February 18th, 2009
06:40 PM ET
12 years ago

Palin told to pay back taxes

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/06/art.getty.palin.jpg caption="Palin received per diem payments even though she was staying in her own home."](CNN) - Alaska officials have told Gov. Sarah Palin she must pay back taxes on the thousands of dollars she received in state per diem funds while living at her home in Wasilla.

The Washington Post first reported last September that Palin had billed the state for nearly $17,000 worth of meals and other living expenses while staying in her own home during the first 19 months of her administration, even though the official governor’s residence is in Juneau.

The news clouded Palin’s self-styled image as a small government reformer, just weeks after she was tapped as John McCain’s running mate. At the time, Palin’s office said the governor was entitled to the payments.

Alaska administration commissioner Annette Kreitzner told the Anchorage Daily News on Tuesday that the governor’s office had asked the office to review the tax treatment of the per diem payments after questions about the funds were raised.

Kreitzner told the paper that following the review, the per diem payments will be treated as income and that a revised W-2 statement will be sent to the governor.

Palin’s office would not say how much she owes in back taxes, or if she would continue to receive the payments.

UPDATE: Palin spokesman Bill McAllister tells CNN that Palin "will abide by all IRS regulations and rulings and will pay what she owes. That number, though, is not a matter of public record."

Post updated 3:02 p.m. EST

Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (440 Responses)
  1. Jeffrey, CO

    Help Obama stay President until 2016, nominate Palin in 2012.

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. John

    Sophia thinks per diems are legitimate expenditures. And they are. However, they are neatly defined; for example you can deduct for fuel used in commuting on milage in excess of 50 miles one-way. As for living in your own home and eating your own groceries, I think NOT.

    It would be appropriate to CONSIDER such things when putting together a tax return, but you'd have to realize this was if-fy. Ms. Palin obviously failed to play it safe, because someone would have, should have, told her this maybe looks like cheating. Maybe ESPECIALLY if you wish to live a public role.

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    Well I am not a supporter of Gov. Palin but must defend her in this instance. If her employer did not include the per diem payments as normal income, then she or her accountant had no reason to treat it is income.

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Lisa Young

    Why is this a big deal? Obama has a guy in charge to the IRS who didn't pay his taxes until recently and you can bet if he was not appointed to this position he NEVER would have!! Why is Palin bad for doing what Democrats do? Just because she's a Republican?? I think everyone in Congress, Cabinet positions and the President should all prove they pay their taxes before taking office. I bet there are more politicians out there who haven't paid and we just don't know about it and I'm talking Democrats and Republicans.

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. The Tax Man

    Now she's qualified to be an Obama cabinent member.

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Sharon


    The Dumbest Woman In America has been found out in front of the entire nation!!!!!

    Yahoo, not a second too soon in exposing this hypocrite for what she is....a self-serving liar!

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. The Nemesing One

    She paid the taxes for the income reported on her W2. She did nothing wrong. Now they've changed their minds and are issuing new W2s and she will have to file her taxes and pay more. This, like so many of the Palin stories, is a non-story.

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Gracie

    Now..... let me get this straight, THE GOP has been running their mouths ALL week long about the stimulus, cabinet appointments, etc.....

    AND yet you have....





    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Torin from Georgia

    There she goes again . . . never taking responsibility for any mistakes or errors of her judgment. Palin is a joke.

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Why does she refuse to live in the governor's mansion? Is it really that hard for her family to MOVE? American families do it all the time. Do they like doing it? That I can't answer, but the point is that people move for their job all the time. If she can't do that, then she needs to quit her job and do something from home.

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Impeach her !

    February 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. zak666

    Here's the Fox Headline "Sarah Palin Attacked on having a few sandwiches here or there on State Time while working hard and balancing the budget, What a Patriot and a Mavrick" 😉

    February 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. independent

    What is the age limit on VP nominations? Maybe we could nominate Bristol Palin for Vice President.

    She can see Russia from her front porch too.

    1) She has more time to devote to the job (only one child).
    2) She recently stated that Abstinance Programs, while noble, are unrealistic.
    3) Though related, she is not married to a member of the Alaskan Independence Party. And,
    4) She did not claim per diem while living at home.

    Those are four advantages over her mother.

    February 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Mike

    Ms. Palin has nothing on Illinois's Blagojevich, who spend all of his 6-plus years as governor living in Chicago while the governor's mansion sat empty in Springfield. Like paying taxes, relocating to the state capitol is now optional for those who we elect.

    February 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Florida, Florida, Florida

    Just another dirty little secret that comes out of the Palin family. Stay tuned I'm sure more will follow.

    God, I hope the base gets their wish and puts this disaster at the top of the Republican ticket in 2012, that will spell the end of the GOP!

    February 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Flex

    I used to hate this woman, and the idea that she might have been our VP, but now I'm developing a soft spot for her. It may have been her daughter's act of throwing a knife into the religious zealots "abstinence only" fascism.

    I don't know what the hype is about. S.Palin will be billed more taxes, and she hasn't protested the charges, or said that she will pay them. So, what's the big deal?

    I still wouldn't want her in charge of the US. Her religious views have obscured reality for her!

    February 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. Sue

    Professional liberal blogger alert!
    Liberals are still afraid of her and the bashing will continue until the next election. ACORN will be in full swing with all the stimulus money they're getting!
    I gotta go. Obama's giving another speech and giving away more of my money to people who are living in houses they shouldn't have bought in the first place.

    February 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Qub

    What a loser. I am done making excuses for this hypocritical, under educated "face" of the Republican Party. Go away Palin. I want my Party back! To the person that described the per diem as a "legitimate expenditure" you are a biased fool. It is legit only if the expeses are real and legit. Her living at home was clearly a personal decision. It is called cheating the system..

    February 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. scottmn

    Classic Palin doublespeak. Alaska will run her out of the state on a rail too.

    February 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Roberto

    As anyone with any manangement experience will tell you, you don't pay someone a per diem when they're staying in their own house, eating their own food. If Palin though she could get away with this she is really clueless.

    I will buy her excuse of "I'm a Republican, the rules are different for us"!

    February 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. reggie

    I'm sure Gov. Palin knows that she has to pay her taxes, unlike Obama's new Sec of Treasury and some of his other cabinets nominees who willingly avoided paying taxes.

    February 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. AD

    To Sophia:

    The purpose of Per Diem is to cover any additional expenses that an employee incurs while LIVING AWAY FROM HOME on business trips.

    I think you missed the fact that Gov. Palin was "living at her home in Wasilla." Hence, the per diem is treated as income.

    February 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Ghost

    Garret, are you sure? That doesn't sound right. I believe this was due to her getting the per diem as a travel expense and claiming her kids as well. If what you say is right, then I can see this as a mistake. But I don't think that is the case.

    February 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Texas Observer

    I thought I would never hear this....

    Couple of days ago my friend who was in an argument with his girlfriend told her "You are dumber than Palin". I guess now you could say that Palin has really become a household name

    February 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Oregon

    FINALLY something the GOP is bipartisan on ~

    February 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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