Engel Loses Tax Break on Home

Posted March 15, 2009 at 10:37am

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) is losing a tax break on his home in Potomac, Md., after state tax officials determined late last month the lawmaker’s primary residence is in the Bronx, the Associated Press reported.

Engel and his wife listed the house as their primary residence on Maryland tax forms for at least a decade, according to the AP report, receiving thousands of dollars of tax credits designed for Maryland residents.

To receive the credit, homeowners must live in Maryland at least six months of the year, have a Maryland driver’s license, be registered to vote in Maryland and file Maryland income taxes.

However, Engel is registered to vote in New York and his driver’s license was issued by the Empire State. Engel rents an apartment in New York.

In 2005, Maryland revoked the Engels’ tax credit on the house, although it was later reinstated.

According to the AP report, Maryland subsequently tightened eligibility requirements for the tax break so that at least one spouse of a home-owning couple must meet all the residency requirements.

Claiming the Potomac house as their primary residence was worth nearly $7,000 in credits to Mr. Engel and his wife over the past four years.

Engel staffer Jeremy Tomasulo told the AP that Mr. Engel’s primary residence has always been in the Bronx.

“He will await their determination of his status and will make sure that he is in full compliance with their evaluation,— Tomasulo told the AP.

Engel was re-elected at least five times to represent the Bronx while property tax documents indicated his primary residence was in Potomac. New York and federal laws require that representatives be inhabitants of the state they represent when they are elected.