Politics & Government

Gov. Haley, first gentleman’s income falls, tax returns show


South Carolina’s first family reported a total income of $170,661 last year – about $20,000 less than they reported in 2014 and $100,000 shy of their 2013 income.

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S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and first gentleman Michael Haley reported lower income largely due to the absence of book royalties, paid Gov. Nikki Haley in 2012, lower income from their real-estate investments and lower earnings by first gentleman Michael Haley.

Two years of tax returns for Gov. Haley and her husband, released to reporters Friday, show the couple paid federal and state taxes of $31,661 in 2014 and $25,882 in 2015 – making their combined effective state and federal tax rate 16.5 percent in 2014 and 15 percent in 2015.

The couple’s 2015 income included $144,578 in wages and salaries, $19,166 from an investment and $6,917 in tax refunds or credits. In 2014, the couple’s $191,581 income included $164,593 in earnings, $19,189 from the investment and $7,799 in tax refunds or credits.

The investment income is interest earned from a real estate loan the couple made to the governor’s father.

The governor reported about $94,000 in taxable annual income for her job as the state’s chief executive in 2014 and 2015.

However, Michael Haley’s income fell to $51,039 in 2015 from $70,695 in 2014 after he left his full-time job in mid-2015 with the S.C. National Guard. He remains active in the Guard as a part-time soldier.

The couple had itemized deductions of $52,221 in 2014 and $45,182 in 2015, helping reduce their taxable earnings.

The couple’s reported earnings in 2014 and 2015 both fell short of the $284,556 in income the couple reported in 2013.

That year, their income was boosted by more than $100,000 the governor was paid for her 2012 memoir, “Can’t is Not an Option” and about $70,500 from real estate investments, including the loan to Haley’s father and another to a California doctor.

The payment for the book was the last installment of a $500,000 book advance – earnings that had been a boon to the couple’s finances and their charitable donations.

In 2013, the couple donated 44 percent of their taxable income – $126,000 – to charity after Haley pledged to give away her book profits.

In 2014 and 2015, the Haleys donated $6,130, or less than 2 percent of their income, to charity.

The donations included $3,600 to their church, Mount Horeb United Methodist in Lexington, $1,230 to the Palmetto Health Foundation and donations to the Special Olympics, First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, the ALS Association and Innersole, a charity started by University of South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley.

S.C. First Family earnings

Gov. Nikki Haley and her husband Michael Haley have seen their income decline after earnings from her 2012 memoir and real estate investments dropped off and the first gentleman left his full-time position with the S.C. National Guard. A look at their earnings:


Total income: $170,661, including $19,166 in investment income from a loan to Gov. Haley’s father

Charitable giving: $2,500


Total income: $191,581, including $19,189 in investment income from the loan

Charitable giving: $3,630


Taxable income: $284,556. The couple’s actual income was higher, but how much is unknown. Michael Haley’s salary while he deployed to Afghanistan for most of 2013 was tax-free.

Charitable giving: $126,000