General Question

crazyguy's avatar

Do you think Trump cheated on his tax returns?

Asked by crazyguy (1084points) 3 weeks ago

The implications that you can deduce from the CNN story about the NYT article (I do not read The NY Times) is that Trump either cheated on his tax returns or was such a bad businessman that he made no income at all!

Both of these conclusions are incorrect in my opinion. Tax laws are too complicated for CNN correspondents to grasp. Here is a sort of admission of that fact:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/28/politics/tax-law-101/index.html

Here, in a nutshell, is my analysis. I am not an accountant and my only experience is with my own tax returns.

Net Operating Loss (NOL) in a business and/or real estate can be used to wipe out income from other sources. Once the NOL wipes out current year income, it can be carried forward for some number of years to offset income in those years. What I did not know and am still not clear about is what happens if the business and real estate holdings are in LLCs or Subchapter S corporations.

To me, The NY Times story (as reported by CNN) clarifies three points:

1. Trump utilized every tax break available to him.
2. Trump did not cheat.
3. There was a good reason to not release his tax returns.

What do you think?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

93 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I am waiting for Devin J. Stone, Esq., to make a video about it.

But, an analogy, regarding the legal loopholes in the tax code.
In online video games, if you use bugs or features to give yourself an advantage over other players in a way that was not intended, that is called an exploit, and you can and will get banned for doing it.
So, legal loopholes or not, I will still call drumpf a tax cheat.

gondwanalon's avatar

The IRS couldn’t find anything wrong with Trump’s taxes.

It’s legal to avoid taxes. Who doesn’t?

Congress made the tax laws that allow rich folks and big corporations to avoid paying their fare share of taxes. If you want to point a finger at the cheater then just look at Congress.

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli If you use a bug I can understand. However, if you use a design feature I do not see how you can be banned.

@gondwanalon Actually, I am not even certain that the loophole is all bad. Let us assume you have been running a successful business for decades. You have one or two bad years, perhaps because of events beyond your control, like the subprime crisis or the riots; but it doesn’t matter if you caused your own failures or not. Should you pay zero taxes only for those two years? Or should you be able to do a carry back and a carry forward?

chyna's avatar

Why do I have the feeling that if this had came out about Biden you would be up in arms?
I understand using deductions and loopholes, but not to the tune of a millionaire going without paying his fair share of taxes. You blame the law makers. Ok, that’s fine. But at some point you have to be a morally responsible person and KNOW it’s not right that you have made millions but are only paying 750.00.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t know for sure, as I am not an accountant.

I do know that there ways to deal with income and expensing that are less than kosher (although probably legal), and ways that you can skirt the law by playing games with numbers. The owner of the company where I work plays that game all the time.

My guess that Trump’s accountants played a whole lot of games to get the numbers they wanted. It’s shaky enough that the IRS may claw back $100,000,000. So I would conclude that he did something illegal.

crazyguy's avatar

@chyna If you run a corporation and do not claim all the deductions that were due you, you can get sued by shareholders. Why should it be any different for LLCs and Subchapter S corporations? Or even for individuals?

chyna's avatar

Nobody has shown or proven yet that all of his tax manipulations were honest. I’ll wait for the records.
But again, I’m talking morally. If you were in a store and given back too much change, do you keep it or tell the clerk and give it back?

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy People walk in a grey area all the time regarding expenses and deductions for their businesses. The individual decides where the honesty is, what the IRS is likely to allow, and what the person is willing to risk if they get audited. I hate risk, so I didn’t use the tax possibilities to the hilt, and still don’t. I’d rather pay a few thousand more and not worry about it. Other people rather take the risk and just hope they are never audited or the IRS will let the fuzzy expenses slide.

I’d be curious to know when in the year Trump did some of the transactions? Was it in December from his accountant’s advice? Last minute expenditures to zero out the year. Was it when taxes are due, but expenses still allowable for the previous year? Like one time I paid employees $4,000 in their retirement to save $8,000 in taxes. My accountant screwed me, I had to figure that out for myself, it’s a long story. I could have side stepped the whole thing. At least my employees got part of it. I probably could have gone after her for the other $4k and maybe her insurance would have paid, but I didn’t pursue it.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

When a great (just ask him) businessman can’t make money, what can he do?

Maybe run a country into the ground like his business !

