Sander Levin-D Michigan, the brand spanking new Chairman of the most powerful House Ways and Means Committee, (who took over for the crazy Pete Stark, whose short one day tenure was a replacement for tax-dodging, rules breaking Charlie Rangel) had some property tax issues of his own. Well he had them until Friday when he was contacted by Roll Call and rushed to repay a Maryland property-tax credit Friday that he should not have received.
Levin, who owns a home in Chevy Chase, Md., received a $690 credit on his most recent property tax bill, the result of Montgomery County program that provided one-time credits to residential property owners in the 2009-10 tax year.
Levin, who purchased the home in 1977, received the tax credit although it was intended for only “owner-occupied” properties, and he does not live in the home. The credit reduced his tax bill to just under $9,500.
“This is not a tax credit that Rep. Levin applied for and in an abundance of caution he has paid the full amount to Montgomery County to correct their mistake,” Levin Chief of Staff Hilarie Chambers wrote in an e-mail Friday.
He didn’t know he wasn’t living there? Actually the real interesting part is WHY the county made the mistake.
Chambers said the Michigan lawmaker moved out of the home in September 2008, following the death of his wife. His daughter and her family now occupy the home, and he stays at a Silver Spring condominium owned by his daughter when he is in the Washington, D.C. area.
Levin repaid the credit Friday, Chambers said, after being contacted by Roll Call.
“Since Mr. Levin was not residing in the property for the full year and it is not his ‘principal residence,’ Mr. Levin has written a check of $690 to the County and clarified and confirmed once again to them that the correct classification of the Morgan Drive property is ‘Not a Principal Residence,’” Chambers wrote in an e-mail.
Chambers referred to public records maintained by Montgomery County, which indicate the Chevy Chase home is a principal residence. Property records available from a Maryland state Web site indicate the property is not used as a principal residence.
Montgomery County property tax records dating to 1999 show that Levin’s home has changed classifications — principal or not principal — four times.
Chambers said the property was designated as a principal residence in 2009, after Levin’s attorneys submitted a revised deed to the county.
“It appears that when Mr. Levin’s lawyers submitted a deed to the County in April 9, 2009 that removed Mrs. Levin’s name from the deed and transferred Mrs. Levin’s share into a trust the County mistakenly changed the record on the property to ‘principal’ residence without request from or notification to Mr. Levin,” Chambers wrote.
Well if that was the case why did he apply for and receive homestead tax credits intended for permanent residents of the state at times during the past 10 years.It wasn’t much money and the congressman had previously returned the credits, but it is an indication of how the congressman classified the house.
Pretty strange for the place to be his primary residence, especially when you consider that the house is approximately 530 miles from the office he maintains in his district, a pretty tough drive according to Yahoo maps. Must be real difficult for a Congressman whose primary residence is in Maryland to represent a district in Michigan.
Its hard to believe that all this was a series of mistakes by the county with no input from the Congressman. More likely it is the typical arrogant view of most of the people in Washington Today, that they are somehow above the community.
What is particularly offensive is that this attitude tends to exhibit itself in Congressman selected to head the committee in charge of tax law.