The New York Times published an exposé on Sunday, alleging that President Donald Trump committed “income tax avoidance” in 2016 and 2017. Trump called the exposé “fake news.”
The paper claims Trump paid only $750 in income taxes in those years.
Unlike income tax evasion, income come tax avoidance is totally legal. Millions of Americans pay accountants to help them avoid paying taxes via tax write offs and deductions.
In Trump’s case, he took advantage of an exploit in then-President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus policy that wipes out taxes going back two years. In November 2009, the window was further opened another two years to wipe out taxes going back four years.
“Mr. Trump had paid no income taxes in 2008,” according to the National Review. “But the change meant that when he filed his taxes for 2009, he could seek a refund of not just the $13.3 million he had paid in 2007, but also the combined $56.9 million paid in 2005 and 2006…”
This is not the first time the NYT has analyzed Trump’s taxes. In 2016, the paper obtained Trump’s 1995 tax return from an anonymous source.
The 1995 tax return showed Trump declared a $916 million loss. Tax laws allow such losses to be carried forward for many years — offsetting taxes owed on future income.
Trump lost so much money in 1990 and 1991 – $250 million – that he didn’t have to pay taxes for the next 8 years.
This is the so-called “income tax avoidance” that the Times claims Trump committed.
From 2005-2007 Trump paid a total of $70.1 million in income taxes. Trump actually paid more income tax than Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the richest man in America.
Like most Americans, Trump doesn’t file his own taxes. He has a team of corporate accountants who file his taxes for him. Then another team of tax lawyers pore over the documents to make sure all tax laws, income and deductions are reported accurately.
The Times didn’t find anything illegal in Trump’s tax returns in 1995, 2016 or 2017. They even noted that all “questioners” looking for a smoking gun in Trump’s Tax returns will be “unfulfilled”.
Ironically, the New York Times paid no income tax last year.