BUSINESS
07/10/2014 01:58 pm ET | Updated Jul 10, 2014

Wealthy Senate Candidate Paid Very Low Tax Rate

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Michigan GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land paid less than three percent of her income over the past two years in federal taxes, due primarily to heavy charitable deductions.

According to the Detroit News, Land's income in 2012 was $44,726 and she paid $1,196 in taxes, for a tax rate of nearly 2.7 percent. In 2013, her income was $89,729 and she paid $1,999 in taxes, a rate of around 2.2 percent.

Although Land is married, she filed her taxes separately from her husband Daniel Hibma, who works for her family's real estate firm, Land & Co. Filing separately is an unusual move that distances Land from the wealth of her family.

Land's modest annual income masks a $32.8 million net worth, making her one of the wealthiest Senate candidates in the 2014 cycle. She has contributed $2.9 million of her own money to her own Senate campaign. Land & Co. has also generated controversy in Michigan for evicting residents from a trailer park to make room for an as-yet unbuilt real estate development, according to the Detroit News.

The headline tax rate for someone with Land’s income profile was around 16.1 percent in 2012 and around 21 percent in 2013, but individuals can reduce this rate using a host of deductions, and Land appears to have given heavily in both years.

According to campaign spokesperson Heather Swift, Land donated approximately $53,000 to charity in 2013, but claimed a charitable deduction of $44,865 due to IRS limits.

"Only a Washington insider like [Democratic opponent] Gary Peters would attack a woman for giving to charity," Swift said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "Terri is proud to support a variety of charities that provide invaluable services to women, children, and families in need. It is even more astounding that Gary Peters took a controversial tax break for himself simply for being a politician, yet has the lack of self-awareness to attack a woman for giving to these important charities."

Swift was referring to a tax deduction that members of the Michigan legislature could receive if they lived more than 50 miles from the state capitol of Lansing. Peters, now a U.S. Congressman, served in the Michigan Senate from 1995 to 2002.

HuffPost Pollster has Land trailing Peters ahead of the November general election:

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Land as this cycle's wealthiest candidate.

This story has been updated to include comment from Land's campaign.

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