Friday, September 05, 2008

Alaska 2008 Permanent Fund Dividend To Be A Record $2,069; Combined With The $1,200 Resource Rebate, That's $3,269 Per Alaskan

Alaskans who filed for a 2008 Permanent Fund divident (PFD) will become $3,269 richer this year, according to the official announcement from the Permanent Fund Division on September 5th, 2008. Media reports from the Anchorage Daily News and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

The amount not only includes the standard $2,069 PFD, but also the one-time resource rebate of $1,200 to be appended to each PFD check. Each qualifying Alaskan who files an application gets a dividend; parents file applications on behalf of their kids. The latter payment continues to generate some complaint, primarily from those who did not file for a PFD because they did not meet longevity requirements. They claim they have just as much need for energy assistance as those who did file for the PFD. Appending the resource rebate to the PFD was chosen because it was considered the simplest form of distribution, requiring no separate bureaucracy.

The $2,069 PFD is the largest annual payout in this history of the Fund since its initiation in 1982. Those who chose direct deposit will get their PFDs beginning on September 12th, while those who chose "snail mail" will start getting their checks during the week of September 30th. Distribution normally begins in October and November most years, but Governor Sarah Palin wanted to accelerate the process so that people could budget for their energy needs earlier this year. Both the PFD and the resource rebate are subject to Federal taxation; Alaskans must use the IRS Form 1040 to reflect this because neither the 1040A nor the 1040EZ contains a provision to report the PFD as income.

The Department of Revenue provides an overview of its calculations HERE. Click HERE to visit the Department of Revenue site for more information on the dividend. Click HERE to visit the separate Permanent Fund Corporation website.

Here's an interesting question to ponder. If Sarah Palin becomes Vice-President of the United States, and takes up residence in Washington DC as a result, could she and her family remain eligible for Permanent Fund Dividends? The ground rules don't exclude the possibility:

It varies depending on why you are absent. If you are absent for a reason specifically allowed by law you could be out of Alaska for the entire qualifying period and still be eligible. If you are absent for more than 180 days for a reason other than one specifically listed in Alaska Statute 43.23.008(a), you will not be eligible for a dividend. If you have not taken any action inconsistent with an intent to return to Alaska to remain indefinitely, absences of 180 days or less allow you to retain eligibility. Regardless of why you are absent, at all times during your absence you must demonstrate intent to remain an Alaska resident indefinitely. In addition, you must return to Alaska for at least 72 consecutive hours every two years and 30 cumulative days every five years to retain your eligibility.

Alaska Statute 43.23.008(a) does not contain a specific exception for an Alaskan serving as President or Vice President of the United States, but paragraph 7 is an exception for members of Congress, paragraph 8 is an exception for staff members of Alaska Congresscritters, and paragraph 14 is a "catch-all" exception. The Congressional exception could provide a precedent for Sarah Palin, or she could be excepted by virtue of paragraph 14.

I personally would not be so petty as to deny members of the Palin family a PFD simply because she was absent by virtue of her service as Vice-President of the United States.

Here is the history of individual PFD payouts:

2007 $1654.00
2006 $1106.96
2005 $845.76
2004 $919.84
2003 $1107.56
2002 $1540.76
2001 $1850.28
2000 $1963.86
1999 $1769.84
1998 $1540.88
1997 $1296.54
1996 $1130.68
1995 $990.30
1994 $983.90
1993 $949.46
1992 $915.84
1991 $931.34
1990 $952.63
1989 $873.16
1988 $826.93
1987 $708.19
1986 $556.26
1985 $404.00
1984 $331.29
1983 $386.15
1982 $1000.00

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