US Representative Edward J. Markey, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate, paid an effective tax rate of less than 20 percent over the past eight years, claiming large deductions for his mortgages, his travel expenses, and his car, his tax returns show.
According to his federal and state tax filings dating back to 2005, almost of all of Markey’s income, which ranged from $140,777 to $161,433 per year over the eight-year period, came from his congressional salary.
Markey, who turned 66 in July, also began collecting Social Security benefits last year, his 2012 tax return shows. The documents indicate he received $11,600 in benefits.
But Markey also wrote off large payments for mortgage interest, property taxes, and business expenses, in itemized deductions that ranged from a low of $38,378 to a high of $49,066 a year.
They pointed out that the amount of taxes he paid was calculated as part of the so-called alternative minimum tax provision, which limits certain deductions.
“Like many Americans, Ed paid the alternative minimum tax, which means that he did not benefit from many of the itemized deductions in his filings,” said his spokesman Mark Horan. The campaign did not provide a list of which write-off were not used.
Markey’s campaign did not release the returns but allowed reporters to review his federal and state filings at the state Democratic Party hadquarters in Boston Friday afternoon.
His wife, Susan Blumenthal, a doctor and heathcare consultant, filed her taxes separately from Markey, as is allowed of married couples. The campaign did not release Blumenthal’s returns.
Markey’s tax returns showed no stock or bond holdings, but did not reflect any investments Blumenthal has.
Markey’s Republican opponent, Gabriel E. Gomez, had tried to make an issue over Markey’s decision to wait until this week to release his tax returns. Markey then postponed the review until Friday, leading some GOP critics to accuse him of burying the news by dumping the reports at the start of Memorial Day weekend.
Markey’s team sought to show they were being more forthcoming than Gomez by releasing an additional two years’ worth of tax returns, and all the related schedules.
Markey included his 2005 federal and state tax returns, a challenge to Gomez to do the same. The Republican has refused to make those returns public, despite requests from the media. He faced tough questions after the Globe reported that he had claimed a controversial $281,500 historic preservation tax deduction that year on his Cohasset home.
The address Markey used on his federal and state taxes forms was redacted. Horan could not explain why, but insisted that the congressman used the address of his Malden home. Markey has come under fire for also spending much of his time at his upscale house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a tony Washington, D. C. suburb.
Gomez released returns for the years 2007 through 2011 showing he made $10.1 million over six years as a private equity investor and paid an effective tax rate of 21 percent over that period.
However, Gomez has not yet filed for 2012. Gomez also did not release schedules that would reveal more information about his deductions. Gomez’s tax returns showed itemized deductions as high as $536,379 in 2008, dwarfing the amounts that Markey claimed.
In comparison to Gomez, Markey’s income haul was also quite modest. Other than a small amount from interest in the Congressional Federal Credit Union, Markey’s income consists mainly of his congressional salary.
Because his wife files separately, it was unclear how much Blumental made and what deductions she claimed, though her investments are noted on a financial disclosure document that all members of Congress and Senate candidates are required to file as a way to spotlight any potential conflicts of interest. The last filing available, for 2011, showed that Blumenthal held a stock portfolio valued between $845,000 and $2.1 million.
Markey’s deductions for mortgage interest and real estate taxes on his returns include only his share of the expense -- not Blumenthal’s -- for properties in Malden and in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Horan said.
Each year, Markey’s tax returns show, he claimed large deductions for work-related expenses, including a $3,000 deduction for travel expenses. He also claimed deductions for the depreciation of his Toyota Camry hybrid, as well as for parking, tolls and other driving expenses in and around Washington, DC.
Each year, he claimed additional business deductions of varying amounts, only some of which were described in detail on the returns. One 2007 deduction showed a $975 expense for professional books, while in 2005, he claimed $550 for professional magazines and journals.
Markey also gave about $2,200 a year to charity.
Horan, his spokesman, defended the contributions.
“It’s consistent with what he can afford,” said Horan.