What's Hinky In Donald Trump's Taxes? Wouldn't YOU Like To Know!
This week the House Ways and Means Committee announced that it would be releasing Donald Trump's tax returns from the time he ran from president through his four years golfing, being a big old racist, and subverting democracy, but mostly golfing. The biggest thing we learned from a report by the committee was that the IRS, in a surprising departure from its stated policy, never bothered auditing Trump's taxes while he was "president." At least not until Democrats won control of the House and started looking into the matter.
More: The IRS Must Have Forgotten To Audit Trump's Magnificent Taxes!
Yr Wonkette looked earlier at some of the questionable crap the committee's report pointed out, so now let's dig a little further into the details with this nice wrapup of some "Red Flags" that Politico reported on yesterday. The findings in the report come from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), which Politico describes as "Congress’ brain on tax issues." And here we thought "Congress's brain on tax issues" was more like an egg frying in a pan full of money to be given to corporations, wowza.
Is Trump Really THAT Terrible At Business?
The biggest WTF, as we mentioned in that earlier story, is the ginormous business losses Trump used to reduce his overall income and reduce his tax liability. As Politico notes, if business losses in one year are so great that they offset one year's income, they can even be rolled over into future tax years, to reduce tax paid in those years as well.
Without those losses, Trump’s taxes would look fundamentally different. In 2016, for example, when he paid just $750 in federal income taxes, he reported $30 million in earnings but also $60 million in losses.
So were the losses legit, or just fancy, dishonest bookkeeping? Unfortunately, there's a catch in figuring that out, because the business losses in the returns the House requested seem to have started in tax years prior to the returns the committee requested.
Steve Rosenthal of the Tax Policy Center explained that to really tell whether the losses were valid, Ways and Means should have requested a broader range of returns. At least the IRS does seem to have been looking at those earlier returns, according to the report, which notes that may have been one reason the IRS hadn't finished the audits it began after nudging from Democrats in Congress:
The IRS’s approach to auditing Trump’s 2015 return was affected, JCT said, by “the complexity of issues being worked for tax years 2009 through 2013” and “the prior years’ tax liabilities have not been settled.”
But What If His Hobbies ARE Business?
Another really big stinky clue to possible tax embuggerance is that there appear to be "multiple instances in which Trump may be improperly deducting money spent on personal activities and hobbies as business expenses." Wait, even if he did very important business thinking while golfing?
This one's kind of blatant, Politico says:
JCT says it found many filings that are used to report streams of income where his earnings and expenses exactly matched, or where there was no reported income at all — a sign of potential improper mingling of expenses.
In 2016, for example, the filing for DT Endeavor I LLC (aviation) reported gross income of $680,886 and expenses that also totaled $680,886. A filing for Melania Trump (modeling) said it took in $3,848 and reported the same amount of expenses. A filing for Donald J. Trump (speaking) reported $50,000 in gross income and $46,162 in travel expenses.
Hilariously, Trump deducted business expenses to the tune of $342,182 in 2020 for "a single family home deemed a rental property that had no income associated with it." The JCT's language somehow manages not to verge into sarcasm in suggesting it would be a good idea to examine the "high level of expenses for the residential rental property, as well as whether such property was actually held for rent during 2020," because if it's not actually bringing in any rent, what the hell, mang?
Is Donald Pulling A Fred Trump?
No, we are not asking if he once attended a Klan rally, but rather whether Trump has been transferring large sums to his wastrel children and disguising them as "loans" to avoid gift taxes — a hallowed Trump family tradition going back to the tax avoidance shenanigans Fred Trump used to distribute his wealth to Donald and siblings.
MOAR! New York Times Calls A Fraud A Fraud
The returns show Trump reported receiving "hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments on loans he gave Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump," which, if Trump were using such loans to avoid gift tax, would also allow the kids to deduct the interest from their own taxes. Proving intent could be a bear, but Politico points out "The IRS has seen this before and has rules about when those would be considered legitimate loans by requiring minimum interest rates being paid."
No You Can't Make Us Explain That Hinky 'Conservation Easement' Again, Not Right Before Christmas!
Liz wrote about THAT mess here, and it's one of the things New York AG Tish James is investigating, and we would rather be mulched than try to explain how ugly it is.
ALSO TOO! No Tax Scam! No Tax Scam! You Are The Easily Disproven Tax Scam Eric Trump Is Pleading The Fifth About!
We're Supposed To Believe Donald Trump Paid Taxes In Other Countries?
For all his talent in not paying much income tax in the US of A, he did claim a tax credit in 2018 for supposedly paying $1.3 million in taxes to foreign countries. The idea is that it's not fair to tax people in the US for income they've paid tax on elsewhere. But did Trump actually pay a lot of foreign tax in 2018? The IRS probably should demand the receipts.
So there are just some of the ways Donald Trump's taxes may betray either vry smrt accounting or massive fraud, the end.
[Politico / Image created using DreamStudio Lite AI]
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.