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@gondwanalon The IRS couldn’t find anything wrong with Trump’s taxes

“Trump took aggressive tax positions and that the IRS is challenging a $72.9 million refund claimed a decade ago in an audit that has yet to be resolved.

“If the Internal Revenue Service ultimately prevails, Trump could be liable for millions of dollars in penalties. He potentially could be subject to criminal prosecution if the IRS mounted a case that he knowingly violated the law, though that would be very difficult to do, according to tax professionals…

”...Because of the open audit for 2010 detailed in the Times reporting and because the $72.9 million refund that year was connected to tax losses and profits in several other years, it’s possible that the IRS could still audit all the years tied to the large refund.”

Bloomberg – Sept 28, 2020 – Trump Tax Moves Stir Questions About Potential Legal Exposure

filmfann's avatar

Trump either cheated on his tax returns or was such a bad businessman that he made no income at all!

I believe both are true.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Of course. He’s cheated on everything else in his life: wives, businesses, shareholders, small businesses that worked for him, investors, tenants, and now voters. Why not the IRS? .

KNOWITALL's avatar

Probably not and certainly not personally. I pay an accountant to handle it as I’m sure he does.

Financially healthy companies generally have a manageable amount of debt (liabilities and equity). ... If the business has more assets than liabilities – also a good sign. However, if liabilities are more than assets, you need to look more closely at the company’s ability to pay its debt obligations.Mar 26, 2019
https://www.abc-amega.com/Articles/Credit-Management/understanding-the-balance-sheet

“I have very little debt compared to the value of assets,” he wrote, adding that he may release a financial statement that spells out all assets, properties and debts.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/report-that-trump-is-400-million-in-debt-raises-national-security-concerns-01601332900

stanleybmanly's avatar

The thing that concerns me about Trump is the sheer preponderance of cumulative evidence against him. Of course he cheats on his taxes. He cheats on his wives. He cheats his business partners. He cheats investors. Trump University—he cheats kids defrauding them of their education at obscene profit. He cheats cities like Atlantic City or New York. The banks have all been swindled by the fool. No one is immune. The man is despicable, an absolute horror of a human being unworthy of the respect due a bedbug.

jca2's avatar

I’m sure he doesn’t have an accountant, he has a team of accountants.

If his taxes were on the up and up, he would have been happy to show them to the American people when asked years ago. Instead, he balked and hid them, because he knew the scandal it would cause. I’m betting it’s a combination of legal loopholes along with cheating.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Please control yourself. We all know that you do not like Trump. However, this thread is only about his taxes.

You made a blanket statement: “Of course he cheats on his taxes.” Do you have any evidence for that statement? I would accept evidence even from fake news.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 Do you know now that his taxes are not “on the up and up”? Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he kept his taxes secret because he did not pay any taxes for many years. And he knew the American public, fed by fake news media like CNN and The NY Times, would never understand that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@crazyguy Here’s the most recent list on who in Congress has released their taxes. It appears most are unwilling to do so, from both parties.

Maybe we should assume all 473 are cheating on their taxes, as well?!

https://media.cq.com/media/congress-tax-returns-2017/

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Here’s the most recent list on who in Congress has released their taxes.

You know pointless deflecting doesn’t absolve Trump of anything, right?

jca2's avatar

I know who has released their taxes: Biden and Harris.

seawulf575's avatar

Cheat on his taxes? I doubt it. Do I think he played the tax codes like a virtuoso? Absolutely.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@crazyguy You are wrong. This thread is about more than Trump’s taxes. It is about the absurd proposition of Trump’s credibility juxtaposed against that of the New York Times. The fact that I don’t like him has nothing to do with the validity of a single complaint on my list. Your question, whether you know it or not amounts to “is Trump to be trusted in filing his taxes?” My answer to that is that anyone proposing such a possibility is every bit worthy of the contempt I reserve for the insufferable jackass himself.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I know who has released their taxes: Biden and Harris.

Presidents
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
GHW Bush
Bill Clinton
GW Bush
Barack Obama

Presidential candidates
Walter Mondale
Michael Dukakis
Robert Dole
Al Gore
John Kerry
John McCain
Mitt Romney
Hillary Clinton

crazyguy's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Yes, Biden and Harris have indeed released their taxes. I am starting my review of their returns and will have a question or two soon.

