Idaho Rep. Phil Hart’s legal defense claiming special privilege as a lawmaker in a tax dispute with the IRS has been rejected by a federal judge.
The defense was also greeted with skepticism by the Idaho Supreme Court this week in a separate battle over state income taxes.
On Monday, Hart told Idaho Supreme Court justices during oral arguments that his months-late appeal of the State Tax Commission’s October 2009 order to pay $53,000 in income taxes, interest and penalties should be allowed because the deadline overlapped with his service at the state Capitol.
The justices questioned the validity of Hart’s defense, but they have yet to rule.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge rejected the defense and Hart’s motion to dismiss a $550,000 tax struggle with the IRS. Lodge also moved Hart’s trial up to November so it doesn’t interfere with his 2013 legislative duties.
Hart, a Republican representative from Athol, has been fighting federal and state governments for years over income taxes, which he says are unconstitutional. (AP)