Mass. GOP candidate has a tax return problem

Gabriel Gomez says he won't release tax records related to a large deduction he took on his home

Topics: Gabriel Gomez, Massachusetts, Republicans, Tax Returns, Mitt Romney, 2013 Elections, Ed Markey,

In a move that is already inviting comparisons to Mitt Romney, Gabriel Gomez, the Republican candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, rejected calls to release tax records related to questions about a $281,500 tax deduction he took on his house.

The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that Gomez claimed the deduction after agreeing not to make any changes to the facade of his home. Federal law tries to protect historic homes such as Gomez’s by considering it a charitable contribution if a homeowner agrees not to make any visible changes to it. From the Globe:

But Gomez and his wife, Sarah, were already barred from making any changes to the exterior of their home under the bylaws of the local Historical Commission, raising the question as to whether their donation — the price of which is based on the loss of value in their real estate — had any monetary worth.

The Gomezes, whose 59 Highland Ave. home is located within the Cohasset Common Historic District, gave the historical easement to the National Architectural Trust, a Washington-based organization whose marketing of tax-deductible easements to homeowners has been targeted by the US Department of Justice.

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Shortly after Gomez took the deduction, the IRS listed  “contribution of a historic facade easement to a tax-exempt conservation organization” as a “Dirty Dozen tax scam,” the Globe reports, since “In many cases, local historic preservation laws already prohibit alteration of the home’s facade, making the contributed easement superfluous.”

In response to questions about the deduction from the Globe, Gomez said he would not release records from 2005, the year it was taken. “I have nothing to hide.” When the Globe asked whether he regretted taking the large deduction, Gomez said: “Absolutely not. I followed the law. We are not going to go on a fishing expedition.”

Gomez is running against Democratic Rep. Ed Markey in the special election for John Kerry’s seat, which he vacated when he was appointed Secretary of State.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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