On Sunday, the New York Times released what they say are President Donald Trump’s tax records for many of the last 20 years in an effort to turn off voters who might not like the fact that he allegedly claimed huge losses and paid little if any federal income taxes.
According to the Times, Trump paid an average of $1.4 million in federal taxes between the year 2000 and his election to the presidency in 2016. While this seems like a lot, the average billionaire paid $25 million a year in taxes over the same time period.
Trump’s allegedly low tax payments were a result of his claiming huge losses on his real estate businesses. Trump supposedly paid the bulk of the taxes in one year, then got a $72 million refund the next year as a result of more than $315 million in losses.
The refund is the subject of an IRS audit that has been dragging on for 10 years without a resolution. The audit is the reason why Trump has refused to release his tax records since his candidacy in 2016.
Trump has paid little taxes since 2016
The records the Times claims to have do not include returns for 2018 or 2019, but Trump reportedly paid only $750 in taxes in each of 2016 and 2017–this is because he divested himself of his business holdings and sold most of his stock portfolio to avoid conflicts of interest as president, as well as donating his entire presidential salary.
While the Times claims that the records are accurate, Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten said that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate” and disputed the amounts the Times said Trump paid in taxes, the Hill reported.
Trump also disputed the claims through tweets. “The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent,” Trump tweeted.
“I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits,” he said.
Is Trump a business failure?
Critics are claiming that Trump’s huge losses mean that he is a business failure rather than a success, but many people don’t understand the complexities of taxes for real estate.
Depreciation can make real estate holdings look like they are losing money when they actually aren’t, and is a perfectly legal way to encourage people to buy property that risks decreasing in value over time. In addition, there are many costs involved with real estate that can be claimed as business expenses.
In reality, nothing the Times revealed show that Trump has done anything illegal or even unethical. His team of accountants figured out how to legally avoid paying a whole lot of taxes because of the risks of his businesses and the resulting periodic losses, which seems like a great thing to me.
Trump takes big risks and might lose money in the short term. Eventually, though, he wins big.
I think he’ll do it again in November, unless Democrats and the left wing media find a way to cheat him out of the victory. By getting Trump’s tax records illegally, if they did, they have proven that they are the biggest cheaters in this scenario, not him.