May 9th, 2014
04:06 PM ET
4 years ago

Tax-writing congressman violated tax law

Washington (CNN) - In Washington, Republican Rep. Todd Young helps write the nation’s tax laws, but back home in Indiana he violated state tax law, claiming a property tax deduction for a house he didn’t live in.

In 2012, Young, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, claimed a house in Bloomington was his primary residence and deducted more than $200,000 from his property taxes - saving himself almost $5,000. Turns out, Young was renting the property, not living in it, according to documents obtained by CNN.

Last month, the county auditor notified the second-term congressman that he owed about $5,300 in back taxes and penalties, which Young paid April 14, records show.

It’s not the first time Young has had tax problems. CNN reported last month that Young paid $1,500 in penalties for late payments for his property taxes between 2007 and 2011. In both cases, Young took responsibility.

“I accept full responsibility for these embarrassing oversights and have paid all the taxes and fees I owed. I regret the errors and offer no excuses,” Young said in a statement to CNN.

His spokesman said Young had been eligible for the so-called homestead deduction in prior years, but did not stop claiming it when he moved out in late 2011.

Monroe County Treasurer Catherine Smith said that when Young was in her office in 2012 (paying $4,000 for 2011’s back taxes), she gave him the opportunity to update his records and remove the homestead deduction from the property, but he didn’t.

“It’s homestead fraud. He knew the state law,” the Democratic treasurer said. “A man that makes (a salary) from tax money should be held accountable for his own taxes.”

Smith was already frustrated that the check Young used to pay the $4,000 in back taxes bounced, leading the treasurer to complain that Young’s problems have “created serious complications for our office.”

Monroe County Auditor Steve Saulter said Young just made a mistake when he filed for a homestead deduction he did not qualify for.

“In 99% of the cases we deal with, it simply slips people’s minds. It’s ‘whoops’ or ‘I don’t understand the law,’” the auditor said. “They are not willingly making improper deductions.”

Saulter said the county auditor’s office does not use the term “fraud” even when there is proof the improper deductions were taken intentionally.

CNN first reached out to Saulter regarding Young's taxes in early April.

A county employee said Saulter then notified Young that CNN was investigating his personal taxes and intentionally delayed responding to CNN’s questions.

Saulter responded to CNN earlier this week, three weeks after Young paid the taxes and penalties owed. Saulter said he told Young about CNN’s investigation but disputed the claim that he slow walked a response.

“I simply forgot because we have 50 million things going on. It was one of the smoother cases,” said Saulter, referring to how quickly Young paid up.

Update 5/13/2014: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Monroe County Auditor Steve Saulter was a Republican.

Filed under: Congress • House Republicans • Taxes
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    “In 99% of the cases we deal with, it simply slips people’s minds. It’s ‘whoops’ or ‘I don’t understand the law,’” the auditor said. “They are not willingly making improper deductions.”

    So when it's a GOPer/Teatrolls, CNN actively seeks out a statement like that...but when it's Geithner or Rengel, not so much. We see what you did there.

    May 9, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    An ethically challenged Republican? I'm shocked, SHOCKED to find that corruption is going on in here!

    May 9, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Bill from GA

    Well, then, its time for another investigation into the IRS, surely.

    You there, Issa? You gonna let the IRS get by with this?

    May 9, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    GOP is pretty much greedy too with this, ha!!!

    May 9, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Oh snap! Lookie reds – they called him out on his political affiliation in the first SENTENCE!!! OMG CNN is "sooooo in the tank for them librulz"!

    May 9, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    I don't think there's any there here.

    May 9, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. user123456

    And he will win anyway.

    May 9, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Bill from GA

    OK, so its not really the IRS, but when I first clicked on the article, they showed a 1040. Its CNN's fault.

    May 9, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. storm chaser 101

    Todd young has a history of tax cheating.face the facts,this guy is dishonest. Then when caught makes a flimsey excuse and pays his tax bill with a rubber check! You can't make this stuff up.real gop pos

    May 9, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Bwahahaha...I was right. Laura Ingraham on Faux News filled in for Bill-O last night and linked Nigeria to Benghazi as a way of criticizing Clinton. Apparently, these guys are so obsessed with politicizing Benghazi for 2016 that they could pivot from talking about frozen banana stands to make those about Benghazi too. Frighteningly irrational.

    May 9, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. 2_indy1600

    Never have understood people who think they can do taxes themselves. Too many loopholes. Parents taught me never to mess with the IRS. You see, they're political.

    May 9, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |

    It's probably Obama's fault that Young did this. Everything that's wrong on this planet his fault anyway. . . . and somehow Benghazi is connected to this as well, also, there too. Also.

    May 9, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    The number of people in Congress who try to skirt taxes, from BOTH parties, is enormous.

    May 9, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Monroe County Auditor Steve Saulter, a Republican, said Young just made a mistake when he filed for a homestead deduction he did not qualify for."

    No doubt we've all had 50 million things going on at once and have forgotten which house we're renting out for profit and which house we're claiming as primary residence for homestead deductions.

    Hopefully for his sake, Young understands which house it is he actually lives in and doesn't just barge in at the wrong house.

    Stand your ground being what it is, you understand.

    May 9, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    No wonder the GOP wants to take over Washington. Damn near every one of them are criminals! 😬

    May 9, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Republican Rep. Todd Young helps write the nation’s tax laws ?

    Stop Obama Care / Benghazi / IRS scandal

    May 9, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Dems should loudly demand an ethics investigation and that he be censured just like Rangel was. It won't happen because the GOP will protect and coddle him and make excuses for his behavior, but let that double-standard speak for itself.

    May 9, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Republican Rep. Todd Young helps write the nation’s tax laws ?

    IRS scandal focusing on right wing conservative neocon pro Christian lawmakers , SHAME on YOU IRS !

    Todd Young is a VICTOM of IRS injustice , don't tread on my deductions !

    May 9, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. jerry

    lets go after all of them. Both parties, we've got some real slicksters in NJ and NY.

    May 9, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Typical republican approach to any and all laws: They apply to you, but not to me. I'm a member of the chosen few. Don't believe it, just ask me.

    May 9, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Neutral Observer

    What about all the D's with tax issues,...Wrangle, Geitner, Kerry, Kennedy (oh which one?? Which one hasn't). The party that wants you to pay more doesn't want to pay at all

    May 9, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. ghost

    RESIGN OR BE PROSECUTED, Arnold in "Raw Deal". I think a resignation is in order. Will never happen.

    May 9, 2014 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  23. GonzoinHouston

    Sniffit, don't you understand this is all Obama and Clinton's fault? If it hadn't been for Benghazi none of this would have happened. The poor congressman was so distraught and distracted by the loss of life and the awful cover-up that he just completely forgot that he was only allowed to claim one house as a primary residence. Hey, if Ingram can link Benghazi to Boko Haram, why not?

    May 9, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. Pete

    If I or anyone else had done what this republican idiot had done we would of had our property liened or downright sold to the highest bidder at a state tax auction..Case closed ,there's double standards again ,one for elected idiot officials like him and one for us,the little guys no one cares about...

    May 10, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  25. Lizzie

    Timothy Geithner did not know that he had to pay taxes on his income, and he is now the secretary of the treasury.
    Where have all of you been.

    May 10, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
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