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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Hart narrowly avoids court order over belated filing of 2009 state tax returns

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. In court documents, the Tax Commission noted that state records showed Hart had taxable income in 2009 of at least $16,155 – his salary as a state legislator.

Hart's belated filing prompted the state to drop that case, but he's still fighting an order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest from past years, on grounds including that his status as a state legislator should have given him months longer to appeal, though an appeal deadline had passed. He also contends Idaho's state income tax is unconstitutional. Though a Kootenai County judge dismissed Hart's appeal, he's now filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider that decision, with a hearing on the motion scheduled in March. You can read my full story here at

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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