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Trump Tax Returns
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reader50
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Sep 29, 2020, 12:19 AM
 
I couldn't find where we discussed this before. What Trump was so desperate to hide in his returns. So time for a new thread.

The New York Times reported on Trump's tax returns over the weekend. Beware possible paywall. Guardian story - no paywall.

My pet theory - that he had illegal income - hasn't been mentioned.

Instead, he owes hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, and almost all his businesses have reported years of losses. So his net worth (assets minus liabilities) sucks. Most people suspected he was worth less than advertised. They were right.

He paid $750 to the IRS in taxes in 2016. Another $750 in 2017. And paid no federal income tax in 10 out of 15 years.

Oh, and that "audit" that constantly prevents him from releasing his returns? He claimed a $72M refund due to business losses a few years back. The IRS paid it, then decided to audit and claw it back. Today, with interest, it's about $100M. And the audit is on hold so long as he's President. Now we know why he registered for re-election right after winning office.

The Guardian spoke with tax analysts, who concluded:
Alex Cobham, the chief executive of the Tax Justice Network, an international group campaigning for a fairer and more transparent tax system, said: “This shows that Trump is either a very bad businessman or a tax cheat who is not respecting the tax system that he is asking everyone else to pay. Probably both are true.”
There are hints of foreign connections. Exactly who holds the $300M he owes has not been identified.
     
reader50  (op)
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Sep 29, 2020, 12:23 AM
 
Another theory on my part. We're supposed to assume someone in the NY Attorney's office leaked the returns. They were subpoened from Mazars & Associates accounting house. SCOTUS just upheld the subpoena, so the timing works.

My theory: someone at Mazars couldn't stomach them, and leaked to the NYTimes recently. They published after the subpoena was executed, so everyone would assume the NY Attorney's office. And give plausible deniability to the leaker.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 29, 2020, 12:35 AM
 
It's good to see this in black-and-white, although it is roughly what I expected and jives with Trump's behavior — he didn't want everyone to know how little he makes and that his carefully crafted image of a successful businessperson does not stand up to the test.

While under normal circumstances this would have been a huge story, I am very pessimistic to be honest. If Trump's loyal fan base can ignore the effects of a pandemic, I am not sure what has to happen to get them to change their minds.
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Waragainstsleep
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Sep 29, 2020, 04:27 AM
 
Someone worked out that $750k of a $26m write-off for consultancy fees was paid to Ivanka for two hotel projects that it was already her job to work on. The rest of the $26m hasn't been traced yet but it seems plausible he has paid other relatives and boot-lickers to evade his tax bills. I have no idea how illegal any of that is or whether its Donnie or Ivanka who'd be slapped for it.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
andi*pandi
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Sep 29, 2020, 09:48 AM
 
If you are already an employee, and salaried (no overtime) can you also be a consultant?

So much
     
subego
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Sep 29, 2020, 10:00 AM
 
IIUC, that’s legal, as long as the consultancy significantly differs from the employment.

To use an extreme example, Ivanka could legally be paid extra to run the janitorial staff.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Sep 29, 2020, 10:46 AM
 
Yeah, I'm reading more details saying its illegal. Also saying the only thing stopping Trump doing time is the silly rule about indicting sitting Presidents. Apparently Ivanka could do time as well. I wonder if indicting her immediately would be a plus or a minus for Trump election-wise.
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Thorzdad
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Sep 29, 2020, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Also saying the only thing stopping Trump doing time is the silly rule about indicting sitting Presidents.
Is that an actual court ruling? I thought that was more like Trump and Barr’s opinion, based on their belief in an imperial presidency.
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Laminar
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Sep 29, 2020, 06:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
He paid $750 to the IRS in taxes in 2016. Another $750 in 2017
He paid $750 total or he owed $750 upon filing in addition to what he had already paid throughout the year?
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 30, 2020, 12:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
IIUC, that’s legal, as long as the consultancy significantly differs from the employment.

To use an extreme example, Ivanka could legally be paid extra to run the janitorial staff.
Given that this type of arrangement can be easily used for tax fraud purposes, though, it should be said that probably this raises quite a few red flags. I wouldn't be surprised if this is part of the SDNY's investigation of the Trump family.

While much of the media focusses on $750, from the perspective of national security the far more important revelation are the >$400 million of loans and personal guarantees that come due very soon.
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Waragainstsleep
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Sep 30, 2020, 12:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post
Is that an actual court ruling? I thought that was more like Trump and Barr’s opinion, based on their belief in an imperial presidency.
I think they said it was a justice department guideline.
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subego
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Sep 30, 2020, 09:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
He paid $750 to the IRS in taxes in 2016. Another $750 in 2017.
This isn’t quite accurate.

He paid over $5 million to the IRS in taxes in 2016 and 2017. His accountants determined he owed nothing.

Trump had that rolled-over, so even though he hasn’t owed anything, he hasn’t gotten a refund.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 30, 2020, 12:58 PM
 
Apart from the 73 million dollars whose legality is still under investigation (the "audit" he repeatedly referred to as justification for not releasing his taxes).
     
andi*pandi
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Sep 30, 2020, 02:53 PM
 
That 73 million is a rebate, then the IRS found something and wants it back?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 30, 2020, 04:46 PM
 
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...le-known-panel

Trump received what tax professionals refer to as a “quickie refund,” a check processed in 90 days on a tentative basis, pending an audit by the IRS, the Times reported.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 30, 2020, 09:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That seems awefully risky when you are dealing with a $73 million refund you can't afford to pay back.
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Spheric Harlot
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Oct 1, 2020, 05:17 AM
 
The current president, running for another four-year-term, is liable for over $500 million in debt, due within the next four years.



