Gov. Haley pays taxes on time

Governor Nikki Haley

Brett Flashnick

COLUMBIA -- Gov. Nikki Haley did something she's not always done in the past: paid her taxes on time.

Haley paid her 2010 taxes April 13 along with a $21 penalty for not withholding enough income taxes to her cover the combined $156,368 income that she and her husband, Michael, earned last year. They owed the IRS $2,813.

The Republican governor voluntarily made her 2010 tax returns available to the press Friday for review in her office, but she did not personally speak with reporters about the returns.

Haley, who has a degree in accounting, has repeatedly paid her taxes late. A review by The Associated Press last fall of the now-first family's returns, dating back to 2004, showed she twice filed more than 14 months late. Haley's parents' business, for which the governor had at one time kept the books, was fined three times since 2003 for paying taxes at least 19 months late. The clothing store failed to pay corporate income taxes and turn over taxes withheld from employee checks, resulting in a fine of nearly $4,000.

Haley earned $87,583 from her job at the Lexington Medical Center and the state Legislature. Her job as a House member from Lexington paid $21,009. Her work as a fundraiser for the hospital paid $66,574, including $27,200 in severance pay and $8,000 unused vacation time she received when she left the $110,000-a-year-job in April 2010.

Michael Haley earned $62,151 for his job as a full-time federal technician with the South Carolina National Guard and $6,634 for his service as an officer in the Army National Guard.

The family underpaid their income taxes by $883, because they did not have enough withheld from their checks to cover the taxes. They paid $16,760 in home mortgage interest and points, wrote off $1,154 in uniforms and protective clothing and $1,309 in student loan interests and earned a deduction for the $4,800 they paid for childcare. They also reported $1,375 in charitable donations, but the governor's office did not immediately provide specifics about what causes the Haleys contributed to.

The Haleys paid a Columbia-based accountant $300 to prepare their taxes.

While on the campaign trail, the governor dismissed criticism over her late payments. She said she was always in compliance by staying in communication with Internal Revenue Service and the state Department of Revenue and paid interest and late penalties.

"This is political silliness," Haley, now 39, said in October. "Let's look at the facts. The fact is that Michael and I, we were in our young 30s. We went through an income cycle of him joining the military, me starting to serve in the House and him closing a business. We saw incomes ups and downs.

"We filed extensions. When we filed extensions, we had to pay penalties and we had to pay interest, and we did that.

Reach Yvonne Wenger at 803-926-7855, follow her at @yvonnewenger and read her Political Briefings blog.