In the meantime, here is something for you to chew on: what exactly are CelticCapri and Giacoppa Corporations? They both appear on Biden’s return.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 You always bring a smile to my lips.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 You are absolutely correct. I will be reviewing their tax returns and may soon have comments about their transparency (or lack thereof!)

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

here is something for you to chew on

I don’t care in the least. But you enjoy your sleuthing. That sounds like a really smart and productive use of your time. Undoubtedly you will uncover some nefarious scheme that slipped by all the Republican attorneys and CPAs who get paid to dig up dirt.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
seawulf575's avatar

@crazyguy I will help with the two corporations. They are S-corps set up by Biden and his wife. It is one of those tax code things that people use to minimize how much they pay to Medicare and Social Security and how they can minimize their taxes. I’m willing to bet President Trump has done that several times. They aren’t illegal…they are, in fact, very legal. But the real question will be…when the Dems want to try painting President Trump as a bad guy for doing it, how will they justify it being okay when Biden does it?

seawulf575's avatar

I guess the question I really have is: where does it say a person has to release his taxes for the world to see if he/she runs for office? Everyone acts like it is required by law, which it isn’t. All I have ever seen come out of the release of taxes is the occasional efforts by the opposition to try using them to paint a person in a bad light. So why would anyone ever want to do it? It isn’t anyone else’s business.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay There’s nothing to absolve.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: For transparency. This is my wife (or husband), these are my kids, learn all about me, if I want your vote, in return, I have nothing to hide.

crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 Precisely. We all, to the best of our ability, and means, do look for possible ways to avoid (legally) the tax bite. I do not think there is anything wrong, or even unAmerican about that.

crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 @jca2 I do not think releasing a complicated set of tax returns like Romney’s or Trump’s, or even Biden’s (I haven’t looked at Harris yet) illuminates anything about anybody. Except maybe how much of a charitable contribution deduction they take. Notice I did not say how much they give to charity.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 except they are never used for that. 99% of the people in this country never look at the tax returns when they are released. All that ever gets looked at is how much a person paid in taxes and how much they gave to charity. And those are only used for political reasons.

crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 Agreed. And the reason the common person does not look at the tax return because, other than items similar to his/her own return, they have zero understanding of the tax laws.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@wulfie/guy If your reasoning is correct, what has Trump to hide?

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: So what? Release them anyway. Let the experts look them over, dissect and discuss.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 The problem is exactly “the experts” who can be paid to say anything you want them to say!

jca2's avatar

@crazyguy: And therein would be the discussion.

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly Given the non-stop lies that have been thrown at him for the past 4 years, it wouldn’t matter if there was nothing there at all. It would be made up and spread around and he would be called a liar for saying it wasn’t true. So why would he hand them anything they could use to create mayhem?

stanleybmanly's avatar

The point to all of this is that the label of tax cheat is absolutely consistent with every visible aspect of Trump. It’s certainly no longer news to anyone. The charges have been around for decades, and to pretend the fool is being slandered is equivalent to outrage at allegations that fish can swim.

crazyguy's avatar

@chyna Do you know that for a fact? Most deductions require backup data like invoices and canceled checks or credit card records. They are not just unsubstantiated numbers.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Your latest post is an example of the blind hatred, completely divorced from any evidence, that you feel for Trump. I kinda feel bad for you…because you will have to nurture that hatred for FOUR MORE YEARS.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 Wrong word: “discussion”. The tax returns would lead to nothing but endless persecution by talking heads on CNN, MSNBC and other Trump-hating channels.

jca2's avatar

@crazyguy: Yeah but still, why not follow precedent and have nothing to hide? All previous presidents did.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 Did releasing their tax returns make a whit of difference on how they performed as POTUS? And besides, no previous president has dealt with this level of hatred and bias from the media. And in the end, he isn’t required to release them. He is entitled to keep them his private business.

jca2's avatar

I never said he was required to release them, @seawulf575.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Most deductions require backup data like invoices and canceled checks or credit card records. They are not just unsubstantiated numbers.

Nope. Plain wrong. Not even close. None of those things get submitted to the IRS.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

no previous president has dealt with this level of hatred and bias from the media.

