By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Rep. Ilhan Omar finds herself at the center of controversy about her personal tax returns.

The Campaign Finance Board discovered she filed tax returns stating she was married to one man when, in fact, she was married to another. The revelation was a part of an investigation into allegations that Omar had misused campaign funds.

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Omar agreed to repay $3,500 and pay a $500 fine, but the controversy over her tax filings continues.

When it comes to the issue of filing joint married tax returns with one man while legally married to another, the only statement the Minnesota congresswoman has made is through a campaign spokesperson.

“All of Rep. Omar’s tax filings are fully compliant with all applicable tax law,” the spokesperson said.

Below is a timeline of Omar’s personal relationships as well as the Campaign Finance Board documents.

  • Early 2000s: Omar and Ahmed Hirsi had two children but never married
  • 2009: Omar legally married another man, Ahmed Elmi
  • 2011: Omar and Elmi obtained a faith-based divorce, but no legal divorce
  • 2012: Omar reconciles with Hirsi and the couple had a third child
  • 2014, 2015: Omar and Hirsi file joint married returns
  • 2016: Omar’s attorney and accountants find “something needs to be corrected” in Omar’s filings
  • 2017: Omar files for divorce from Elmi
  • 2018: Omar legally marries Hirsi
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Omar’s staff did not comment when asked if the correction needed in 2016 in Omar’s filings was her marital status.

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Scott Kadrlik, a CPA who has no connection to Omar, says the IRS keeps every tax return open for three years and during that time accepts changes or corrections.

“There can be a whole host of reasons you would file an amended tax return – a correction to your tax return, incorrect filing status, claimed the wrong exemptions, didn’t report all of your income,” Kadrlik said.

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He says, in part, the IRS would likely only take punitive action or file criminal charges if there was a large discrepancy in the amount of taxes the individual owed or if there was fraudulent intent.

Esme Murphy