Trump's Taxes – My analysis of NYT Article



Articles

NYT Article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

Fox News: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-tax-story-no-bombshell

Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2020/09/28/the-ordinary-taxpayers-guide-to-the-extraordinary-story-of-trumps-tax-returns/#78a0fb225ba9

Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2020/09/28/yes-donald-trump-is-still-a-billionaire-that-makes-his-750-tax-payment-even-more-scandalous/#62e14b6c2885

Breitbart: https://www.breitbart.com/tag/trump-tax-returns/

WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/heres-what-president-trump-said-about-his-tax-returns-11601322424

Forbes 400 List: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2020/09/08/trumps-net-worth-drops-600-million-in-a-year-to-25-billion/#9bcc08723637

Videos:
Fox: https://youtu.be/vq4Ut721Al0
CNN: https://youtu.be/ja20Aj8gPC0
Trump on tax avoidance: https://youtu.be/g-G1Zpn-w6Y



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Post Author: Hector Garcia CPA

20 thoughts on “Trump's Taxes – My analysis of NYT Article

  • Seattle

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    There isn't a tax law for the rich, and a tax law for the poor – it all is supposed to scale. That said it would be naive to say that the rich can't afford smart people to help them find the best deductions.

    Personal comments/opinions:
    1) you can hire a relative to be a consultant, and you can hire the relative directly; however, if you do both and can't show that they were separate functions or work (personal hire/consultant hire) you might have issues (the 1099 contractor issues that come up all the time).
    2) It is totally possible that Trump is property rich and cash poor, which would allow for very little income (gross or adjusted – also making him more susceptible to corruption), but I'm now curious to see how he has handled his donated salary as the President (you can't disclaim that, it has to be recognized as income even if you give it away). The fact that he paid $750 means he was getting to positive income after his deductions and if that is the case the $400k donation would have a hit on it for taxes.
    3) You can't claim non-operational losses from the properties until they are sold (which should be easy to track without the taxes), so you only have depreciation and expenses. Depreciation could become a huge problem depending upon how well they documented the Basis of the properties. You can either Buy Low and Sell High, or Buy High and Sell Low….but you can't really do both or whichever treats you more favorably (think two sets of books). SO my biggest issue with this and from the lack of information, is that I've read (so its got to be true right?) that he has filed a financial declaration to Congress that he claims to have made $420+ million one year, and that year filed for a $70+ million tax loss. That doesn't add up to me and now all of a sudden the conversation can/could turn to tax fraud, or falsifying data to Congress (either one would make most people a bit nervous).

    ALL in all it is a can of worms. As a small business owner I'm just trying to stay between the rails. Also oddly enough, Trump would qualify to get free health care from Medicare in many States so who needs the ACA when you are a Billionaire with Zero taxable income.

    Ninja Painting

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    9:25 you say "I have no doubt that Donald Trump probably didn't do anything illegal".

    What the HELL do you have to say about info that he claimed property taxes on THE BEDFORD ESTATE "seven springs" (24mil) as investment property write off, when don jr called it their "home base"?
    You have no doubt he did everything legally? I do. I have doubts

    Making Cents Solutions

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Thank you for taking the time to share this information. Some people think their business isn't doing well unless they're paying a lot in taxes. But you can't determine the wealth of your business by the amount of taxes you pay.

    Ruth J. Morrison

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Hector, much respect to you, as you did the best job you could do to stay non-partisan. I can tell you that Trump is not well-liked in the NYC real estate community, as he is looked upon as a braggadocious poor relation. Whether Trump loses the election or not, this story is not going away because the NY Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney are both investigating Trump's finances. Now with this information from the New York Times, the attorneys in New York have more information to wade through, if they don't have it already. And, I suspect, there will be more info disclosed, as we can all see DT can't keep his mouth shut.

    aurora571000

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Thanks for an honest opinion, Hector! I am studying tax this semester.

  • Sweetsam Boss

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    The "billionaire" who hides his taxes.
    The "genius" who hides his college grades.
    The "business man" who bankrupted a casino.
    The "playboy" who pays for sex.
    The "Christian" who doesn't go to church.
    The "philanthropist" who defrauds charity.
    The "patriot" who dodged the draft.
    The "innocent man" who refuses to testify and fires people who are investigating him.
    Trump the unbelievable shambolic American President

    Ronald Hernandez

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Nice video… I wish there was not a lot politics involve so we can properly understand this. I think if TRUMP story about "the audit" stays then I'm assuming he will break a record for "THE LONGEST AUDIT" ever.

