Rangel Playing the Tax Angles

September 6, 2008

Rep. Charles Rangel’s lawyers say he can claim a tax deduction on the decreasing value of his swank Dominican Republic villa – but tax experts yesterday said the amount depends on how much time he actually spent there each year.

Depreciation, the loss of value of the property due to wear, tear and age, can be declared on tax returns for just over 27 years, said tax lawyer Gary Botwinick, a prominent attorney who handles tax law and estates in New Jersey. The bigger the depreciation one can claim, the bigger the tax break.

He also said the depreciation is for the value of the villa itself, but not the land it sits on. Rangel’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said the congressman can claim a 100 percent depreciation value on the property, because it’s not a “vacation home.”

Read more: (Maggie Haberman, “Playing the Tax Angles,” New York Post, 9/06/08)