US Senator John Kerry, caught in a media storm over whether he dodged taxes on a yacht he commissioned from New Zealand, said he had written a check to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue for about US$500,000.
“I said to people, on day one, ‘We will pay all taxes, all taxes, there’s no issue here,'” he told the Boston Globe, adding that he would deliver the check to his state’s revenue office “whether owed or not.”
The story over Kerry’s tax woes broke last week after it was revealed that he was keeping the yacht in Rhode Island, where there is no sales tax on boats, rather than in neighboring Massachusetts, the state Kerry represents in Congress. In Massachusetts, nicknamed “Tax-achusetts” by many residents, the tax on his 76ft Kiwi-built-yacht named Isabel would amount to about US$500,000.
Kerry said that he has not yet legally taken possession of the yacht, so technically he did not owe any money on it. “But politically, and in terms of the perception, that is something that came at us unexpectedly, before I had gotten to the point of doing what we needed to do,” he told the paper.
Kerry said he and his wife, who inherited a fortune from the Heinz Corporation, have been stunned by the controversy surrounding the tax. “As I sit here, we have fully paid the tax,” he said. “It is in the hands of the Commonwealth, the proper forms are filed. It’s done.”