    Xavier Chang Management Consulting

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Love the analysis, Hector! H/T for creating a piece on this (potentially) heated discussion.

    sophia angelini

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Interesting to have the perspectives of a CPA working for regular people.

    Zan G

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    I do some accounting remediation work during non-crunch time. I did a job correcting records and systems for a company a billionaire owned. I learned from his CPA firm that he was being audited at all times. There was almost no downtime from audits just from the IRS, nevermind the states. One year's audit would start before the prior year was closed.

  • Al Lloyd

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    If Ivanka an executive of Trumps, declared $747,622, the exact amount to the dollar that was paid to a Trump consultancy firm, would that be deemed legal avoidance?

    Paul DeLeo

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    I am a CPA too. The explanation is simple: many of his businesses lose money and in addition to the deductions for those losses, he overstates deductions to offset the income generated by the profitable businesses.

    Chris Smith

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    From the Atlantic:
    Trump spoke powerfully to those voters. He told them a story about corrupt elites, symbolized first by his Republican rivals, then by Hillary Clinton. He told them that he had gamed the system better than anyone else had. In July 2015, he boasted, “As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.” Now Trump was offering to put his hard-won knowledge to work for put-upon voters. He alone would bring class justice to this country, redirecting benefits from the super-rich to deserving people such as themselves. On Fox & Friends that August, he complained about financiers avoiding taxes: “They should be taxed a fair amount of money,” he said. “They’re not paying enough tax.” He committed that when he got hold of power, he would sacrifice his own interests to look out for the people who had trusted him. When he at last delivered a tax plan in 2017, he insisted, “This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing, believe me. This is not good for me … I think my accountants are going crazy right now.”

    Dee Cook

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Tax laws that allow little or no taxes to be paid by wealthy while the general public shoulders the tax burden needs to be reviewed.

    claudio natario

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    It's nice to have other comments on the subject, I´m from Portugal, and taxes are different hear but one thing we all have in common, its running way and try to don´t pay much taxes, but we want to have everything done in time and in a good manner from the country we are living, what it's not fair and nice to do. We all should make our payments in taxes to have a nicer place to live in, saying that I need to tell as well in Portugal, we have, almost free or totally free medical assistance, we have medicaments almost free, and very cheap housing for the ones from the working force ho gets a very small salary, we do have as well free education free school books and some other benefits what worth a lot of money. but in a country where it's not all these things for granted, I can imagine its better to don´t pay to the government if is not giving this basic staff to the citizens. I have never been in America but what I see in the news, documentaries, and some people I meet from the states what I getter, its basic needs are not fulfilled from the government. And rich people don´t have a reason for what to pay taxes, they already have to pay for everything like everybody else. well, I hope I could pass this opinion but it's only an opinion, as something I understand, if I´m wrong with something feel free to tell me its always good to know more things about a country the rest of the world looks for. (this commentary it's not, a political statement against or in favor of the president it's just a comment about taxes and basic rights) Thank you and God bless us all

  • P C

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Why is anyone’s tax return relevant? It’s used as smear campaigns.

    NotBen101

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    None of this stuff really surprised me. Question is which entities are flowing through this tax return. What deductions are those entities claiming? Are the deductions allowable? Or how many have been commingled between one property and the other?
    I think you are probably right that there are some deferred gains. I am not sure what has been already gifted to his kids. I also wonder what type of arrangement he has with Melania after he dies. There is the gift to the spouse that he can do to get out of some of the estate tax.

    Mayra Parl

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    The timing of the NYT article is in question as per the upcoming debate and election?. At his business level he must have a team of CPAs. and Tax attorneys to sort income, losses, depreciation, credits etc. Thank you for your review and transparency!

    Maxim Vedenschi

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Article without any proofs month before elections, it smells like another BS from fake dems news. Media feed shit, smart people analyze, stupid just eat it.

    Brayhan Delgado

    (September 29, 2020 - 10:33 pm)

    Good insight from a CPA about this headline. When I first read the article I found nothing wrong other than fiscal efficacy and probably a very good accounting/legal team.

Comments are closed.