On September 27, The New York Times dropped an article that engendered an uproar across the nation and throughout the world. It was a bombshell on the Trump reelection campaign, as the article came out a mere 31 days before the election. Below is what the article contained:
- In 2017, the year when Trump officially became the 45th President of the United States, he only paid 750 dollars in federal income taxes, less than what many teachers and other public workers pay.
- President Trump paid Ivanka Trump, his daughter, millions of dollars in consulting fees in international business transactions. Because contractors are paid as independent contractors, many believe that these transactions served as a gift to escape from paying the standard amount of taxes. The president has written off 26 million dollars in consulting fees, leading to skepticism about the truth of his tax returns.
- Additionally, President Trump purchased Seven Springs, a land area in Bedford, New York, in 1995. Wanting to turn the land into a golf course, Trump faced several backlash from local residents, but the construction proceeded nonetheless. President Trump claimed that Seven Springs, along with three other properties, had charitable deduction taxes. However, out of the 130 million dollars of those taxes he claimed, only 10 million were really charitable deduction taxes, with the rest being conservancy agreements among others.
- Lastly, the president has claimed and guaranteed 421 million dollars of debt. However, many suspect that this number is inflated to take larger tax deductions.
Putting aside the public backlash, many of President Trump’s actions, although extremely aggressive, are still legal. Francine Lipman, a professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas School of Law, said that “these tax returns are aggressive … [but] it doesn’t mean it’s tax fraud. But Trump is taking some very aggressive positions.”
President Trump, like many other rich business owners, can be slightly altering or manipulating the tax code to their favor to pay less in taxes. “There are ways to pay little in taxes … blame the IRS tax code for that,” said Dan Gertrude, a tax expert and the founder of his own tax firm.
Another factor to put into account is his real estate losses. According to the New York Times, President Trump has reportedly lost 134 million dollars from his real estate business since 2000. Potentially, he may owe up to 100 million dollars to the IRS.
Ultimately, there are several aspects voters should keep in mind for this year’s election. The ascendency of Trump to the White House was largely due to the image of him as a successful, self-made business mogul. However, recent data has tarnished that image, with President Trump swirling in numerical data, including his debt, audits, and questionable deductions. With the 2020 election only 31 days away, voters should keep all of this recent data in mind when voting.
Your vote matters. Go out and make a difference.
Feature Image: CNN