Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Trump’s Tax Returns apparently come with added ‘Easter Eggs’

Perhaps this morning’s news explains the real reason Trump was so desperate to keep his tax return secret.

Trump Tax Return Apparently Provide Even More Goodies

When New York prosecutors finally get to examine the federal tax returns of former President Donald J. Trump, they will discover a veritable how-to guide for getting rich while losing millions of dollars and paying little to no income taxes.

Whether they find evidence of crimes, however, will also depend on other information not found in the actual returns.

The tax records provide an unprecedented and highly detailed look at the byzantine world of Mr. Trump’s finances, which for years he has simultaneously bragged about and sought to keep secret.

The Times’s examination showed that the former president reported hundreds of millions of dollars in business losses, went years without paying federal income taxes and faces an Internal Revenue Service audit of a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed a decade ago.

Among other things, the records revealed that Mr. Trump had paid just $750 in federal income taxes in his first year as president and no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years. They also showed he had written off $26 million in “consulting fees” as a business expense between 2010 and 2018, some of which appear to have been paid to his older daughter, Ivanka Trump, while she was a salaried employee of the Trump Organization.

The legitimacy of the fees, which reduced Mr. Trump’s taxable income, has since become a subject of Mr. Vance’s investigation, as well as a separate civil inquiry by Letitia James, the New York attorney general. Ms. James and Mr. Vance are Democrats, and Mr. Trump has sought to portray the multiple inquiries as politically motivated, while denying any wrongdoing.

In addition to the tax returns, Mr. Trump’s accountants, Mazars USA, must also produce business records on which those returns are based and communications with the Trump Organization. Such material could provide important context and background to decisions that Mr. Trump or his accountants made when preparing to file taxes.

Still, The Times’s investigation of Mr. Trump’s returns exposed a number of misleading assertions and falsehoods he has propagated about his wealth and business acumen.

Numerous claims by Mr. Trump of generous philanthropy fell apart upon examination of his tax returns, which raised questions about both the amount of certain donations and the overall nature of his tax-deductible giving. For example, $119.3 million of the roughly $130 million in charitable deductions he claimed since 2005 turned out to be the estimated value of pledges not to develop real estate, sometimes after a planned project fell through.

More broadly, the tax records showed how the public disclosures he filed as a candidate and then as president offered a distorted view of his overall finances by reporting glowing numbers for his golf courses, hotels and other businesses based on the gross revenues they collected each year. The actual bottom line, after losses and expenses, was much gloomier: In 2018, while Mr. Trump’s public filings showed $434.9 million in revenue, his tax returns declared a total of $47.4 million in losses.

And such dire numbers were not an anomaly. Mr. Trump’s many golf courses, a core component of his business empire, reported losses of $315.6 million from 2000 to 2018, while the income from licensing his name to hotels and resorts had all but dried up by the time he entered the White House. In addition, Mr. Trump has hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, much of which he personally guaranteed, coming due in the next few years.

The New York Times: Trump’s Tax Returns Aren’t the Only Crucial Records Prosecutors Will Get

23/02/2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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