Millionaire Walt Havenstein: Tax Cheat or Marylander?
Today, millionaire Walt Havenstein announced his candidacy for New Hampshire governor on serious defense. For years, Havenstein has reaped thousands of dollars in tax benefits by claiming his “principal residence” in Bethesda, Maryland. But now, he wants to claim that New Hampshire is home so he can run for governor.
Not so fast, Walt.
It’s time for Havenstein to answer a very simple question: are you a tax cheat or a Marylander? One thing in this whole mess is clear – it must be one or the other.
Background, via the New Hampshire Democratic Party:
A Nashua Telegraph expose outlined how Walt Havenstein took Maryland property tax breaks that required his principal residence to be in that state, raising a host of questions and placing his candidacy in doubt. The Telegraph uncovered that Havenstein “saved $5,354 from 2008-11 by getting a homestead exemption from local property taxes in Bethesda, Md. He also paid a lower state property transfer tax while buying the property in that state. To get both, Havenstein had to acknowledge that his $1 million condominium was his ‘principal residence’ where he was living at least seven months of the year.” [Nashua Telegraph, 3/23/14]
Under Maryland law, ”Principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.” [MAPM, accessed 4/2/14]
A Maryland law was enacted in 2007 that requires all homeowners to submit an application stating that they meet the principal residence requirements, under penalty of perjury. According to the Telegraph, “Havenstein said he didn’t recall signing that form.” [State of Maryland, accessed 4/2/2014, Nashua Telegraph, 3/23/14]
A few weekends ago, a Nashua Telegraph found that in addition to registering a car in Maryland, Havenstein briefly held a driver’s license in that state. New Hampshire doesn’t allow someone to hold a valid driver’s license in this state while having an active license in another state. [Nashua Telegraph, 3/31/14, State of New Hampshire, accessed 4/2/14]