The current president, running for another four-year-term, is liable for over $500 million in debt. Due within the next four years.

Within what would be his next term of office.

As the president of the United States of America.

I...
     
subego
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Oct 1, 2020, 07:18 AM
 
He’s not in debt because he’s broke.

Banks really hate the idea of not getting their money back. One can’t simply rack up that much debt without an ability to pay it off. The guy owns skyscrapers. Those are worth a ****ton of money.

That said, he’s probably stretched thinner than he’d like. His businesses have been rudderless, which hasn’t helped them, and the plague took a dump on skyscraper value. In the old days, that’s like one skyscraper he needs to sell to pay off the whole half billion. Now it may be two or three.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Oct 1, 2020, 12:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
He’s not in debt because he’s broke.

Banks really hate the idea of not getting their money back. One can’t simply rack up that much debt without an ability to pay it off. The guy owns skyscrapers. Those are worth a ****ton of money.

That said, he’s probably stretched thinner than he’d like. His businesses have been rudderless, which hasn’t helped them, and the plague took a dump on skyscraper value. In the old days, that’s like one skyscraper he needs to sell to pay off the whole half billion. Now it may be two or three.
He doesn't own skyscrapers. He owns investments in skyscrapers. 30% of Trump Tower in NYC, AFAIK.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_of_Donald_Trump

At any rate, he's not going to have liquid cash to repay those debts.
     
andi*pandi
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Oct 1, 2020, 01:17 PM
 
which leaves him vulnerable to blackmail, extortion, and pressure to make deals that rip off the american people. Beyond even his other self-serving things like wanting the republican convention at his hotel, or the g7 summit at his hotels, or at his scotland golf course, or...

desperate grifters gonna grift.
     
subego
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Oct 1, 2020, 08:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
He doesn't own skyscrapers. He owns investments in skyscrapers. 30% of Trump Tower in NYC, AFAIK.
Which he can sell.

The second paragraph of the wiki article says his net worth is $2.5 billion, so five times his near-term debt.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 1, 2020, 09:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Which he can sell.

The second paragraph of the wiki article says his net worth is $2.5 billion, so five times his near-term debt.
The NYT article makes it quite clear in the beginning that the tax returns do not give them insight into who exactly Trump owes money to or how far he is already leveraged. Net worth figures are usually highly contested, not least because you have to estimate the value of assets. And these values are anything but fixed. It gets even more complicated with someone who has significant liabilities. It may be that Trump owns a significant share of a skyscraper. But you can’t easily sell 30 % of a skyscraper. Banks will take it, sure, but at what price? Given that NYT’s real estate market was in a bubble before the Covid-19 pandemic, which made it even worse, it may very well be that Trump isn’t able to cover his debts.
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Thorzdad
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Oct 1, 2020, 09:40 PM
 
He apparently claimed $70,000 in deductions for hairstyling while on The Apprentice.
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subego
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Oct 1, 2020, 10:13 PM
 
@Oreo,

We can drop that net worth estimate by more than half, and he still has enough assets to cover the debt.
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 1, 2020, 11:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
@Oreo,

We can drop that net worth estimate by more than half, and he still has enough assets to cover the debt.
Two things: during the 2016 election there were rumblings that Trump wasn't a billionaire, but “merely” a $$$ millionaire. If the latter is closer to the truth, a $$$ million debt could indeed wipe out his fortune. While I don't know which wealth estimates are closer to the truth, we should be cautious with any wealth estimates here. That is doubly true in case of Trump. Trump's tax returns at the very least indicate he has been very, hmmm, creative when it comes to minimizing his taxable income. Should Trump have crossed the line of criminal tax evasion, I don't think any current wealth estimates will be of use, and his net wealth with be far lower.

The second big problem is the apparent lack of free cash that Trump has: he might need more cash to support his lavish lifestyle or to cover the losses of his properties. A lot of Trump's assets are money pits. So a golf course may have a lot of assets in the form of, well, the golf course, the club house, the hotel and whatnot. But if that makes predictable losses each year, how much is that actually worth? Who would buy it? And for what amount? How quickly can he sell it? If there are several lenders, who'd get the filet pieces and who'd get the turds?

So why not sell that? Well, if Trump used them as securities to secure the $$$ million loans, he might not be free to sell them. Trump probably can't get any more loans either. This could quickly lead to a spiral into bankruptcy. The last few times Trump was able to offload the debt to others. It seems that this time he is on the hook for real.


As an addendum, I was surprised how much Trump made off The Apprentice, and how quickly he burned all that money. I think I'd have a hard time figuring out ways to set that much money on fire.
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OAW
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Oct 2, 2020, 12:49 AM
 
Why is this even a subject for debate? Trump has routinely claimed he’s worth $10 billion. Those truly in those circles have never taken him seriously because they already knew he was full of sh*t. Which has long been a source of his grievance. Trump has always been a BULLSH*T ARTIST who would be in far better financial shape if he had simply invested the money he inherited/swindled from his father into an index fund instead of pretending to be a businessman. And now he maintains his lifestyle by aggressively manipulating the US tax code and money laundering for Russian oligarchs/mafia to the point where tax fraud charges are likely in his future.

OAW
( Last edited by OAW; Oct 2, 2020 at 10:14 AM. )
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 2, 2020, 02:00 AM
 
@OAW
Trump wants to be seen as a successful business man and as a billionaire. As a “smart person.” I wouldn't be surprised if he covered up “honest” losses with illegal means just to cover them up. (Personally, I think there is nothing shameful in going broke if you are going broke in an honest way.)
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
   
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