Report: Romneys pushed for reduced value on Calif. home, resulting in tax cut
(CBS News) As Democrats press Mitt Romney to release a more extensive picture of his tax history, a new report from the Los Angeles Times suggests that Romney and his wife Ann made multiple attempts to have the value of one of their multimillion dollar homes reassessed, which allowed them to save on property taxes on the house.
According to the Times, the Romneys paid $12 million in cash for a beach-front house in La Jolla, California, in 2008. Just seven months later, the couple appealed to San Diego County for the house to be reassessed at a value of $6.8 million. A little more than a year later, they amended that appeal to $8.9 million, after hiring an attorney. In the 2010 tax year, the Romneys requested a reduction in value to $7.5 million.
The value of the house was ultimately valued downward by the San Diego County Assessment Appeals Board, though by much less than the Romneys' initial appeal: In 2001, the board reduced the 2009 assessment to $11.4 million, according to the Times, and in 2010 its value was reduced to $10 million.
In 2011, the county automatically reassessed the house to $8.7 million.
As a result of the multiple reductions, the Romneys saved about $109,000 in taxes over four years.
At the time of the Romneys' appeals, the U.S. economy, along with the housing market, was in turmoil - and property values were dropping all over the country. It's not unusual in such cases that homeowners would request a reassessment, or that the county itself would lead the charge in doing so. According to the Times, 250,000 San Diego County homes have been reassessed since the housing market crash.
The information about the Romneys' activities in attempting to have their house reassessed sheds a glimmer of light on the couple's financial history, as Democrats continue to hammer the presidential candidate over his decision to release only two years of tax returns ahead of the November election.
The Romney campaign did not respond to a request for comment.