Sunday, November 23, 2008

Surprise! More Tax Cheat Woes For Rangel

There comes a point where the guy just has to go. Let's see, we've got the villa in the Dominican, the four rent-controlled apartments, the unregistered Cadillac in DC, and now some "homestead" tax break in DC. Oh, but Nancy Pelosi finds nothing wrong with any of this and apparently nobody cares that we have a tax dodger writing our tax code.

Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel took a "homestead" tax break on a Washington, DC, house for years while simultaneously occupying multiple rent-stabilized apartments in New York City, possibly violating laws and regulations in both cases.

The situation raises a number of potential problems for the congressman, including:

* New York City law requires that tenants use rent-stabilized apartments as their primary residence.

* DC's real Property Homestead Deduction Act also requires that a property receiving the benefit be a primary residence.

* Tax lawyers told The Post that a property owner cannot have two primary residences - or take advantages provided to primary residences at two different addresses simultaneously.

* DC's law also requires that the owner of a property benefiting from the tax break be a personal-income taxpayer in DC. District law exempts members of Congress from paying personal DC income tax, but they must pay property tax.

The DC rules state that "by maintaining a residence in his home state and actively voting there, [a member of Congress] is demonstrating that he continues to be a part of the body politic of his home state . . . The Member is a domiciliary of his home state. Because he is not domiciled in the District, the Member cannot claim the District's homestead deduction."

Said Natasha Altamirano, a spokeswoman for the National Taxpayers Union, "If a member of Congress maintains his or her principal residence in the state they represent, they would not qualify for the homestead exemption."

Meanwhile, the New York City Rent Stabilization Code states that its rules do not apply to "housing accommodations which are not occupied by the tenant . . . as his or her primary residence."

Dov Treiman, a Manhattan real-estate attorney, said, "If the [rent-stabilized] apartment in New York is not your primary residence, the landlord has the right to bring a court proceeding to have you evicted."
Commence with the eviction proceedings forthwith.

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