rep. Phil Hart says the IRS and not he is wrong about what he owes in back taxes?

Hart Gets Delay To Hire Attorney

Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart has asked for and received a 30-day delay in the deadline to file his legal response to federal authorities' move to foreclose on his Athol, Idaho home for years of unpaid federal income taxes, interest and penalties. Hart, acting as his own attorney, asked for a delay until Jan. 5, which is four days before the start of this year's legislative session, to allow him time to bring on and qualify an out-of-state attorney and get him up to speed to file the response. “Defendant Hart states that the purpose of the continuance is not for delay, but it is needed for him to obtain counsel and allow said counsel to be admitted … and review the case in preparation for filing an Answer,” Hart wrote in his motion to the federal court/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

DFO: Pardon my cynicism, in dealing with our Artful Tax Dodger who's the darling of the local Constitutional RINO movement, but I predict that Hart will hide behind his legislative immunity in January and continue to elude the tax posse pursuing him.

Question: What do you think?

State: Same Rules Apply To Phil Hart

Attorneys for the Idaho State Tax Commission have filed their response to Rep. Phil Hart's state income tax appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court, writing that Hart seems to be arguing different rules apply to him just because he's a state legislator. “Appellant appears to be arguing that his status as a legislator excuses him from the requirement to file a timely appeal,” the state attorneys wrote. Hart, a tax protester who stopped filing both federal and state income tax returns for three years in the 1990s, had 91 days to appeal his order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest for tax years 1996 to 2004, but instead waited more than six months, saying an intervening legislative session entitled him to more time/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.


42% Of Refunds To Be Used For Debt

Item: About 42% of tax refunds will go to bolster savings/Office Hours

More Info: A recent survey by the National Retail Association found 42 percent said they will use refund dollars to pay down debt. Another 42 percent (which may overlap with the first 42 percent) say they will bolster savings accounts. Only 13 percent, the Grasshopper Constituency, say they'll use the bucks to splurge on something.

Question: How do you plan to use your tax refund?

Hart Pays 2009 Income Tax Late

Item: Hart averts another tax fight: Lawmaker months late filing 2009 return/Betsy Z. Russell, SR

More Info: Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart narrowly avoided a court order over the holidays when he belatedly filed his 2009 state income tax return three days before Christmas. The Idaho State Tax Commission went to court in December for an order against Hart, saying he’d ignored repeated notices that his tax return was due. Returns are due by April 15.

Question: Any of you fail to pay your state income tax on time last year?

IRS: Hart Owes $500K Not $1 Million

That means Hart’s total tax debt to the IRS, as identified in liens that are public record, should be reduced from $941,347.90 to $493,088.91. That includes the $471,269.79 the IRS has filed in liens against Hart personally, plus the $21,819.12 in liens it’s filed against another trust Hart set up as owner of his Hayden engineering firm; those liens are for business taxes and do not duplicate the other liens. When his state income tax debt of $53,523, an amount he’s still attempting to appeal, is added to the total, it brings Hart’s total state and federal tax debt for back taxes, penalties and interest to $546,611.91/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What do you make of this latest development?

Trib: No One Cares About Tax Cheat?

” … there’s been no word from Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, or Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, about stripping (state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol) of his assignment on the tax-writing committee. That’s some signal the House leadership is communicating: Idahoans should continue voluntarily - or at least grudgingly - to pay their taxes. The same rules, however, do not apply to a sitting lawmaker who not only flaunts the law, but then writes those laws for others to follow. Then again, that’s some message the ordinary citizen is telegraphing to his elected representatives in Boise. Out there with the electorate, Hart’s escapade has had a half-life of about 15 minutes. Have Idahoans come to accept a tax scofflaw in their Legislature?”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Why hasn’t there been any sort of outcry from ordinary North Idahoans re: state Rep. Phil Hart’s flaunting of tax laws?

Hart To Seek End Of State Income Tax

The northern Idaho lawmaker at the center of a House ethics investigation hopes to introduce legislation next year that would eliminate the state income tax on wages and salaries. Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, said his proposal would bring Idaho’s tax code back in line with what the income tax was originally intended to be: a tax on business and investment profits, rather than on wages. “This issue is fundamental to Idaho’s (economic) revitalization,” Hart said. “I don’t think our economy is going to recover until we figure out how to bring jobs back from overseas. We can’t do anything about that at the state level, but we can make Idaho more attractive than the other 49 states”/William Spence, SR. More here.

Question: What do you make of plans by embattled Rep. Phil Hart to introduce legislation to eliminate the state income tax?

Hart Defends His ‘Brilliant’ Work

Idaho Rep. Phil Hart, in his first public comment since House Speaker Lawerence Denney said yesterday he’d appoint an ethics committee to investigate Hart’s conduct, sent a guest opinion to newspapers this afternoon defending his fight against income taxes, but making no mention of his use of legislative privilege in his fight, his service on the House Revenue & Taxation Committee while he pressed his fight, or the pending ethics action, which is aimed at those two matters. Hart’s op-ed piece (click below to read it in full) focuses on his legal challenge to the federal income tax, including a quote from a lawyer who he said called his challenge “brilliant legal work;” his subsequent problems with an IRS audit; and his concerns about revealing the names of those who bought his book, “Constitutional Income”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here

Question: What do you make of this latest development?

Press: Hart Should Step Aside For Now

But Rep. Hart has become increasingly ensnared in a web of his own making. A member of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, Hart is paying dearly for first, his defiance of the tax structure, and second, his negligence in appropriately addressing the first shortcoming. In the stories pouring out of newspapers about Hart’s tax liabilities and snail’s pace in remedying them, one essential element is missing: remorse. Nowhere does one sense that Hart is sorry he’s let down the tens of thousands of diligent taxpaying citizens he represents - many of whom don’t like the tax structure any more than he does - or the 1.6 million Idahoans who are smeared by his reluctance to share the American burden while living the American dream/Mike Patrick, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.

Question: Mike Patrick goes on to opine that Hart should take a leave of absence from the Idaho Legislature until he pays his tax debt to the IRS and state of Idaho in full. Is that the right remedy for this situation?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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