MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, during a visit Monday to the Eastern Panhandle, did not shy away from associating herself with the “American tradition” of paying taxes — if only to promote free tax-preparation services that are available to about 70 percent of filers.
“I want to make sure you’re not sending any more dollars to Washington than are required, and we’ve been working to spend less to try to streamline our tax code, reform it,” the 58-year-old Republican said before taking part in a public awareness event on Free File at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College’s new technical center off U.S. 11.
“Every time we get to tax season, I think everybody realizes it’s way too complicated,” she said.
Free File, a partnership between government and private tax-software companies, gives about 70 percent of all American tax filers the opportunity to use software to file for free, according to David Macklin of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, or CCIA.
The partnership encourages online tax filing, which has saved the Internal Revenue Service more than $100 million in processing costs, according to the Government Accountability Office.
When asked about what her tax return looks like, Capito said it is more complicated than she would like it to be.
“We lost our biggest deductions — all three of our children are on their own, sadly — and we always somehow end up having to owe,” she said.
About six weeks away from the April 15 filing deadline, Capito said she and her husband have yet to file their returns, which she said look like everybody else’s.
When asked about her income last year, Capito said, “We have a nice life.”
The Center for Responsive Politics calculated Capito’s average net worth in 2010 to be about $1.7 million, but she remained the least-wealthy member of West Virginia’s delegation on Capitol Hill.
House colleagues Nick Rahall ($2.4 million), a Democrat, and David B. McKinley, ($8.7 million), a Republican, were wealthier, as were Democratic U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller ($99 million) and Joe Manchin ($7.1 million), according to the watchdog group.
Capito’s visit to Blue Ridge CTC’s technical center came shortly after she toured STaSIS Engineering’s new headquarters in Summit Point, W.Va., in Jefferson County.
The business assembles automotive performance products, specializing in brake, suspension, driveline and engine products.
Capito’s visit came a little more than two months before the May 8 primary election in which she is opposed by state Del. Jonathan Miller for the GOP nomination. Miller, of Inwood, W.Va., is Capito’s first primary opponent since she was first elected in 2000.
Capito is seeking a seventh term.
“I’ve got my opportunity to represent my positions. People know me very well, I hope. And so I use that as a basis to move into a campaign every two years,” Capito said.
Taxpayers interested in Free File may obtain more information at www.freefile.irs.gov or www.wvtax.gov.