Kenner is a special kind of political cesspool and frankly it makes the folks in Jefferson Parish’s other major political cesspool aka the City of Gretna look like bush leaguers. I mention this because yesterday the T-P’s Mary Sparacello highlighted a clash between the Citizens for a Better Kenner and the city on whether “car allowances” count as compensation or are merely some form of advance reimbursement as the City Attorney contends. Given my day job profession, I was delighted to see this dispute make the paper because Mayor Yenni and his crony City Attorney could not be more wrong and frankly I hope the IRS shows up to collect the back social security taxes owed on the $90K plus paid by the City annually under the arrangement.
While the tax answer is different if you run a construction company and pay truck allowances which are conceptually considered rent and reported in box 1 of Form 1099, expense advances made under a “non accountable” plan are treated as supplemental compensation and is subject to all the taxes found on a regular paycheck. There is a rumor floating about that City actually has a couple of CPAs on staff that I would hope is familiar with these very basic tax rules but on the off-chance I can do a bit of educating, Circular E aka Pub 15 has all the skinny plus some.
The bottom line here is Walt Bennetti and the CFBK are spot on in their criticisms that Yenni’s car allowance plan is simply an attempt to resurrect portions of the now infamous Aaron Broussard “executive pay plan” which was both illegal and not prosecuted by DA Paul Connick, who is absolutely useless when it comes to prosecuting political corruption.
I could be wrong but I think the IRS pays up to 15% of any recoveries made from tips to its whistle-blower program. This one is ripe for the picking IMHO as it is clear-cut despite the protestations of the City Attorney.