The cabin on Safari Lake, owned by Sarah and Todd Palin with Scott Richter, has been appraised by the Mat-Su Borough at $99,700.
When Mudflats first reported that the Palins had not paid property taxes on the cabin, Sarah Palin's lawyer, Mr Thomas Van Flein, said it is not the owners responsibility to notify the authorities of any changes to the property. The Palins built the very large cabin sometime after 2005, didn't notify the Mat-Su Borough and paid taxes on the land only for a number of years, with buildings appraised at zero value.
The property on Safari Lake appeared on the APOC financial disclosures for the first time in 2005.
In an article from the Mat-Su Frontiersman, dated March 13, 2010, the head of the Mat-Su Borough Division of Assessment reiterated that homeowners do have the responsibility to notify them of changes, contrary to Mr Van Fleins assertion.
In areas off the road system, Dunivan said assessors use a combination of planes, boats and off-road vehicles to spot check properties.
Dunivan said it is the responsibility of the homeowner to notify the borough of any changes to the property. But, he is also realistic.
“Typically, that is not done,” Dunivan said.
When assessors do find out an improvement has been made, Dunivan said owners are not liable for past years when the improvements may not have been included in an assessment.
This is a very nice system, the homeowners are completely off the hook for past taxes and only become liable to pay any tax on new or improved buildings when the assessors decide to have a look around or somebody blows the whistle on somebody else.
Mrs Palin was not ignorant of the rules. After all, she had been mayor of a city in the Mat-Su Borough for a number of years and knew how important it is to raise revenue through property and other taxes. Money raised from taxes pay for services, improvements, sports arenas, you name it. We suspect the cabin was built sometime around 2006/2007, when Sarah Palin was either running for governor or had already been elected.
We all know how Alaska is not very keen on taxes. But they do exist and one would expect the highest government official in the state to set a good example. As Mr Dunivan said, typically people don't inform the authorities about changes to their properties and nothing happens, they get away with it.
Including the quitter governor, ethics champion extraordinaire, honest to the core...
Read all posts by Palingates referring to Sarah's "property taxgate" HERE.
(H/T to Older_Wiser for the tax assessment news)