August 22, 2019

Border dispute becomes tax claim> Naval yard worker files as N.H. resident

KITTERY — While Maine and New Hampshire struggle over the politics of interstate taxation, the federal government isn’t waiting and has begun attaching a New Hampshire man’s salary.

When Paul Parent receives his Portsmouth Naval Shipyard paycheck Thursday, he expects it will be significantly less than usual.

Parent, of Sanbornville, N.H., is a 23-year veteran of the yard and general foreman in the riggers shop.

He is one of a small group of New Hampshire workers who have refused to pay the Maine state income tax because they believe the shipyard is in New Hampshire, rather than in Maine.

New Hampshire has no general income tax.

Parent has refused to pay the Maine tax for six years, choosing instead to file an exemption, under which he contends he works in New Hampshire, not Maine.

That position has been challenged by Maine tax officials who insist Seavey Island, on which the yard is located, is in Maine and he owes the tax.

As a result of the disagreement, on Jan. 21 Parent received a certified letter from the Defense Department’s Finance and Accounting Service, based in Cleveland, Ohio, saying he owes $3,013.57.

Parent says he actually owes more than $10,000 for failing to pay the tax since 1992.

Maine has asked the Navy to begin garnishing a portion of his wages. Parent, who takes home $715 after taxes every two weeks, will see that amount shrink to $285 biweekly. Should he work overtime, Parent said, all of that money also would be taken.

“They’re doing something wrong to a resident of New Hampshire. If they go through with this, I could go bankrupt. It will certainly cause stress in my family and it will devastate me completely, in terms of finances,” said Parent.

“I have no way to pay the bills. I may have to apply for welfare.”

Parent said he may file a civil lawsuit.

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