Congressman Rahall Gets Caught Double Dipping
by Tax Rascal
The Tax Rascal may hate taxes, but we also believe that the law is the law, and that lawmakers specifically should obey the rules they expect the rest of us to follow. Of course, not everyone believes the same as we do.
Take Congressman Nick J. Rahall II for example. The congressman owns a house in his home state of West Virginia (in the district he represents) and like many members of Congress, owns property in Washington, D.C. as well.
Now D.C. has something called a homestead tax deduction, which basically means tax payers who own property in the city and actually live in that property as their primary residence (versus renting it out or running a business, etc.) are entitled to pay less property taxes than people who own property but don’t live there (we can debate the merits of this scheme some other time).
Apparently 107 members of Congress actually own property in Washington, D.C. Presumably all members of Congress- not just those who purchase property in the city- primarily reside in their districts (it’s sort of required by the Constitution). But Nick Rahall apparently decided he was entitled to D.C.’s homestead tax deduction (which equates to about $573 per year on his $890,000 home), even though his property in D.C. isn’t his primary residence.
Now the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue is demanding $2,338.00 in back property taxes, interest and penalties.
But the story gets better, because not only did Congressman Rahall claim a deduction on his D.C. home, but he also claimed one on his home in West Virginia! So basically he was telling D.C. tax collectors he primarily lives in D.C., and he was telling West Virginia tax collectors he primarily lives in West Virginia, all the while paying as little taxes as possible!
According to the congressman’s website, “I firmly believe that a key to unlocking the economic promise and potential of southern West Virginia lies in the ‘Three T’s’ – transportation, technology, and tourism.”
The congressman may not be honest when it comes to actually paying his taxes, but at least he doesn’t claim to believe in the 4th “T”!