Engel represents the Bronx, rents an apartment there and calls himself a lifelong resident of the borough. However, he and his wife list their Potomac house as their primary home on Maryland property tax forms.
The home's worth about $1 million and Engel collected $7,000 in tax credits over just the last four years.
Now the state's tightening the tax credit rules and stepping up enforcement. So the Engel's property tax credit is being revoked again.
In Maryland, people are eligible for state and county tax breaks on their primary residence. The credit puts a cap of up to 10 percent on the amount of a home's increased value that can be taxed each year. But to receive it, homeowners must live in Maryland at least six months out of the year, have a Maryland driver's license, be registered to vote in the state, have any cars they own registered in Maryland and file Maryland income taxes.
The Engels don't qualify since they both have New York licenses and voter registration cards. Engel aide Jeremy Tomasulo said the congressman files his income taxes in New York, but he did not respond to questions about Mr. Engel's wife's taxes. The congressman previously responded to an inquiry by the Montgomery County Department of Finance, and it determined he was eligible for an exemption, Engel aides said.
Maryland tax officials first revoked the Engel's tax credit in late 2005, around the time several elected officials representing other states were told they'd have their credits removed. Unlike most of the others, however, Mr. Engel and his wife contested the loss of their Maryland primary residence status and their credit privilege was reinstated.
Mr. Tomasulo says Engel's primary residence has always been in the Bronx. His property tax documents say otherwise.