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3 years of returns for T.J. Smith dated this week; Baltimore mayoral candidate had to amend 1 and pay more tax

Baltimore mayoral candidate T.J. Smith’s income tax returns for the past three years are dated this week, but his tax preparer said Smith has “always filed his taxes and paid what is due.” In this Oct. 28, 2019, photo, Smith talks about running for mayor.
Baltimore mayoral candidate T.J. Smith’s income tax returns for the past three years are dated this week, but his tax preparer said Smith has “always filed his taxes and paid what is due.” In this Oct. 28, 2019, photo, Smith talks about running for mayor.(Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore mayoral candidate T.J. Smith’s income tax returns for the past three years are dated this week, but his tax preparer said Smith has “always filed his taxes and paid what is due.”

Smith released Friday his returns for 2017, 2018 and 2019 under the heading of “TRANSPARENCY” on his campaign website. For 2018, Smith signed Wednesday the 1040 form displayed on the site. For 2017, Smith dated his signature April 8, 2018, but tax preparer Mike Irving printed Thursday’s date next to his own signature.

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Asked about the dates, Smith said Friday in an interview that he paid taxes each year on time, but had to file an amended return for 2018 because Irving mistakenly left out his rental income.

“Everything was filed when it was supposed to be filed,” Smith said.

Irving released a statement Friday saying that in reviewing the forms Monday, his Blue Mountain Financial Inc. firm found it had omitted the rental income from the 2018 return.

“The client provided us the information, but it was inadvertently omitted from the tax return,” Irving wrote.

“We notified Mr. Smith of the error on March 5, 2020, and prepared amended returns for him to sign,” Irving said.

Smith’s updated 2018 return includes an extra $15,419 in “additional income." He earned a total of $33,897 in additional income that year on top of $84,347 in wages. Smith was a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department for much of 2018 before leaving the post in October.

Smith released a copy of his 1040X amended return Friday afternoon after it was requested by The Baltimore Sun. It shows he owed an additional $2,852 as a result of the newly reported income. Smith said a check for that amount was mailed to the IRS this week. Irving agreed to pay any penalties that may result, Smith said.

To amend a return, the IRS requires taxpayers to use the form 1040X. The 2018 document Smith initially released Friday was not a 1040X, but a 1040 that included the additional income. Irving said he filed to the IRS both the 1040X and the new 1040.

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“The page that you have is as it should have been,” Irving said of the new 1040 form for 2018. He also later released a copy of Smith’s original 2018 form, which Smith dated March 27, 2019.

Irving said Smith’s returns were exact copies of the documents filed with the IRS and have not been retyped.

“Oh, no, no,” he said. “We wouldn’t do that.”

That statement doesn’t explain how Irving’s signature on the 2017 return has a 2020 date. Asked how that happened, Irving said it was his fault.

“When he came to get the returns, I signed this year," Irving said of Smith.

Asked about the conflicting dates, Smith said, “the only thing I can surmise is that he printed it off all at the same time.”

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Smith’s 2017 return shows a $4,600 loss in rental income and $29,000 in business income. He earned $82,295 in wages that year.

Smith claimed $112,751 in wages on his 2019 return, as well as $47,267 in taxable “pensions and annuities.” He reported no rental or business income in 2019. Smith worked as spokesman for Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski for 10 months in 2019.

In releasing the returns, Smith said he released the most recent three years only because earlier years include information from his former wife. Other candidates have released a greater span of returns.

Former Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah was the first in the Democratic primary field to release his returns and challenged his opponents to do the same. Former Mayor Sheila Dixon and state Sen. Mary Washington followed. Council President Brandon Scott previously released his tax returns when he ran as Jim Shea’s running mate in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and former U.S. Treasury official Mary Miller have not released their tax forms, but their campaigns have pledged to do so before voting begins in the April 28 primary.

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