Share

Opinion

Wendy Davis campaign tries, fails to deflect tax criticism

By |
Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Taxes,Texas,Campaigns,Ashe Schow,Wendy Davis,Greg Abbott

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis has tried to deflect criticism of a tax penalty she was hit with on her 2013 taxes, but ended up digging herself deeper.

On Tuesday, Davis released her full 2013 tax return after telling reporters a few days earlier not to share the document or publish it in its entirety. The campaign of her opponent, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, immediately pounced on the fact that Davis was subjected to a $1,246 penalty for not paying her taxes on time.

Responding to criticism, Davis said Abbott “got his facts wrong” about the penalty.

“For many years I have filed an extension on my taxes, like many Texans, many Americans do,” Davis said, as quoted by the Texas Tribune. “This was keeping with common practice for me. Once again Greg Abbott is mischaracterizing the facts about that fee. I paid a fee, which is the difference between my estimated quarterly tax payments and my actual annual revenues earned.”

But the issue was that Davis did not settle an underpayment of taxes before April 15, 2014.

Tribune reporter Bobby Blanchard noted that Davis’ tax return doesn’t match her story line.

“On her tax return, however, Davis left blank the line for estimated tax payments made during the year, indicating she paid none throughout the year,” Blanchard wrote. “A spokesman for the Davis campaign confirmed this is how she normally handles her tax return.”

But Davis has previously filled in that line.

Davis has in the past paid smaller penalties for underpaying her estimated taxes — in 2010 she owed $16 and in 2012 she owed $654.

Davis' income has fluctuated over the past several years as income from her law practice declined but her earnings were boosted by a sizable book deal.

Ryan Ellis, director of tax policy at Americans for Tax Reform, said the discrepancy in Davis’ filings might have been the result of bad tax advice or ignoring good tax advice.

“Her wages plummeted, and so did her withheld income tax,” Ellis told the Washington Examiner in an email. “Meanwhile, she got a boatload of money from the book, which has no withholding. And she apparently made no estimated payments to square the circle.”

Ellis also noted that Davis’ penaltyis not uncommon for U.S. taxpayers.

The Davis campaign did not respond to phone or email requests from the Examiner seeking comment.

View article comments Leave a comment

More from washingtonexaminer.com