Paul L. Caron

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Johnston:  Nine Key Points About Trump’s Income Taxes

TrumpDavid Cay Johnston (The National Memo), 9 Key Points About Trump’s Income Taxes (And Many More Questions):

Donald Trump, challenged again to release his tax returns, offers a nonsense excuse for keeping them secret. But worse than that, the national political reporters covering Trump’s presidential campaign have, yet again, missed big, obvious stories about his conduct and character

Compounding these errors, some journalists have reported nonsense as egregious as Trump’s, concerning what his tax returns would tell us. Many seem certain that they will reveal his actual wealth even though tax returns measure income, not net worth, as I will explain.

Still, there is plenty we can learn about Trump from his tax returns. Among the big stories the political reporters missed in covering Mitt Romney’s comments about the potential “bombshell” hidden in Trump’s returns — and the former Republican nominee’s ensuing tiff with the potential future nominee: ...

I expect Trump’s returns to be extremely aggressive, but well within the boundaries set by Congress and without even a hint of criminal tax evasion. I also suspect his returns will show negative income. That’s right — negative. The last line on the front page of his Form 1040 likely shows a number less than zero, because of a special tax rule for very rich real estate professionals that I’ll explain below. In essence, that rule means not having to pay income taxes.

Therein lies the biggest missed opportunity of all for American journalists. If only they would do the work needed to show how our federal tax system actually operates. The awful truth is that Congress burdens most of us with taxes, but for many of the super-rich, including Trump, the income tax system is a massive source of wealth.

By law, billionaire business owners can live free of income taxes if they wish. Every major tax practitioner knows this, as I have explained repeatedly in articles and books going back two decades — and as I will show again now: ...

Political News, Tax | Permalink


All legitimate comments, however do not confuse David Cay Johnston's article here with journalism. It is a politically motivated diatribe against Trump, filled with speculation, innuendo and opinion, none of which is necessarily bad or wrong, but certainly not journalism.

Posted by: len fuld | Feb 29, 2016 6:21:57 AM

Almost all of our current crop of "journalists" majored in journalism in college. As a result, they are fairly good at the process of journalism. Unfortunately, that also means they know almost nothing of substance.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Feb 28, 2016 5:05:45 PM

The press will change from lap dogs to attack dogs the moment Trump wins the nomination. Not before. Kudos to Johnston for not being anyone's lap dog!

Posted by: AMTbuff | Feb 28, 2016 10:53:43 AM

Who cares. This is a non-issue. He has been audited a million times. He might be good for promoting Civil Liberties, Civil Rights. The real issue is the economy, Russian aggression, unchecked Chinese hegemony, and terror. And we worry about his bullshit tax returns? If you have a good CPA, not Block or Jackson Hewitt, all of our Returns should look similar, except for the number of zeros after the 10's place.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Feb 28, 2016 9:55:46 AM