Lautenberg camp disputes tax deduction claim

Frank Lautenberg’s campaign said today that a political blog’s story about the Senator designating his Washington, DC condo as his permanent residence was old news and inaccurate.

The blog claimed that, prior to 2005, Lautenberg had claimed Washington as his primary residence in order to take advantage of the city’s Homestead Tax Rebate, and that he only stopped listing Washington as his “permanent address” in 2005 after reporters started asking questions about the deduction.

But Lautenberg’s campaign today released a letter sent to the Senator in 2005 by the city’s Real Property Tax Administration that took responsibility for the mistake.

“Although you did not apply for the homestead deduction, (the Office of Tax and Revenue) mistakenly applied the deductions to the property when a new system was developed and the data was converted,” wrote Thomas W. Branham, who was then the city’s Real Property Tax Administration’s acting director.

The letter went on to request that Lautenberg cut the city a check for the $691.20 that was mistakenly deducted from his property taxes in 2003, 2004 and part of 2005.

In 2005, the Kansas City Star reported on about two dozen Senators receiving the rebate. In the story, most Senators, including Lautenberg, said they had never applied to receive the rebate. A follow-up story by the Washington Post said that the city was correcting the problem, and said that a Lautenberg aide produced a city tax form in which Lautenberg checked “no” when asked if he should receive the tax break. Lautenberg camp disputes tax deduction claim