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Sarah Palin’s Tax Return

On Oct. 3, the McCain campaign released federal tax returns filed jointly by Todd and Sarah Palin for 2006 and 2007. Although Gov. Palin’s salary raised the couple’s adjusted gross income last year to $166,000—a big jump from the $128,000 the two declared in the previous tax year—the Palins’ charitable contributions dropped from $4,880 to $3,325. The 2007 return (excerpted below and on the following six pages) shows that $825, or nearly one-quarter of the Alaskan first couple’s largesse, consisted of second-hand items donated on New Year’s Eve to the Wasilla Salvation Army (Page 5). The family also declared $3,308 in income from the oil revenue-financed   Alaska Permanent Fund (see below). For 2008, Gov. Palin has asked the legislature to increase this universal dividend, paid to all Alaska citizens, by $1,200.

The tax return does not include the per diem travel payments Gov. Palin received for being away from her duty station in Juneau, the state capital, to work out of a state office in Anchorage. Tax experts contend the reimbursements for living expenses (at her home in Wasilla) are taxable, but the campaign disagrees

Perhaps to accommodate the seasonal pressures of Todd’s snow-machine-racing business (Page 4)—which, despite $17,000 in prize income, had a $9,000 loss last year—the couple applied for and received a filing extension in both 2006 and 2007 (Page 7). They had not yet filed when John McCain invited Gov. Palin onto the presidential ticket on Aug. 30. * Soon after, however, the Palins met with their tax preparer, H&R Block (Page 6), and filed on Sept. 3. The Palins declined to check a box to donate $3 to the presidential election campaign (below).

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Correction, Oct. 6: This article previously said the Palins had filed after the extended tax deadline. In fact, they had until Oct. 15, and their returns were filed within the alloted time period. (Return to the corrected sentence.)