The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 9, 2010
From the notebook: State vehicle home storage permits

Today, the IRS begins an 18-month-long audit of state government's 2008 vehicle home storage permits. As we reported in this blog post and in today's Bee, the feds want to know if state employees have driven state cars and trucks for personal use without reporting it. If so, they could be liable to pay back taxes for the perk -- and the state could be on the hook, too.

Some pertinent links:

A May 2009 memo to departments from Kathy Hicks, who at the time was chief of the Office of Fleet and Asset Management, requesting annual vehicle home storage permit counts from departments.

A vehicle home storage request/permit form, which includes codes governing state vehicle use. Check out page 2, which lays out the penalties for misusing state cars and trucks:

The department, upon its own initiative, may suspend from state service without pay for a period not exceeding 30 days, any officer or employee of this state exempt from civil service for violating this chapter or the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.

And this:

An employee shall be liable to the State for the actual costs to the State attributable to his/her misuse of a state-owned motor vehicle. Where, however, and to the extent that a superior directs the misuse, the superior and not the subordinate shall be liable.

The IRS newsletter from 2002 that lays out the conditions under which vehicles can be excluded from consideration as taxable income. Scroll down to pages 9 through 11.

To look at business vehicles from the employer's side of the tax code, click here to open Publication 15 "Employer's Tax Guide." Scroll down to "Accountable plan," and read through "non-accountable plan."

And finally, in case that's not enough, read, "Vehicle Provided by Your Employer" "Reimbursements" "Accountable Plans" and "Nonaccountable Plans" in Chapter 6 of Publication 463, "Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses," by clicking this link.


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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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