Gov. Chris Christie failed to report as income or pay taxes on $380,000 in expense allowances he received from the state, according to a New Jersey Watchdog examination of Treasury data and the governor’s tax returns.
By not declaring the allowances on their joint returns, Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, avoided roughly $152,000 in federal income taxes over four years.
Despite an exchange of emails, Christie’s press office did not offer comment.
In addition to his $175,000 a year salary, Christie gets a $95,000 a year expense account. In the state budget, it’s described as an “allowance to the governor of funds not otherwise appropriated, for official reception on behalf of the state, operations of an official residence, and other expenses.”
The governor is not required to provide receipts, refund surpluses or provide information to the state on how the money is used. But failure to report a “non-accountable” allowance to the Internal Revenue Service is a different matter.
Contrary to IRS rules, Christie did not declare the allowances as income on federal returns for 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. The 2014 return is due Wednesday, but Christie typically receives six-month filing extensions.
The allowance is a New Jersey tradition that began in the mid-1970s. The original purpose was to provide funds to the state’s chief executive to run the governor’s mansion, now at Drumthwacket in Princeton, and hold official events there.