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Eric Adams Taxes Show Rental Income, in Reversal From Past Claims

Mayor reports taxable income on the Bed-Stuy rowhouse he declared his residence, after years of fuzzy and questionable deductions.

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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ Bed-Stuy building, June 11, 2021.

Hiram Alejandro Durán/THE CITY

Tax forms released by Mayor Eric Adams on Friday show he is now declaring taxable income on the four-unit Brooklyn rowhouse he declared as his residence — a change from past years when he claimed he had enough deductions to zero out the tens of thousands of dollars in rent he collects.

The forms show Adams reporting modest net taxable rental income of $3,429 for 2021 after deductions, the year he ran for mayor and questions arose about where he lived.

For years, Adams avoided paying taxes on the rental income he pockets from the Lafayette Avenue property where he says he lives in a ground-floor unit, asserting he had enough expenses to zero out his tax burden.

Records showed those expenses appeared to include repairs to his own apartment, a deduction that is not allowed. Landlords can’t deduct repair costs to their own personal units.

For several years, Adams did not detail any income or deductions at all on his Brooklyn rental property and only did so after questions arose from PoliticoNY and THE CITY. He then was required to file more detailed forms going back several years.

In amended forms he filed for 2017, 2018 and 2019, he claimed to have zero “personal use” days at the property, allowing him to deduct repair costs for the entire building and zero out his rental income.

During the campaign for mayor last year, Adams said he’d been living in the ground-floor unit of the property since 2017 and gave the media a tour of his apartment. When asked by THE CITY about Adams claiming zero personal use days on his IRS form, campaign spokesperson Evan Thies stated at the time, “It was a mistake. He should have let them know he lived there because he did.”

Eric Adams gave a tour of his Bed-Stuy home he said he shares with his son, June 10, 2021.

Katie Honan/THE CITY

Thies promised that the mayor would file amended forms, but on Friday in releasing his 2021 Form 1040, Adams did not release the amendments to his prior forms.

The form released Friday lists total taxable income of $231,977 for 2021. Adams no longer claims zero personal use days — instead leaving that question blank and listing 365 “fair rental days.” The end result was he had to report a modest amount of rental income as taxable: $3,429.

The form also shows Adams collecting far less rent and spending much less on repairs and supplies to fix up the property.

From 2017 through 2019 Adams reported collecting $36,000 in rental income before deductions each year and spending between $6,000 and $8,000 on repairs and supplies — enough to let him zero out his rental income. 

In his 2021 form, Adams reported pocketing $24,600 in rental income before deductions. and spending only $400 on repairs and zero dollars on supplies.

Adams contends that the deductions he’s taking only apply to the three rental units and not to his basement unit.

Pointing Finger

Adams has faced challenges over the accuracy of his tax forms in prior years — including two errors that were identified by THE CITY and PoliticoNY during the 2021 mayoral campaign.

In the first instance, Adams failed to report any rental income from the four-unit home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, even as he reported the income on mandatory city financial disclosure forms.

His campaign said at the time that the income wasn’t reported because of offsetting expenses, but later amended the filings for tax years 2017, 2018 and 2019.

When those revised tax documents were shared publicly, THE CITY identified a new issue — the filings said Adams spent “zero” days at the Bedford-Stuyvesant home, a claim that would have allowed him to deduct more expenses than were otherwise permissible.

Two tax accountants with whom THE CITY shared the filings also raised questions about a number of the expenses that were used to offset the roughly $100,000 in rental income Adams reported receiving over the three years.

This year, in mid-April — around the time when prior mayors either provided their tax filings or allowed reporters to view them for a short time period — Adams made contradictory public statements about whether he intended to share his own paperwork.

Ultimately, his City Hall spokesperson said Adams had received a filing extension and would provide some access to his documents later in the year.

Then in June, a separate financial inconsistency in Adams’ records resurfaced.

Throughout the 2021 mayoral campaign, Adams insisted that he had gifted his 50% share of a co-op in Prospect Heights to a friend back in 2007.

But reporting by THE CITY suggested Adams’ actually hadn’t relinquished his ownership, and that if he had, he would have had to pay a “gift tax” to the IRS on the value of the purported ownership transfer. His campaign could produce no proof that such a tax had been paid.

It was only this year, when Adams was mandated as mayor to disclose certain aspects of his finances, that he revealed that his ownership of the unit had continued unabated through at least the end of 2021. At the same time, he revised five years of public disclosures that he had submitted as Brooklyn borough president regarding the co-ownership of the apartment.

Adams faulted the friend for not finalizing the transfer of ownership back in 2007, and said he had only learned of the snafu after hiring a new accountant. 

As THE CITY reported, his prior accountant, Clarence Harley, had a spotty track record that included being accused in court filings of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a Harlem co-op that had employed him.

Adams stood by Harley for a while — at one point saying the accountant had become homeless — but reversed course after the financial errors began stacking up.

He blamed Harley for the “zero” days IRS error, and his spokesperson later suggested it was the accountant’s responsibility that Adams did not know that he still co-owned the Prospect Heights co-op.

Adams also co-owns a condo in Fort Lee, N.J., with his longtime partner, Tracey Collins, and as of January has lived in Gracie Mansion, the official mayor’s residence, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Harley didn’t respond to a voice message left seeking comment.

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