As if Fox and AM radio are not “the media” You didn’t make up your lunatic stories about the Clintons and Obama on your own, Sparky. You get your misinformation from the media, Hilarious that it has to be pointed out.

seawulf575's avatar

“Nope. Plain wrong. Not even close. None of those things get submitted to the IRS.” Partially true. but if you are audited, you will be required to show proof of your claim for deductions. And any accounting agency worth their salt (and I’m certain Trump uses one), will require proof of the deductions since they are putting their names on the tax preparation. And if the deductions are really wild, it is likely that the IRS will audit the taxes or at least look them over really closely.

seawulf575's avatar

“As if Fox and AM radio are not “the media” You didn’t make up your lunatic stories about the Clintons and Obama on your own, Sparky. You get your misinformation from the media,” Again, you are the queen of partial truths. Fox and some AM radio are media. But then, so is CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, HuffPo, Washington Post, NYT, and a litany of other outlets. So, sparky, which group constitutes the large number of outlets? And here’s a clue for your smarmy, arrogant behind: I can see stories on leftist news outlets and see the questions they leave unasked and unanswered. I can take their stories and pass them through a smell test to see if they pass muster. And when those stories leave more questions than answers about people like Hillary and Obama, it ends up being “lunatic stories” as you like to call them. But hey, help me out here. Wasn’t one of those Lunatic Stories about Hillary and the Obama administration working with Russia to discredit Trump before, during and after the 2016 election? Funny….that one turned out to have an awful lot of truth to it, didn’t it? Especially with the information that was just released? Yeah….but that leaves us with a bit of a problem. All your fools that believe whatever these leftist outlets and your leftist leaders tell you were all about making a stink any time anyone dared to bring up an issue. So where does that leave you? You are looking awfully gullible these days.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 How the hell are you defining media? Is that some sort of right wing secret definition like how the religious right defines submissive and cult?

Media: the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the internet, that reach or influence people widely.

Source

If you think Fox News and talk radio aren’t media you are in another world.

This is why Democrats and Republicans talk past each other, we don’t even use the same language.

crazyguy's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Just because they are not submitted to the IRS it does not mean that you can just dream up numbers. If you could, with impunity, the tax compliance rates in this country would drop precipitously.

crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 I have been playing golf today. Was any new info released today about the plot to ensnare Trump in the Russia hoax?

To me, personally, anybody who cannot see that the Democratic leadership is silently (and sometimes not so silently) encouraging BLM and ANTIFA, have a few screws loose you know where.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I was surprised to read a baseless comment from you. @seawulf575 did not say that Fox News and AM Radio are not media. In fact here is what she said: “Fox and some AM radio are media.” She went on to list a bunch of other media.

JLeslie's avatar

I must have read too quickly.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Just because they are not submitted to the IRS it does not mean that you can just dream up numbers

I worked in the finance section of a $800M/year company. I worked with federal prosecutors who go after tax cheats. I kept the books for a property developer for years.

Don’t think you’re going to educate me on the subject.

crazyguy's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay In that case, I have to assume that you did dream up deductions in the hope that you will not get audited.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It ‘s not the cheating it is who he has the $ 300 million dollars worth of loans (Putin is the co-signer) with Deutsche Bank !

But he is worth BILLIONS just ask him !!!

stanleybmanly's avatar

@crazyguy Where do you Trumpsters get off declaring the allegations of Trump as swindler proof of blind hatred? You want evidence that he’s cheated his wives, his subcontractors, his employees, his relatives, cities, states, anyone silly enough to shake his hand on a deal? Asking for evidence of his dishonesty is like asking for proof that the sun is hot or water is wet. You should be embarrassed at even the suggestion that the fool isn’t crawling with evidence.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Unfortunately for you, in our great country everybody, even a fool, is presumed innocent, until s/he is proved guilty.

ragingloli's avatar

Here is the long-awaited video on the issue by Devin J. Stone, Esq.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28yrkIzVXys

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@crazyguy Disbelieving that Trump has cheated on his wives (just for one example) shows a detachment from reality and lack of judgment.

crazyguy's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Last time I checked, cheating on your wife, or wives, is not a crime.

chyna's avatar

^But it’s an asshole thing to do. Done by an asshole.

crazyguy's avatar

@ragingloli The video makes a very important point: Tax avoidance is not a crime, tax evasion is. The difference between the two is hard to evaluate just from the raw numbers.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie While I appreciate you trying to educate me in the term MEDIA, You might want to focus your efforts on @Call_Me_Jay since that is where I got the term from and to whom I was addressing my comment. If you don’t like how Media was used, then take it up with the source.

