How Romney’s Personal Lobbyist Saved Him $109K in Property Taxes

The LA Times details how Mitt Romney's personal lobbyist was able to have the Romney beach home devalued enough to save the Romneys over $100 thousand in taxes.

After paying cash for the Mediterranean-style house with 61 feet of beach frontage, they asked San Diego County for dramatic property tax relief. [...]

Initially, the Romneys asked that their 2009 assessment, $12.24 million, be reduced to $6.8 million, maintaining that their home had lost about 45% of its value in the first seven months they owned it.

Thirteen months later, after hiring an attorney to guide them, the Romneys filed an amended appeal, contending the home had suffered a less-dramatic fall of 27.3%, to $8.9 million.

They also filed an appeal for the 2010 tax year, claiming the house had dropped further, to $7.5 million, 38.7% less than the home's assessed value.

As a result, the Romneys have saved about $109,000 in property taxes over four years.

The Romney's devalued their home every single year since they bought it in 2008, saving themselves over $100 thousand in taxes.

Home values did plummet during the recession, but the Romneys also recently demolished their devalued home to build one four times larger on the same plot of land. Their plan to do this became famous after it was revealed that the new home would include a car-elevator.

Given the lengths Romney has gone to pay as few taxes as possible, such as placing under-valued stock garnered from low-balled corporate buyouts into an IRA to avoid taxes on them, would it really be a shock if you learned he paid no income taxes for 10 years?

According to the LA Times, questions about the Romney's La Jolla property were directed to their personal lobbyist.

The Romney campaign referred all questions about their La Jolla property taxes to Matthew A. Peterson, a lobbyist and attorney who helped the Romneys find the home. He has also guided them through the complex permit process for demolishing the home and rebuilding on the site.

Regular Joe Mitt.

  • IrishGrrrl

    Wait, regular people can’t do this…can they? I mean, everyone’s house in the U.S. devalued….so why aren’t all homeowners being allowed to make such “appeals”? Is it something anyone can do but no one knows about?

    • stacib23

      Sure you can – just hire yourself a lobbyist. :-)

    • nanciejane

      Hi IrishGrrrrl! Actually, any homeowner in California can request to have their property taxes reassessed. It’s a pretty easy form. I tried it on my 1200 square foot condo in El Cajon (definitely NOT La Jolla!) and they said no. But, I didn’t know I could hire a lobbyist :)

      • Brutlyhonest

        Indeed, pretty much everywhere you can protest/contest your assessment. As nanciejane can attest, however, not everyone gets the same results.

    • delosgatos

      We got our assessment reduced by about 15% retroactive a couple of years, in Los Gatos CA. There was a program (that was very overloaded) you had to apply for within certain time frames. It didn’t seem that widely advertised, but my wife is aggressive about such matters. Romney’s a choad, but this one sounds like a relatively legit re-eval tax reduction move in principle. Reduction amounts seem kinda high, but one would have to check the local data to understand the amounts.

  • Brutlyhonest

    You’d almost think the system was fixed in the favor of the super rich ….