Unethical Loophole or Illegitimate Candidate?
Malek claims “Homeowners Exemption” on two separate homes, one isn’t even in the district she wants to represent
While your property taxes continue to rise, Idaho State Senate candidate for legislative district 4 Tara Malek, and her husband Lucas Malek (former LD 4 representative) have found a loophole to reduce their obligation by claiming the Idaho Homestead Exemption on two properties they own for at least tax year 2020.
Idaho Code 63-701 provides the description of a legally defined “homestead” as being “used as the primary dwelling place of the claimant” (Section 2), where ‘primary residence’ means the individual has lived there “At least six (6) months during the prior year.” (Section 8.a.i.).
Further, Idaho Code 63-602G clearly states in Section 2.c. that “The owner has certified to the county assessor that: (iii) He has not made application in any other county for the exemption.”
Tara Malek has one property and has one homestead exemption, while Lucas Malek owns one property and has one homestead exemption. It seems that it takes two lawyers to find a loophole in Idaho Statute.
From a layman point of view, they appear to be disregarding clear instruction from both Ada and Kootenai County assessors that -
“… taxpayers can qualify for an exemption on only one home.” – Ada County Assessor
and “To qualify for a homeowners exemption, it is necessary to own and occupy the home as your primary residence.” – Kootenai County Assessor
The Maleks’ overlap occurred during at least tax year 2020, where the Homestead Exemption line item appears publicly on both Ada County and Kootenai County assessors’ sites when you search their two properties.
When looking at the Boise property we see that the exemption was conveniently removed in tax year 2021 ahead of Ms. Malek’s candidacy for Idaho State Senate. But historical tax obligation data would suggest the exemption was in place since tax year 2016 when they assumed ownership of the property –
This appears to be a “fishy” way to get around the homeowners exemption laws, but it calls Ms. Malek’s candidacy for Idaho State Senate for LD 4 into question - on both ethical and legal grounds.