TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Trump’s Ex-Accountant Jack Mitnick: He’s No Tax Genius

The Daily Beast, Trump’s Ex-Accountant Jack Mitnick: He’s No Tax Genius:

This past week, Donald Trump's campaign surrogates attempted to argue that the candidate is a "genius" for turning a nearly $1 billion loss into a tax avoidance strategy for up to 18 years. But now the accountant who compiled Trump's 1995 tax return — and helped verify it for The New York Times — has refuted that narrative in a series of interviews. Jack Mitnick, who handled Trump's taxes until 1996, told Inside Edition on Tuesday, “I did all the tax preparation. He never saw the product until it was presented to him for signature." Pushing back at Trump's own suggestion that he "brilliantly" used tax laws to his own advantage, Mitnick added, “I’m the one who did all the work."

Speaking to CNN on Wednesday morning, Mitnick added that Trump had "virtually zero" involvement in the process and said he saw no evidence that Trump was able to "game the tax code" as he has since indicated.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/10/trumps-ex-accountant-jack-mitnick-hes-no-tax-genius.html

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Comments

*Crosses fingers that someone asks Trump a mildly complicated tax question at the Town Hall debate.*

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Oct 8, 2016 7:53:12 AM

I guess we can question Trump's judgement in using an accountant who doesn't believe in client confidentiality.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Oct 8, 2016 10:01:05 AM

Why in the world anyone would think there is genius behind recognizing a loss and carrying it forward it beyond me. This is Turbotax-level advice.

Posted by: Appalled | Oct 8, 2016 1:01:02 PM

Idiotic. And I would never hire that return preparer. I'm assuming he's retired.

Posted by: Anon | Oct 8, 2016 6:13:12 PM

I dunno if this guy is a CPA. Regardless, his comments are unethical.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Oct 9, 2016 8:07:28 AM

This guy is a lawyer AND a CPA. Both licenses should be revoked.

Posted by: Donna | Oct 10, 2016 7:03:39 AM

Tsk Tsk. The genius is in hiring people like me to figure out how to minimize your taxes. He did not say he was a tax genius. What is the big deal anyway? He legally complied with the law as it stood at the time. Everyone who complains about how he cheated the system, should immediately stop filing a schedule A and take only the standard deduction. Put your $ where your mouth is. If taking a loss is cheating, then taking a deduction for money to your own charity is cheating. Both of them are then tax cheats.

This "tax return preparer" is now a lesson for my law students. How to get disbarred is the lesson. In California client confidentiality is most important duty. Even if someone is your client is secret.

Posted by: Cheyanna Jaffke | Oct 11, 2016 2:53:34 PM