Thursday, October 27, 2005

One-Fifth of Congressional Tax Panel Are Tax Cheats

The Hill reports that as many as one-fifth of the members of Congress who sit on the House Ways & Means Committee, which is responsible for writing our federal tax laws, are tax cheats. That’s right. At least eight members of the 41-member panel erroneously claimed a homestead exemption on their D.C. residences. The homestead exemption, which saved the lawmakers thousands of dollars in property taxes each year, may only be claimed on a taxpayer’s primary residence. Because the lawmakers primary residence is in the home state districts they represent, they cannot claim the exemption for both their district and D.C. residences.

Who are the tax cheats? According to the Hill report, they include: Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), Rep. John Linder (R-GA), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. John Tanner (R-TN) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA). The Hill also reported that as many as a dozen other members of Congress were also likely receiving the tax break unlawfully.

The Hill undertook the investigation of individual lawmakers with D.C. residence after the Washington Post earlier this year disclosed that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove had claimed a homestead exemption for his D.C. home even though he claimed a primary residence in Texas. Also, an earlier report by the Kansas City Star found that at least 22 senators, or more than one-fifth of the Senate, had benefited from claiming the tax deduction on their D.C. residences.


Anonymous said...

Tanner is D-TN.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Duly noted--thanks.