Monday, October 03, 2016

It Looks Like Trump Paid No Income Taxes For 18-19 Years

The image above is from Donald Trump's 1995 tax return, obtained somehow by the New York Times. It shows that he claimed a loss on that return of $915, 729,293 -- a loss that would have allowed him to avoid paying taxes for at least 19 years on an income of $50 million a year.

Understand, this does not mean Trump actually had no income in 1995 -- only that he hired some lawyers smart enough to use the tax system, which favors the rich, to avoid paying taxes on his income. Here is how the New York Times describes it:

Mr. Trump took full advantage of generous tax loopholes specifically available to commercial real estate developers to claim a $15.8 million loss in 1995 on his real estate holdings and partnerships.

But the most important revelation from the 1995 tax documents is just how much Mr. Trump may have benefited from a tax provision that is particularly prized by America’s dynastic families, which, like the Trumps, hold their wealth inside byzantine networks of partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations.

The provision, known as net operating loss, or N.O.L., allows a dizzying array of deductions, business expenses, real estate depreciation, losses from the sale of business assets and even operating losses to flow from the balance sheets of those partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations onto the personal tax returns of men like Mr. Trump. In turn, those losses can be used to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income from, say, book royalties or branding deals.

Better still, if the losses are big enough, they can cancel out taxable income earned in other years. Under I.R.S. rules in 1995, net operating losses could be used to wipe out taxable income earned in the three years before and the 15 years after the loss.

Note also that the Trump campaign and his campaign surrogates are not denying this report. They have simply said that Trump has legally followed tax laws. In fact some of his surrogates have gone so far as to claim he is smart for paying no taxes.

Rudy Giuliani said:

“The reality is, this is part of our tax code. The man’s a genius.”

And Chris Christie said:

 “There’s no one who’s shown more genius in their way to maneuver around the tax code.”

Do you think this shows Trump is a "genius"? Or does it show that he is just a tax evader -- paying nothing on millions in income while ordinary Americans, struggling to get by, pay their fair share of taxes?

This makes it clearer why Trump is refusing to release his tax returns. He knows that Mitt Romney was hurt by the revelation that he only paid a 13% tax rate on about $25 million in income, and he afraid of what the public will think when they learn he paid nothing in taxes while making even more than Romney did -- and he did that for many years.

Trump has been advantaged greatly by living in this country, but pays nothing for that. Instead, he makes his millions on the backs of honest tax-paying Americans. He should be ashamed, but unfortunately, he has shown us throughout his campaign that he has no shame.

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