Reader and former Foley & Lardner tax partner David Lott was impressed by the low effective federal income tax rate revealed in the tax information released by Teresa Heinz this past Friday. He noticed that her state of residence had been redacted from the information and ascertained that it was Pennsylvania, a state with a far lower income tax rate than Massachusetts. He performed some online research and discovered this September 9, 1999 AP story on the subject:
She may be his biggest supporter, but Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s wife Teresa Heinz can’t vote for him, despite owning a $3 million home in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Heinz, the ketchup conglomerate heiress, has kept her legal residence in Pennsylvania, meaning she can’t vote for her husband.
It also means she hasn’t paid income tax in Massachusetts since marrying Kerry four years ago, according to Department of Revenue records.
Instead, Heinz pays taxes in her legal residence of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has one of the lowest tax rates in the country – 2.8 percent – less than half of Massachusetts’s 5.95 percent.
Kerry files taxes separately from Heinz in Massachusetts, he said.
Kerry said Heinz’s move to keep Pennsylvania residency is not due to Massachusetts’ tax rate, but rather because it would be too complicated to move her corporate and philanthropic dealings to the state.
“All her operations are based in Pittsburgh, all the foundations, it’s just too complicated legally (to move),” Kerry told the Boston Herald.
Heinz’s decision comes with another catch – she’s legally prohibited from spending more than 182 days in Massachusetts each year.
That’s not a problem for the couple’s marriage, Kerry said.
“It doesn’t constrain it in the least, ever,” he said. “Five days a week, four days a week, we’re down in Washington.”
Mr. Lott writes: “To me, the issue is hypocrisy.” Mr. Lott adds: