ST. PAUL (AP) -- State tax collectors are paying extra attention to the returns of Minnesota police officers after two former Minneapolis officers and at least four current members of the force claimed they didn't owe state taxes.
The officers in question said they either incorporated themselves in a way that doesn't require payment of individual taxes or they "expatriated" themselves as citizens of the United States to gain non-taxpayer status.
The state hasn't bought the arguments and is in various stages of collecting back taxes and related penalties and interest for 2000 and 2001 from the group. They also could face fines for filing frivolous returns or for not filing.
As a result, the state has decided to keep an eye on returns from police throughout the state this year, looking for signs of a more-widespread tax protest.
"This is a first," said Jerry McClure, director of the state Department of Revenue's individual income tax division. "Here we have people on the public payroll during a time of budget crisis pulling this kind of scam, saying they have no income when, in fact, they were paid wages."
The state has filed tax liens against former Minneapolis police officers Douglas Leiter, for $10,597, and Travis Koenig, for $6,900.
McClure said he could not disclose the names of the current officers caught up in the investigation because liens have not yet been filed against them.
In January, a Hennepin County district judge ruled in favor of the state, which was garnishing Leiter's wages. Leiter had asked the court to stop the garnishment.
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