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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Inside Mitt Romney's Heroic Attempt to Pay Less in Property Taxes

Posted by on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM

When Romney said he didn't overpay his taxes, he sure wasn't kidding. In the heart of the economic downturn, the Romneys busied themselves with a valiant effort to make sure they didn't pay one penny more in property taxes than was absolutely necessary. The LA Times reports:

After paying cash for the [12 million dollar] Mediterranean-style house with 61 feet of beach frontage, [the Romneys] asked San Diego County for dramatic property tax relief....Initially, the Romneys asked that their 2009 assessment, $12.24 million, be reduced to $6.8 million, maintaining that their home had lost about 45% of its value in the first seven months they owned it.

Thirteen months later, after hiring an attorney to guide them, the Romneys filed an amended appeal, contending the home had suffered a less-dramatic fall of 27.3%, to $8.9 million.

They also filed an appeal for the 2010 tax year, claiming the house had dropped further, to $7.5 million, 38.7% less than the home's assessed value.

As a result, the Romneys have saved about $109,000 in property taxes over four years.

Heaven forbid a guy worth a quarter of a billion—give or take a few hundred million—should pay $100,000 extra in taxes in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. That money might go to people in need! How are the poors going to pull themselves up by their bootstraps if the Romneys pay for a chunk of their food stamps?

(Via the ever-delightful Wonkette.)


Comments (35) RSS

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Cato the Younger Younger 1
The rightwing asswipes will say this is exactly what you do if you want to be rich.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Romney's a shit, but assessed-value appeals are pretty standard. For example, in 2010 the Stranger's office landlord, the family that owns the for-profit Value Village chain, appealed its property taxes on your building and won a $210,000 assessed value reduction. Last year they appealed for another reduction, but I can't tell the result.
Posted by gloomy gus on August 7, 2012 at 1:44 PM · Report this
sasha 3
I live in San Diego and am sick and tired of watching our schools close so that the Mitt Romney's can pay less in taxes.
Posted by sasha on August 7, 2012 at 1:47 PM · Report this
"That money might go to people in need!"

But probably not. It will go to a excessive pension or missile system. Government redistributes wealth worse than the rich do.
Posted by Fn F'gs on August 7, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
@2: Was that property purchased seven months prior to the appeal? I doubt it. Claiming a 45% loss in such a short time is absurd, even in a crap economy.
Posted by DOUG. on August 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
"I live in San Diego and am sick and tired of watching our schools close so that the Mitt Romney's can pay less in taxes."

Yeah, blame them, because that is easy to do. It like how the roads are bad here in Seattle because of that fucking Obama and his type, you know Ivy Leaguers. Its not because local governments have not been continually investing in infrastructure and in instead in social programs that cost a ton and meet the needs of the few. Its that dumb ass Obama and his friends in Chicago. Not Metro busses with chains long past the snow melt. That butt humper Obama is to blame. You know what, I bet he writes some of his campaign costs off in his taxes! That sissy pussy! That could have saved my neighborhood school!
Posted by fn F'gs on August 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 7
The good thing about Mitt...he actually spends his money in the USA!

The guys who are causing the problems are the Cash Hoarders who are socking it all away and not buying or investing.

Note to the rich: Be like Elvis (or Mitt), and buy everyone a Cadillac!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on August 7, 2012 at 2:14 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 8
Speaking of shadey realestate deals...
Obama + Rezko / Romney = Pot Calling Kettel Black.
Me thinks.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on August 7, 2012 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 9
i got my house devalued by 100K when a fugly POS got put up across the street, blocking my view of the cascades. then all my neighbors followed suit.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 7, 2012 at 2:19 PM · Report this
Gay Dude for Romney 10
So should there be equal wrath against everyone else in America who also filed such tax appeals under advice of legal counsel, or just Republicans who run every four years for president?
Posted by Gay Dude for Romney on August 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this
Sounds like he's a lousy businessman if he overpaid that dramatically for his house. He should fire himself.
Posted by moretent on August 7, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this
The property owned by the Romneys is in one of the most expensive and sought after beach front areas in California. Even during economic downturns property values there do not fall; wealthy people from all over the world line up to purchase homes in order to protect their wealth. The notion that Romney's home lost even 10% of its value is dubious.
Posted by Beachfront on August 7, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Dougsf 13
I can't believe they were able to get even that much of a reduction, and so quickly—either San Diego's Assessor/Recorder have a lighter load and a more generous outlook, or Mitt really got his money's worth with those attorneys. It took me an entire year before I could even get my assessment adjusted to what I actually paid.

For what it's worth, that's the house he's attempting a major renovation to, so he'll be seeing a steeper tax bill on that property soon enough (under prop 13 the county is allowed to reassess based on permitted work).
Posted by Dougsf on August 7, 2012 at 2:55 PM · Report this
Daily Kos reports that a San Diego County assessor has been arrested for pulling hundreds of these "unofficial tax cuts" on behalf of wealthy homeowners.
Posted by Pope Buck I on August 7, 2012 at 2:59 PM · Report this
blip 15
@10, Anyone with a 9-figure net-worth who penny pinches over a few thousand dollars a year, at a time when so many people are struggling to make ends meet, would earn a fair amount of public shame if their exploits were turned out for the world to see.

