Cartwright Regularly Late Paying DC Condo Taxes
U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright regularly paid his real-estate taxes late on his Washington, D.C., condominium, piling up almost $3,700 in interest and penalties, online records show.
In four of the last five years, including this year, Cartwright fell behind in paying taxes on the condo and a related parking space. He once received a notice threatening the condo’s sale, but eventually paid the taxes plus penalties and interest.
Cartwright took the blame for the late payments, calling the failure to pay on time an “oversight,” even though he paid some portion of the taxes late each year.
“This is a very busy job that I have and I’m working really hard at it,” Cartwright said.
Cartwright, a Moosic Democrat serving a third two-year term representing the 17th Congressional District, faces a challenge from John Chrin, a Monroe County Republican, for Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District seat.
Cartwright and his wife, Marion, bought the 998-square-foot condo in December 2013, for $795,000.
Chrin’s latest television commercial criticizes Cartwright’s tax-paying record.
The ad accuses Cartwright of “voting to raise our taxes by thousands while refusing to pay taxes on his luxury Washington condo.”
In an email, Chrin’s campaign cited Cartwright’s support for tax-hiking congressional Democratic budgets and a tax on natural gas extraction.
Cartwright denied refusing to pay the condo taxes.
“Believe me, they hit you with interest and penalties and we pay those, too,” Cartwright said. “They make you regret it, but we certainly do not refuse to pay our taxes.”
After the commercial began airing, Chrin’s campaign was asked to provide documents supporting the tax allegation. The campaign provided a delinquent tax notice and a summary of the payment record. The notice and other details were confirmed using the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue’s online tax site.
In the District of Columbia, taxing years run from Oct. 1 of one year to Sept. 30 of the next. The district bills twice a year — once for each half of a year — with the first payment due by March 31 and the second by Sept. 15.
Paying late brings a 10 percent penalty and 1.5 percent interest for each month a payment remains late.
For 2013-14, the first year they owned the condo, the Cartwrights’ combined base tax bill for the condo and parking space equaled $5,917.25, but they paid another $743.37 in interest and penalties. They paid $2,650.70 of the base amount on time, but fell behind paying the rest. They paid $3,771.76 in June 2015, on the condo, but by then they were already also late on the 2014-15 payment. Though the Cartwrights eventually paid the bill, they paid so late they received a delinquent tax notice dated May 1, 2015, threatening the sale of the condo if they did not pay the 2013-14 bill.
For 2014-15, the base tax bill was $6,660.62 but the Cartwrights paid another $1,581.97 in interest and penalties. They paid that in April 2016, along with the bill for the first half of 2015-16.
For 2015-16, the base tax bill was $7,608.20 and they paid only $10.38 in interest and penalties, all on the parking space. They received a credit of $101.75 in interest and penalties on the condo and parking space.
For 2016-17, the base tax bill was $7,575.40 and they paid $871.01 in interest and penalties. Their payments were less than a month late, but late enough to incur a penalty and interest.
For the current 2017-18 year, they owed $3,782.09 for the first half of the year plus $588.08 in interest and penalties. The parking space tax was paid on time, but the condo tax wasn’t.
Cartwright said he paid the 2017-18 tax bills July 16. David Umansky, a tax office spokesman, confirmed Cartwright made the payment, though the payment will not appear on the website until at least next week while the site undergoes maintenance.
Cartwright has not had the same problem paying real-estate taxes on his local home on time.
Joseph Joyce, acting director of the Lackawanna County Tax Claim Bureau, which collects delinquent real-estate taxes locally, said the office has no record of delinquencies or late payment on Cartwright’s Moosic home.
Cartwright accused Chrin of making an issue out of his taxes “to divert attention from (Chrin’s) New Jersey residence in Short Hills and the fact that the Short Hills house is not for sale.”
Chrin, a Lehigh County native and former Wall Street banker, lived in Short Hills, New Jersey, for two decades, but bought a house in Palmer Twp. in Northampton County in January and registered to vote using that address to run in the existing 17th Congressional District. After the state Supreme Court earlier this year rewrote congressional district boundary lines to create the new 8th Congressional District, which does not include Palmer Twp., Chrin bought a home at Skytop in Barrett Twp. so he lives in the 8th.
He has said his wife and two daughters will remain in Short Hills until the daughters graduate high school.
Chrin’s property taxes are paid up to date on his homes in Short Hills, Palmer Twp., Barrett Twp. and Fountain Hill, Lehigh County, according to tax office staffers or online tax records in those counties.
Michael Stwarka, Chrin’s campaign spokesman, called Cartwright’s criticism of Chrin’s residency “the pinnacle of hypocrisy.” Stwarka said Chrin attended Pennsylvania public schools as a youth while Cartwright was “growing up wealthy and privileged in Canada,” attending “an elite boarding school.”
Cartwright has lived in Lackawanna County for 30 years. As a teenager, he lived with his family in Canada and graduated in 1979 from Upper Canada College, a private school for boys in Toronto.
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