Whistleblowers at one D.C. government office are turning to federal authorities to investigate reduced tax assessments on some commercial properties in the District.
The investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation is targeting the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, according to the Washington Post. Three sources within that office tell the Post that the feds are probing how 500 commercial properties had their values reduced by more than $2.5 billion. This move saved the owners tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.
The city lost as much as $46 million in potential tax revenues this year because of the assessments, and the owners of the properties are politcally well connected, according to the Post report. The reduced assessments many times ran counter to tax office staff recommendation.
Higher-ups at the tax office bypassed reviews and court appeals, through quick settlements. The report says tax officials defended the quick settlements as a way to avoid any litigation costs.