Thanks to the AJC for this story…
The Cobb County tax commissioner is preparing to revoke one of two homestead exemptions a Marietta city councilman and his wife obtained on adjoining homes — and then bill the wife for four years of back taxes.
State law allows only one homestead exemption per married couple.
Tax Commissioner Gail Downing said Wednesday that Marietta Councilman Philip M. Goldstein’s wife, Elise, will be billed for roughly $2,000 of real estate taxes that should have been paid on her townhouse at 21 Powers Ferry Manor in Marietta.
Elise Goldstein applied for the exemption on her home in 2003, public records show. The councilman applied for a homestead exemption four years earlier for his house next door at 31 Powers Ferry Manor.
Elise Goldstein did not return telephone calls to her home Wednesday. Goldstein said he wasn’t aware state law allows only one homestead exemption per couple.
“I have talked with the tax commissioner and I am waiting for her to tell me what is due,” said Goldstein, an attorney and real estate manager who has served on Marietta’s City Council for 27 years and owns many properties in the area.
The Marietta Daily Journal reported the couple’s dual exemptions Tuesday.
State law requires people to occupy the homes for which they get homestead exemptions. Goldstein said he lives in the townhouse at 31 Powers Ferry Manor. It is connected by a passageway to his wife’s home at 21 Powers Ferry Manor, Goldstein said. He declined to say where she lives.
In her application for her tax break, Goldstein’s wife said she bought her house for $125,000 and moved into it in November 2002. Goldstein bought his home for $90,000 and moved into it in July 1998, according to his application for the tax break. The two have been married since 1990, Goldstein said.
Downing said she would submit her plan to eliminate the exemption for Goldstein’s wife to the Cobb County Board of Tax Assessors for approval early next month.
“He has called several times,” Downing said of Goldstein. “He is very anxious to pay his taxes, he says. He says it was completely innocent. … He asked me to educate him, so I gave him a copy of the law.”