Embarrassingly for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, one of the loudest proponents of reducing the tax gap, two mistakes he made in recent years on his own property taxes have recently come to light.A political ad sponsored by the Montana Republican State Central Committee has brought to light local property taxes in both Washington and Montana that tripped up Baucus, D-Mont.

The senator underpaid his tax bill on his $1.4 million Georgetown house from 2003 to 2005 because of a computer error by city tax collectors, according to property records. Tax assessors incorrectly gave him a credit on his property-tax bill that should only apply to those who claim their property as their primary residence (Baucus's main residence is in Montana).

When the city realized the error, Baucus had to pay back the $5,625.72 in back taxes within 30 days, according to published reports. The senator paid the back taxes, but not until accruing another $500 in penalties and interest for being late with that payment. The other tax problem involves Baucus’ purchase of his childhood home from a brother. The two men agreed to split the tax payments, but there was some confusion over who would make the first payment of $1,650. Because of that misunderstanding, the bill was paid a few weeks late and Baucus was charged $60.36 in penalties and interest.

A spokesman for Baucus said the problems were honest mistakes.

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