Fair. Balanced. American.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Harold Ford never paid taxes in New York

And the taxes, given his multimillion dollar banking job, would have been considerable.
Ford claims to have moved to New York three years ago, and says paying "New York taxes" makes him a New Yorker. But his spokeswoman confirms to Gawker that he's never filed a New York tax return — meaning that he's never paid New York's income tax, despite keeping an office and a residence in New York City as a vice chairman of Merrill Lynch since 2007: "He pays New York taxes and will file a New York tax return in April for the first time," Ford's spokeswoman Tammy Sun told Gawker. "He will file all necessary personal disclosure and tax forms that candidates are required to file if he chooses to run." (According to Sun, Ford admitted to the tax dodge yesterday at a press availability in Albany, but we can't find any news accounts mentioning the remarks.)

Ford presumably decided that his real home was Tennessee, which conveniently has no income tax. Which means that, despite the fact that New York law requires part-time and nonresidents to pay income tax on money they earn in the state, Ford has shielded his entire Merrill Lynch salary from New York's tax collectors for the past three years. In fact, it seems like Tennessee's lack of an income tax may be the best explanation for Ford's rather complicated two-state life since 2007 — he clearly wanted to live in New York, and married a woman in 2008 who did live in New York. But he made sure to keep a foot in a state whose tax code is friendly to rich guys like himself.

When Merrill Lynch announced Ford's hiring in 2007, it said he would be keeping offices in Nashville and New York City. Ford has said that he's basically lived in New York since then, though he never technically lived here until last year since he didn't "spend the requisite number of days" staying at his wife Emily Ford's breathtakingly yellow apartment in the Flatiron district. ("Moved is such a legal term," he told the New York Times). Ford was clearly thinking of New York's 184-day rule, which requires that part-time residents who spend 184 or more days living in the state pay New York taxes on all their income.


ChrisDJackson said...

Harold Ford is really getting under the skin of haters, the Gillibrand supporters and some bloggers if they are now stooping to attacking him for paying taxes. He follows and gladly pays his taxes - federal, state and local. Accusations that he shielded income are stupid, ludicrous and desperate on the part of political adversaries.

For his first 2 years out of Congress, Ford maintained a Merrill office and taught at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, while maintaining his official residence in Tennessee. In early 2009, after being married for 8 months (and the 2008 election), he and his wife decided to make New York their official home. He has always followed federal and state tax laws meticulously. He remains a private citizen, but if he decides to run for Senate, I'm confident he will comply with all candidate financial disclosures. Period.

Sini said...

It's a thankless and tedious job, having to cut and paste a message like this on every liberal blog in the country, but that's why interns at Merrill Lynch get the big bucks.

omen said...

gawker pointed to a local tenn. paper who questioned ford's moonie ties. one of the commentators to the article snarked "junior" was forced to run for office in new york because marrying a white woman rendered him politically unviable in tennessee.

Sini said...

Fact ain't snark!