Heard on the Hill

Brad Sherman to Howard Berman: Show Me Yours

Rep. Brad Sherman (above) has released his 2011 tax returns and is urging his primary opponent, Rep. Howard Berman, to do the same. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The confluence of Tax Day and redistricting has prompted Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) to bare all for his potential constituents: He’s published his 2011 tax returns.

An aide to Sherman, a non-practicing tax attorney and certified public accountant, asserted that the Congressman took the fiscal leap of faith in the name of transparency and accountability. Oh yeah, and then there’s that whole facing off against former neighbor Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) for their newly redrawn seat this fall.

“I challenge Howard Berman to join me in releasing his tax return,” Sherman broadcast in a corresponding news release.

Potential embarrassment aside, the Sherman aide tossed out a laundry list of reasons for all parties involved to come clean about their finances, including a “60 Minutes” expose on Congressional insider trading, ongoing House Ethics Committee investigations, the Senate showdown over the Obama-endorsed “Buffett Rule” and general tax fairness.

“As a CPA myself, I know the only way for voters to really get a true picture of what an elected official pays in taxes — and if they’re paying their fair share — is to see the official’s full tax return, signed, and in black-and-white,” Sherman decreed in his release.

Berman’s office did not reply to inquiries regarding the potential publication of his 2011 tax filings.

Luckily, we had Sherman’s form 1040 open while we waited.

According to Sherman’s 2011 tax return, he and his wife, Lisa, forked over 28 percent of their $235,742 in adjusted gross income to the feds. By comparison, the Obamas coughed up 20.5 percent of their 2011 take while Mitt Romney kicked back approximately 15.4 percent of his annual haul.

Other eye-catchers: The Shermans were entitled to a $12,252 refund, pocketed $25,000 in dividend income from various investments and donated roughly $20,000 to charity. The couple both checked the box for $3 of their taxes to go to the presidential campaign fund, which both Romney and President Barack Obama are likely to skip.

Perhaps the most telling submission, however, may be line 22 of the itemized deductions. That’s where the one-time number cruncher admits to spending $1,700 on tax preparation fees.

Itching to comb through Sherman's financials for yourself? Get your forensic accountant on here and here.