By: Elena Grace Flores
Donald J. Trump has obviously paid far less or even even zero federal income tax in some years. This is the reason perhaps why he would never disclose his income tax returns. At lease, that’s the expectation of many real estate and tax professionals.
Despite the hundreds of millions in gross revenue from his huge real estate business, “it’s both possible and legal that Donald Trump would pay little or no income tax,” said Len Green, an accountant and a real estate investor. He is the chairman of the Green Group, which is a tax and accounting advisory firm.
“I would expect he’s paying little or no tax,” echoed Steven M. Rosenthal, a a notable tax lawyer and senior personality of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy center.
They explained that as an active developer with a trusted name in the industry, Trump can take advantage of the most generous tax breaks available in the federal tax code reducing his reported income to almost zero. He can also report a loss to escape major tax liabilities. Major real estate lawyers can attest to this strategy because they have clients benefiting from the same incentives that Mr. Trump can access.
Trump himself said in the past that top corporate executives “get away with murder” on their taxes and perhaps had a slip of the tongue boasting that he pays as little as allowed by the tax law. Although he insisted that his federal income tax payments are “substantial but declined to make them public.”
The loophole was already eliminated in the 1986 legislation but due to aggressive lobbying by powerful real estate players, active developers like Trump can be exempted from the restrictions.