Local Politics

Wednesday, May 28 2014 05:28 PM

State: GOP political firm owes more than $46,000 in taxes

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Political consultant Mark Abernathy in a 2010 photo

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BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

The delinquent corporate taxes owed by Western Pacific Research, the Republican political consultancy firm owned by Mark and Cathy Abernathy, are far larger than was first reported by The Californian Wednesday.

On Tuesday the California Franchise Tax Board said the Abernathys owed $7,066.18. But an agency spokesman called the newspaper Wednesday afternoon to say it had erred and Western Pacific Research actually owes $46,414 in California state corporate taxes.

Western Pacific Research has had its corporate status suspended until those taxes are paid. That means, among other things, that any contracts it enters into during the suspension are null and void, officials have said. If a client fails to pay for services, the company couldn't sue to recoup the money.

Repeating what he said Tuesday, Mark Abernathy denied Wednesday that his corporation owes the taxes.

"The taxes are all paid, Western Pacific Research owes no taxes. (Franchise Tax Board) has just proven they don't have accurate information," Abernathy stated in an email.

Denise Azimi of the Franchise Tax Board said, in general practice, a business receives several notices that it has not paid state taxes before a corporate status is suspended.

If the tax amount is then disputed, a process of review and appeal is begun that can eventually end with review by the Board of Equalization.

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