State Watch

Computer error cost DC thousands in taxes on vacant, dilapidated homes

A closeup of the red and white flag of the District of Columbia also known as Washington DC or the Nations Capital. This flag was blowing in a stiff breeze.

A computer error potentially cost Washington, D.C. thousands of dollars in taxes on homes that are vacant or dilapidated.

Tax rates are meant to increase on a home that is unkempt as an incentive for the homeowner to keep their property clean, News4 reported.

However, a computer error meant taxes on dilapidated homes didn’t increase in 2019, 2020 or in 2021.

The director of Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) told D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson in a letter that the tax rates weren’t being raised because the computer system at the Office of Tax and Revenue had been upgraded, according to News4.

“Some information regarding the classification of vacant and blighted properties was not being properly transmitted and/or received,” D.C. said. “Any properties that should have been taxed at the Class 3 or 4 rate but were not will be charged retroactively.” 

The DCRA told News4 that there are 3,000 vacant homes and 100 blighted properties. 

An Indian Rock Terrace home’s taxes jumped from $6,000 to $120,000 when the error for the rate was noticed.

The homeowner is fighting the increase, saying he has been more focused on keeping his restaurant in business during the pandemic than taking care of his vacant home. 

Mendelson has criticized the agency before and said he is going to follow up on this issue.

Tags Washington D.C.

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