Saturday, February 12, 2011
[U]nder the Internal Revenue Code, members who sleep in their offices are receiving a taxable benefit. The IRS treats lodging as a taxable fringe benefit unless it is offered on the employer's business premises, is for the employer's convenience, and is required as a condition of employment. As living in a House office clearly is not a condition of serving in Congress, members must pay taxes for imputed income based on the fair market value of their lodging.
Notably, members of Congress and congressional staff already have imputed taxable income based on the fair market value of their reserved parking spaces. If members must pay taxes to lodge their cars, surely they must pay taxes for their own lodging.
"Americans expect members of Congress to follow the tax laws just like everyone else. If legislators are going to treat their offices as dorm rooms, at the very least they should pay the appropriate taxes."
- ABC News, "The Capitol Is Not a Frat House": CREW Wants Investigation Into Lawmakers Sleeping In Offices
- Associated Press, Ethics Watchdog Targets Congressional Sleepovers
- Mother Jones, U.S. House of Frat
- The Daily Caller, CREW to Congressmen: Get a Room!
- The Examiner, Congressmen Turn Hill Into Frat House at Night -- Sleeping in Offices Under Fire
- The Hill, Watchdog Wants Ethics Probe of Members Who Sleep....in Their Offices
- Time, OK, Kids, Time to Stop the Sleepovers (You're Getting to the Age Where It's Creepy)
- Wall Street Journal, Watchdog Sounds Alarm on Lawmakers Who Sleep in Offices
(Hat Tip: Mary O'Keeffe.)
Update: The Tax Consequences of Congressional Sleepovers (Feb. 14, 2010)