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D.C. Clarifies Blunt’s Property Tax Obligation

The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue will charge Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and his spouse $6,820 in back property taxes for their Georgetown home, following a nearly two-month review of the property’s tax status.

The Missouri lawmaker and his wife, Abigail Perlman Blunt, own a three-bedroom Georgetown home, valued at $1.62 million in tax assessment records.

According to public tax records, the Blunts’ home had received the homestead tax deduction as recently as April, a benefit intended for full-time city residents that can shave hundreds of dollars off annual tax bills — and significantly more in the long term by limiting assessment increases.

Public records show that the city has recalculated taxes dating to 2004. The city does not list interest or penalties on the unpaid taxes.

“At the request of the property owner the homestead benefit has been removed, and a tax bill itemizing the deduction reversals has been mailed,” Natalie Wilson, a spokeswoman for the D.C. tax office, said Thursday.

The Missouri lawmaker blamed the home’s tax status on District officials, stating that he and his wife had sought to remove their homestead status in 2004, after Abigail Perlman Blunt became a Missouri resident.

“After five years of repeated requests, the D.C. government finally updated their records to accurately reflect the Blunts’ tax status,” Blunt spokesman Nick Simpson said Thursday.

According to Blunt’s office, the D.C. tax office has billed the couple $6,820. Public records date only to 2005 and show a balance of $5,600.

The D.C. tax office began its review of Blunt’s status in April, after the Kansas City Star reported the House lawmaker’s D.C. home was receiving a tax break.

Under the District’s homestead program, a taxpayer who owns a home in the city and uses it as the principal residence receives a reduction of $67,500 on its assessed value, or a savings of $573.75 off the 2009 tax bill.

In addition, properties that qualify for the homestead deduction are protected from considerable jumps in assessed value. The District caps those increases at 10 percent above the previous year’s tax assessment. Individuals who do not qualify for the homestead program are taxed on the full value of the home.

Although Blunt’s office provided tax records dated March 23 showing the Georgetown home was not receiving the homestead benefit in the first half of the 2009 tax year, newly charged back taxes indicate the home was not assessed at its full value.

The Blunts’ home had been taxed at $1.55 million in the first half of the 2009 tax year, slightly below its full assessment value. Records indicate the Blunts must pay an additional $314 for that period and that the home has now been taxed at its full $1.62 million value.

Under D.C. property tax laws, spouses of Members are eligible to claim the homestead deduction, even if the property is co-owned by the lawmaker. The District requires that the spouse claiming the deduction be registered to vote in the District to qualify for the tax benefit.

But a Blunt spokesman has repeatedly noted the Missourian did not seek to take advantage of that loophole, noting that Abigail Perlman Blunt changed her voter registration to Missouri shortly after the couple’s 2003 nuptials.

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