What fun!

Donald Trump avoided paying potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes in a way even his own lawyers considered questionable, according to a report.

The New York Times said the manoeuvre may also explain how the Republican presidential candidate posted a one-year loss of more than $900m a few years later, enabling him to avoid paying federal income taxes for perhaps 18 years.

At issue is how billionaire property tycoon Mr Trump was able to cancel hundreds of millions of debt as his casino empire in Atlantic City went broke in the early 1990s.
Cancelled debt is generally treated as taxable income, meaning Mr Trump would have owed the Internal Revenue Service significant money on debt that his creditors forgave.

The newspaper said it obtained documents from 25 years ago showing Mr Trump essentially traded the debt relief for nearly worthless “partnership equity” to avoid any tax liability.

In practice, the strategy was almost identical to a tax move that was already outlawed, but differed in minor details. Mr Trump’s own lawyers advised him the IRS would be likely to find it improper if he were audited, the paper said, and Congress explicitly outlawed the manoeuvre in 2004.

So it was legal before 2004 then?

11 thoughts on “What fun!”

  1. You’d think someone as rich and with as many complex transactions as Trump would be audited every year, especially by the merciless IRS. Even if they only pick up a tiny discrepancy, that’d cover the costs of the auditor.

  2. “Donald Trump avoided paying potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes in a way even his own lawyers considered questionable…”

    No, sorry; if he didn’t end up paying the tax, with all the investigative and judicial powers on which the IRS could call upon, then it wasn’t “questionable”.

  3. “You’d think someone as rich and with as many complex transactions as Trump would be audited every year, especially by the merciless IRS. ”

    I suspect he is audited quite often, actually. Isn’t there one open right now, even?

    Anyhow, this is just bullshit. “could have avoided……” OK, and did he? And was it illegal? And even if it was, the statute of limitations has run out for anything pre-2006 anyway, so piss off.

  4. They’re so fucking desperate right now; Clinton’s campaign is disintegrating before our eyes, and the best the NYT can do iis say that Trump obeyed the law and paid the tax that was due.

  5. ‘The newspaper said it obtained documents from 25 years ago showing Mr Trump essentially traded the debt relief for nearly worthless “partnership equity” to avoid any tax liability.’

    ‘Mr Trump’s own lawyers advised him the IRS would be likely to find it improper if he were audited, the paper said’

    The alleged documents contain his lawyers’ advice?

    Gotta love ‘according to a report.’ Newspapers acting like candidates, defamation is okay if a third party said it, and you don’t even have to say who the third party is.

    Expect a lot of these blind ‘according to a report’ announcements in this last week before the election.

    “According to a report, Trump makes baby soup.”

  6. > the IRS would be likely to find it improper

    “improper” is an interesting choice of word. They can’t say “illegal” because it isn’t.

  7. If I understand these transactions, and I think I do, Trump and other entities now own interests in a partnership. If and when that partnership is liquidated (likely some time in 3050 or later) then gazillions of dollars will be due. Just not yet.

  8. Fact One: It was legal when he did it. That’s why they changed the law… Because it was legal. If it hadn’t been legal, there wouldn’t have been a reason to change the law. This is journalism cunts engaging the Ritchie’s “spirit of the law” nonsense.

    Fact Two: Journalism cunts don’t know this, but any time a consulting tax professional has a client that is taking an aggressive stance with the IRS, he/she writes a letter stating (1) the client could well end up being audited, and (2) there is chance the audit could go badly. It’s called covering your ass.

    Been there, done that.

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