Sullivan Allowed to Keep In-State Tax Credits in Maryland

Maryland tax collectors had good news for Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan today, and perhaps bad news for his campaign. Maryland authorities say he doesn’t have to repay about $5,000 in homestead tax credits he received from 2006 to 2008, for a home he owned in Bethesda. Only owners claiming a home as their principal residence are entitled to the credits.

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That bad news for Sullivan, at least politically, is that Maryland authorities announced in an email today they’ve concluded Sullivan and his wife were residents of Maryland at the time. Democrats have for months been making an issue of Sullivan’s Alaska residency.

Zack Fields, a spokesman for the Alaska Democratic Party, said Tuesday that Sullivan hasn’t been straight with Alaskans.

“It’s clear at this point he’s been dishonest on the campaign trail, because his official declaration of candidacy says he’s a 17-year resident of Alaska, and he and his spokesman have said that he’s been a resident of Alaska since 1997.”

The Sullivan campaign issued a written statement saying, among other things, that a person can be a resident for tax purposes while remaining a citizen of another state. Campaign spokesman Mike Anderson says the Sullivans lived in Maryland temporarily while Dan Sullivan worked at the White House and the State Department but they always intended to return to Alaska.

Maryland authorities started looking into Sullivan’s tax credits after getting a letter from the chairman of the Alaska Democratic Party. Maryland taxation director Robert Young said in an email today the conclusion the credits were properly granted relied on “confidential information that may not be publicly disclosed under Maryland law.” In a previous interview, Young said they give a good deal of weight to the address the homeowners list on their federal tax return, along with other documents.

Sullivan’s opponent, Sen. Mark Begich, pays taxes to the District of Columbia for a house he owns on Capitol Hill, as does Alaska’s senior senator, Lisa Murkowski. Neither of them, according to property tax records, claim the homestead credit D.C. grants to its residents.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at

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