Saturday, March 21, 2009
Bi-coastal Tax Chutzpah: CA & NY Congressmen Say They Live in Maryland to Claim Property Tax Break on Million Dollar Vacation Homes
In yet another amazing case of tax chutzpah: California congressman Pete Stark has improperly claimed a Maryland lakefront home (assessed at $1.7 million) as his primary residence in order to qualify for a special real estate tax break:
A senior member of the House's tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Stark said he was unaware that he might not be eligible for the tax break. Asked whether it was questionable for him to receive it, he said, "I guess it is."
To qualify, a property must be the owner's principal residence: He or she must live there at least six months of the year, use the address for voter registration and driver's license purposes, and file Maryland income taxes. Stark is registered to vote at his wife's parents' address in San Lorenzo and has a California driver's license.
Earlier this month, Congressmen Eliot Engel, a lifelong resident of the Bronx, was outed for claiming the Maryland real estate tax break on his Maryland home (formerly owned by ABC's Ted Koppel and Wonder Woman Lynda Carter) assessed at $938,000.
Tom Daschle claimed a similar homestead exemption for his $1.9 million Washington, D.C. home while he represented South Dakota as Senate Minority Leader, and this was an issue in his losing 2004 re-election campaign.