Democratic Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath was not a permanent Georgia resident when she ran for Congress in 2018, according to a report published Monday.
Tax documents uncovered by The Washington Free Beacon reveal that Cobb County, Georgia, does not recognize the freshman congresswoman’s home as her permanent residence, and consequently, the county has revoked the homestead exemptions her family previously received.
McBath acknowledged during her campaign that she decided to run for Georgia’s sixth district while she was still living in Tennessee. Her Republican challenger, former Georgia Rep. Karen Handel, questioned how McBath and her husband, a permanent resident of Tennessee, were able to write off Cobb County taxes using the homestead exception, which allows permanent county residents to lower their property tax liability.
“Now y’all, I’m just a former county commission chairman,” Handel said during the campaign. “But I thought taking a homestead exemption here while claiming permanent residency there was a pretty big no-no.” (RELATED: Most Expensive House Loser Jon Ossoff Is Considering A 2020 Senate Run In Georgia)
While McBath called the accusation “baseless,” the Cobb County tax commissioner is requiring the McBaths to pay back taxes for the past three years. A tax audit determined that the family was misusing the homestead exemption from 2015 though 2018 since they never qualified for it.
McBath and her husband have been writing off the homestead exemption since 2000, however, Cobb County only audits tax filings for the prior three years, so it is not clear if she has been misusing the exemption since then.
A spokesperson for McBath provided the following statement to the Free Beacon:
The facts are that Lucy moved to Georgia in 1990, while Karen Handel was still living in DC. Lucy raised her son, Jordan, in the sixth district. He attended Marietta High School. Lucy has lived in her home in Marietta in the Sixth District since 2008. During the 2016 presidential cycle, when Lucy was traveling extensively and for family matters, she briefly changed her residency to Tennessee. Because of her ties to her Marietta neighborhood, she chose to return her residency back to Marietta and renewed her voter registration. Lucy voted for herself last year on May 22, July 24, and also on Election Day when she defeated Karen Handel. She plans to vote for herself again, on Election Day of 2020, when voters of Georgia Sixth send Lucy back to Washington.
The statement does not address the misuse of Cobb County tax exemptions and the spokesperson would not reply to follow up questions.
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