Congress

Joni Ernst repays D.C. $1,900 in taxes after claiming homestead tax break

In effect, the senator had claimed her Capitol Hill condo on as her primary residence

 Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, has re-paid Washington, D.C., for improperly claiming the homestead deduction. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Joni Ernst has paid back Washington, D.C., for improperly claiming a tax benefit reserved for people who make their primary residence in the District.

The Iowa Republican had claimed the D.C. homestead exemption, which reduces the value of primary residences for tax purposes. The Des Moines Register was first to report the senator’s repayment, which totaled almost $1,900 for taxes going back to 2016.

Ernst only cut the check to the city after the Iowa newspaper reached out to her office. It received the information about Ernst’s taxes from the liberal outside political group American Bridge.

“Regrettably, this was an error and upon it being brought to her attention, she immediately paid back the DC Office of Tax and Revenue,” Ernst Press Secretary Brendan Conley said in a statement.

According to documents reviewed by Roll Call, a notice from the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue notifying Ernst of the reduction in property taxes due to the deduction was misaddressed to a property in the wrong quadrant of the city. 

Ernst had claimed her Iowa home under a similar exemption.

American Bridge also provided documentation to Roll Call showing that Ernst (and her now former husband Gail) were receiving the homestead exemption on a condominium unit north of Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill, which was purchased in 2016.

The senator announced last year that she was getting a divorce, which was finalized in January.

Ernst is up for re-election in 2020. Her office did not immediately respond to a request for additional details on why she had claimed the D.C. deduction.

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