Red Flags Have Gone Up On Palin’s Per Diem Payments

The flags are flying and we aren’t talking about those on a football field. These flags are the ones that the Alaskan government has thrown up, by reviewing Palin’s tax returns. After Sarah Palin released her taxes it was found that she did not pay taxes on the per diems for working at home and for the travel expenses that the state of Alaska paid for her family.

Gov. Sarah Palin’s practice of charging the state when she stays in her home must be reviewed to determine if she should pay taxes on the payments, state Finance Director Kim Garnero said today.

Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, released two years’ worth of tax returns last week that did not list the per diem payments she received since becoming Alaska governor in December 2006. She collected nearly $17,000 during that period for 312 nights spent in her Wasilla home, about an hour’s drive from Anchorage, according to state travel records.

According to Garnero, a typical work year for most employees is 260 days. The governor’s staff however, believes that Sarah Palin’s work year should be considered 365 days. The reason, she is on call. If their interpretation is used then that would mean she put in about 43% of last year in Anchorage. In that instance, Palin would not have to pay taxes on her per diem.  Sounds to me like the Governor’s Office is trying to rewrite what is considered a typical work year.

The final decision likely will be made by the Internal Revenue Service, said Allen Bingham, an Anchorage accountant and member of the Alaska Society of Certified Public Accountants’ taxation committee. IRS officials could determine that Palin owes taxes on past and future per diem payments, Bingham said.

Bingham said Palin’s situation is unusual because she claimed such a large number of days working away from Juneau, something that would typically raise red flags when considering whether the per diem should be considered income.

Not only has this raised eyebrows, but officials will have to determine if Sarah Palin cheated on her taxes. This is going to get interesting..

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