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IRS calls upon Abel 

California congressional candidate for the 24th District Abel Maldonado is now haggling with the Internal Revenue Service over roughly $470,000, which the government agency says it’s owed.

Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a Republican from Santa Maria, has disputed the IRS’s claim in a statement released by his campaign April 5.

- ABEL VS. THE IRS :  Republican congressional candidate Abel Maldonado was given a $470,000 tab by the IRS during the peak of his battle against Democratic incumbent Lois Capps. -  - FILE PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • FILE PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • ABEL VS. THE IRS : Republican congressional candidate Abel Maldonado was given a $470,000 tab by the IRS during the peak of his battle against Democratic incumbent Lois Capps.

The dispute centers on Maldonado’s 2006 and 2007 taxes on his family farm and equipment rental business, the complex details of which involve whether certain items were deducted for tax purposes during the right period of time.

“That’s the heart of the issue, and that’s the whole issue,” Maldonado’s spokesman, Brandon Gesicki, said.

In a statement, Maldonado called the dispute a “difference of opinion.”

“The tax code is over 72,000 pages long,” Maldonado wrote in a statement. “Honest people can disagree about the interpretation of the rules. I believe we paid the correct amount of taxes and followed the rules as we understood them. If the IRS finds differently, I will pay the taxes due with interest.”

He added he is dissolving his interest in Agro-Jal, the family business, because he is tired of his family being “dragged through the mud every time I run for office.”

The news struck some as ironic, given that Maldonado has long stated the need for a simpler tax code, which he reiterated in the announcement over his newfound tax troubles.

Maldonado’s family business also reluctantly paid $111,146 in tax liens to the IRS over its 2010 tax return.

Though there’s seldom a comfortable time to get a bill from the IRS, it’s especially rough for Maldonado, who is currently challenging long-time Democratic incumbent Lois Capps in a tight race for the newly redrawn 24th Congressional District.

That race is shaping up to be the most highly contested for Capps since she took over the former 23rd District from her late husband, Walter Capps, in 1998.

But according to current figures, the new 24th District drawn by last year’s redistricting process has narrowed the 20-point lead she enjoyed over Republican challenger Tom Watson in 2008.

Instead, Capps is looking to retain control of a new district that is registered roughly 39 percent Democrat, 36 percent Republican, and 20 percent decline-to-state.

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