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Here’s what tax pros are looking for in Donald Trump’s returns

Funviralpark 1 year ago 0 5

Donald Trump’s tax returns — long the subject of speculation and bitter legal battles — are about to be released. After announcing the details, the House Ways and Means Committee plans to: release the documents on friday.

Whether Americans will learn much from returns is another matter. Trump’s finances are notoriously complex, and the IRS itself has complained about the difficulty of investigating all entities from which Trump may have earned income.

Here are the areas tax experts said they plan to focus on after the returns are released.

What does the return really show about his finances?

Given Trump’s vast business empire, that may be difficult to assess. are connected.

But of these, only seven were considered in the Ways and Means Commission’s report earlier this month. Earnings to be disclosed on Friday will likely list the names of these entities and their respective earnings or losses, but additional details are likely to be limited, experts say.

“When he comes back, there’s a schedule of white papers behind him, which can be five to 10 pages long,” said Bruce Dubinsky, a forensic accountant and founder of Dubinsky Consulting. ‘ said.

“We’re not going to find out what they are [entities] Are doing. You will see the line and the amount (which could be income or loss) for that year. Then we need an LLC or S Corporation return and we’ll see what’s going on.”

With such a large number of entities, it is likely that some of Trump’s income, losses or wealth will be excluded, creating a misleading image of his tax status. increase. The IRS has highlighted the complexities of comprehensively examining Trump’s income and tax liability.

“With more than 400 flow-through returns reported on Form 1040, it is impossible to obtain resources available to investigate all potential issues,” the methods and means report cited. The IRS memo said:

Like all tax experts interviewed for this article, Dubinski has no specific knowledge of Trump’s earnings and bases his assessment strictly on his knowledge of tax law and published excerpts of Trump’s finances. Said he went


House Ways and Means Committee votes to release parts of Trump’s tax returns

05:27

How much money has Trump made from being famous?

Early in his career, Trump made money primarily from his family’s real estate empire, but before long, he used celebrities to generate income, earning hundreds of millions of dollars from his best-selling “Art of the Deal” and other books, NBC. earned TV hit “The Apprentice”.

“I’m going to look at the schedule and I’d like to see if there’s anything from Cs, publishing, book deals, things like that,” said Dubinski. Did you get it? If so, the royalties may come in and be reported upon return.”

According to The New York Times, “The Apprentice” alone made Trump $200 million between 2005 and 2018. If he had continued to earn royalties during his tenure, he wouldn’t have been the first. Former President Barack Obama also benefited from publication, but on a much smaller scale. According to Forbes calculations, Obama earned twice his presidential salary from book royalties during his tenure.

How charitable is Trump?

E. Martin Davidoff, Founder and Managing Partner of Davidoff Tax Law, is sure to get a lot of attention for his philanthropic work as a businessman-turned-President.

“You might look at his personal tax returns out of curiosity,” Davidoff said. “I’ve never seen a billionaire’s tax returns.” How much do you donate to charity? It’s interesting because it can be a huge deduction.”

Davidoff expects to receive limited information on the types of charitable donations.

“There are two separate forms to do that, and two separate items on Schedule E, so you know if it’s cash or property,” he said. If he has transferred the property, it will be listed, which is required in detail.”

It may not be clear where Trump is directing charitable donations, tax experts said. Many people list a charitable beneficiary on their return, but it is not required. On the other hand, many ultra-high net worth individuals set up charitable trusts and private foundations to keep the details of their donations private.

Another question likely unanswered for now is whether Trump accurately claimed the value of all his donations, tax experts said. One question raised is whether the type of deduction known as a conservation easement, reportedly worth $21 million by Trump, is really worth it.

“The IRS has granted the deduction, but the IRS may question its value. We won’t know the outcome until the audit is complete,” Dubinsky said.


How much money can you make as a real estate developer?

A previously released excerpt of Trump’s return home focused on the year he reported big financial lossThe Times concluded that Trump “seemed to have lost more money than most other American taxpayers” in the 1980s and 90s.

Many question the fairness of exempting self-proclaimed billionaires from paying income taxes, with one columnist calling it a “national disgrace.” But tax experts stress that this reflects questions about tax laws that provide a variety of ways for wealthy Americans, including real estate magnates, to legally protect their income.

“The obvious question is how does he pay such a small amount of tax when he’s so wealthy… By design, the estate protects his income,” Davidoff said.

“If I own a property and have positive cash flow, the depreciation of that property protects some of that income,” he added. How is he paying so little? It’s the tax code.”

For example, depreciation is an artificial calculation designed to account for the fact that assets such as buildings lose value over time. Dubinsky illustrated with the example of a developer building a project worth $50 million. As is often the case, put his $1 million of his own money into the project and borrow the rest.

“One-thirtieth of that building is depreciated each year,” says Dubinsky. “If you had no income from that building in the first year and you had operating expenses, now you are in the red. [And] I have all the interest I am paying on it. ”

Purposefully designed to encourage real estate projects, these tax breaks may seem alien to most people whose primary source of income is work.

“The average person doesn’t,” said Dubinsky. “They’re getting a W-2 for $85,000. And they’re like, ‘Well, I’m paying taxes for $85,000. Why is this guy doing billions, or maybe billions?’ Won’t you pay his fair share when it’s worth the ?’ I mean, I don’t want to go back to that.

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