While many have criticized Donald Trump for failing to release his tax returns, the New York Times reported on Saturday that they, not only had obtained Trump’s returns, but that the returns revealed important information about the Republican presidential candidate.
According to the Times, Donald Trump’s tax returns show that he may have avoided paying taxes for nearly two decades.
The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.
Tax experts hired by The Times to analyze Mr. Trump’s 1995 records said that tax rules especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Mr. Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.
To begin with, the partial returns are a visual of how Trump profited by collecting management fees while shareholders took just 17 cents on their dollar. And then, Trump doubled down on his self-centered, destructive business management by using the very losses in order not to pay taxes.
Not only that, but the returns debunk a claim that Trump and his supporters have at times made — that as a real estate developer and owner, Trump may be receiving so many benefits from the tax code that he may be very little, if any taxes. The 1995 returns show that even more than the tax advantages afforded real estate owners/developers, Donald Trump was able to avoid taxes on the back of his failures as a businessman, a cornerstone of his campaign. With each failure, Trump collected fees and salaries, while investors, lenders, workers, and contractors took heavy losses. And then, he was able to take a tax deduction for the losses which he caused by being a failure.
Perhaps the most offending part of Trump’s $1 billion deduction is that hardly any of it reflects Trump’s own money. The vast majority, if not all of it comes from Trump’s personal guarantees to lenders and investors. Simply put, it is common knowledge that Trump leveraged the casinos to the point that it was all but impossible for them to make money. He then paid himself with money that the casinos borrowed. And on top of all that, took a deduction for the personal guarantees that he had signed for the money the casinos borrowed. The deductions are not Trump’s money, but a portion of lender and investor money that Trump had managed to squander.
While these revelations may be shocking to some, truth be told, they’re just another symptom of who Donald Trump actually is. When it comes down to it, Trump is the ultimate con man. After using his father’s money to create a buzz around himself, he managed to con people into investing in him in order to create and uphold the facade that he is a good businessman. If the Times report shows the public anything, it’s that Trump is anything but the businessman he claims to be.
While Trump may claim that his business acumen will save the country, it is clear that his expertise isn’t business, but cheating the system, as well as those around him.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.