Tax Appeal Board: Rep. Hart Failed to File for Delay in Appropriate Time

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Earlier this summer, a special House Ethics Committee voted to clear Athol Republican Rep. Phil Hart of a conflict-of-interest charge in connection with his failure to pay state and federal income taxes. But it appears Hart's more difficult days are still ahead.

The State Board of Tax Appeals has ruled against Hart in his appeal to delay paying back taxes, saying his appeal was not filed in a timely manner.

Idaho's Constitution allows some leeway to lawmakers during legislative sessions or 10 days before they begin. Trouble is, Hart's appeal wasn't filed until March 31, 2010, after this year's legislative session had adjourned.

The Board wrote, "we find the appeal untimely."

The ethics committee delayed any decision on a charge of abuse of legislative privilege, pending the board's ruling. The committee is now expected to reconvene and consider the accusation.