Now, if they are running for president on a platform of slashing taxes for the super-wealthy -- who already have access to legal council to help them wiggle through loopholes in the tax code -- while also slashing benefits for people who are struggling to make ends meet, they get an extra heap of public shame, but mostly for being so brazenly stupid. Congratulations for not caring. As always, good luck with that.
Posted by blip on August 7, 2012 at 3:01 PM · Report this
@7 - How is Mitt not a cash hoarder?
Posted by STJA on August 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 17
@8 A quarter point reduction on the mortgage for a primary residence of a solid credit risk?
That's the same as a 45% reduction of a tax bill for yet another rarely visited mansion?

Oh yeah, black guy vs. white guy. Forgot about your singular bias.
Posted by Sir Vic on August 7, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
@4: Hey dumbass: how much of property taxes do you think go to the feds? Or do you think that the state of California is making its own missile systems?
Posted by Sean on August 7, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
@2: Income producing property is much easier to appeal as so many different opinions of value can come into play.

A home? Try getting a reduction without any comparable sales or a massive change in condition/circumstances (a la @9).. good luck unless your name's Romney (apparently).
Posted by thename on August 7, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 20
Yet another reason why the rich should be taxed for being alive. And have a birth tax, as well as a "death tax"

They are parasites.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 7, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
merry 21
Good Lord, what are they doing to devalue their property so much, so soon? Tossing their empty Hawaiian Punch cans in a giant heap out the side window? Filling the yard with Bentleys up on cinder blocks?

It's like a satellite show of the Wasilla Hillbillys... "Dammit, the Rmoneys have moved in - there goes the neighborhood!"
Posted by merry on August 7, 2012 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 22
Real AmeriKKKans want this KKKuntree to implode!!!!
Posted by Original Andrew on August 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM · Report this
@5, 19, great points.
Posted by gloomy gus on August 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM · Report this
sperifera 24
@10 - the point is that your boy Willard dodged taxes by stating that the value of the property had been severely diminished, when in fact it had not, as evidenced by the fact that it had been sold seven months prior for X amount of dollars. And just so you know, GDfR, abiding by legal counsels' advice does not absolve one of laws if they are wrong or the taxes due when they are wrong. Did you grow up in Sweden? Just curious.
Posted by sperifera on August 7, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Gay Dude for Romney 25
@20: So I suppose offspring of the rich would be subject to such a birth tax, but if someone is born poor and makes it rich do they retroactively have to pay that birth tax?

Also, when is the alive tax due? If a rich person in a coma, like Sunny von Bülow was, is the alive tax still due?
Posted by Gay Dude for Romney on August 7, 2012 at 4:49 PM · Report this
@25, yes and yes.
Posted by sarah70 on August 7, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Gay Dude for Romney 27
@26, well, if such tax laws are ever passed then I hope we're all in such a position that we'd have to pay them - unless of course they got to be so high that it's better to stay poor ...

ah ha!
Posted by Gay Dude for Romney on August 7, 2012 at 5:07 PM · Report this
Christampa 28
@8- I'm not sure your math is right. How exactly do you divide a Romney into a Rezko? I tried long division, but still couldn't work it out.
Posted by Christampa on August 7, 2012 at 5:29 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 29
Isn't is nice when Gay Gal for Romney agree with Sarah and I?

Try being poor sometime gay gal - really poor, not just having to depend on sugar daddies for your Cosmos. You'll be very happy to pay even the most restrictive tax to avoid that.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on August 7, 2012 at 7:08 PM · Report this
The point was that government money doesn't actually go to anything that actually returns its worth. the money romney save would be divided by so many different departments, pensions, an other things very little, if any of it would go to the poor. If you want your money to the the largest corporation in the world (US government) feel free. Just know next time you are in line at the DMV, thats what your money is paying for.
Posted by Constantpated on August 7, 2012 at 10:48 PM · Report this
Sandiai 31
@29. Yeah, I was gonna say. Jeez, I'm lower upper middle class, and my tax rate is twice that of the highest rate we've heard Mitt pays. I was poor for a long time too, and I will tell you if they took half my income in taxes I would still count myself lucky that I wasn't back there in poorsville. That sucked so much I'll remember it probably forever. If GDfR had ever been poor, truly poor, he would not be talking like that.

I don't know why rich people need so much money. What is money for when you have ten times more than you need?
Posted by Sandiai on August 7, 2012 at 11:37 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 32
No wonder their schools are failing.

Rich jerks like Rmoney are sucking them dry and shipping the money overseas.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 8, 2012 at 12:48 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 33
Caveat, I pay 8 to 9 percent federal. But I pay full freight on my property taxes.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 8, 2012 at 12:50 AM · Report this
Gay Dude for Romney 34
@29/31 - I have never been so poor as to be worried about food and shelter, for which I am grateful.
Posted by Gay Dude for Romney on August 8, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Overall San Diego home prices (Case-Shiller Index) fell about 40% when the bubble popped.

Romney got his assessed value reduced by 18%.

Romney has done some incredibly edgy things to avoid taxes ... but this was not one of them.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on August 8, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this

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