seawulf575's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay So with all your expertise, tell me…did people just randomly give you numbers with no justification at all? I know when I had to fill out expense sheets, I had to give receipts to show the expense. But at your $800M/yr company that wasn’t the case? People just spent money and never actually had to show where it went?

crazyguy's avatar

@chyna As evidenced by the number of assholes in the world, being an asshole is not a crime.

seawulf575's avatar

@crazyguy as you can see by many of the answers, our fellow jellies are sure Trump cheated on his taxes for many reasons that have nothing to do with taxes at all.

jca2's avatar

I think this conversation is going round and round and everyone in it is going to turn into butter.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I like that @jca2 ! ! !

stanleybmanly's avatar

We here can only speculate over whether Trump cheated on his taxes. Just because he is a known and acknowledged liar and professional cheat does not necessarily guarantee that he cheated on his taxes. @crazywulf. But if the choice is between Trump and the New York Times regarding the fool’s trustworthiness, there really is no contest.

seawulf575's avatar

Yes, the Times has proven their inaccuracies and bias time and again. You are right…there really is no contest.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Sounds like a couple of our folks here met Joe Walsh on the campaign trail!

”...I didn’t fully realize when I first hit the trail — is how brainwashed so many of my fellow Republicans seem to have become. I hate to say it, but the GOP now resembles a cult…

”...I asked dozens of people a very simple, straightforward question: “Has President Trump ever told a lie to the American people?” And every single person said, “No.” Never mind that thousands of his misstatements have been meticulously documented. No, they said, he’s never lied.

”...three people said that Trump has never golfed since he’s been president. No one said that they thought he did anything wrong with Ukraine. No one knew that our annual deficits just blew past $1 trillion. Everyone believed hundreds of miles of new wall had been built. (Fact check: False!) When I asked whether they thought Mexico was paying for the wall, most people said yes but were at a loss to explain how.

”...They’d say no president has been attacked like Trump has or no president has had to deal with such hatred and opposition. (Again: Not true!) They’d get defensive and throw out more lies and half-truths: China is paying for the tariffs, Joe Biden was covering up for his son, and Russia didn’t do anything in the 2016 election were all popular. On and on it went: I ended my two hours of phone time each day pretty bummed out by the mis- and disinformation I’d heard.”

Link

crazyguy's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay You say: “thousands of his misstatements have been meticulously documented.” I am sure your links for that statement will include factcheck.org.

Here is the fact check on the first debate: https://www.factcheck.org/2020/09/video-the-first-debate/
The video “fact-checked” six claims:

The first two are claims by Trump.

The next two are claims by Biden.

The last two are by Trump.

If you watch and listen carefully, you realize that Biden lied just as much as Trump.

That includes the crazy fact-check on forest fires.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@crazyguy 23,000 and counting; most days it is 15 to 22 lies and miss truths.

Your opinion is the only one that counts for you, the rest of us a more reality bound.

seawulf575's avatar

@Tropical_Willie are you still hanging onto that 23,000 number?!? I’ve seen the list. Most of the “lies” aren’t lies at all. They are opinions from those trying to make the determination for the list. So they don’t like a policy…it’s a lie. There are also still things on there about the Russian Collusion…you know…he says nothing happened and they called him a liar. So when the evidence supported his defense and his statements, did they remove the “lies” from the list? don’t bother looking…the answer is no. That list isn’t worth the time it took to write it up.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Well missed out getting smoke blown up your . . . . .

“I learned a lot while being in the hospital.” Says Trump. Like how to sign a blank piece of paper, in the now contaminated conference room, saying he was working while in the hospital.

Another photo op at some ones else’s expense !

seawulf575's avatar

@Tropical_Willie You are spouting a lot without any citations to back you up. How do you know he isn’t working from the hospital? How do you know what he is signing? What was it Obama said? He would rule with a phone and pen? You seemed to think that was good, so why can’t Trump? Think they have phones and pens in the hospital? How about computers?

chyna's avatar

They showed him on ABC News signing a blank piece of paper at the hospital.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 Thanks for interceding. As you know I have created my personal IGNORE list and I do not address certain posters.

@chyna ABC news is perfectly capable of doing some editing of the video. I have not seen the video you describe – can you find a link?

chyna's avatar

@crazyguy @Tropical_Willie has added the link for me.
Thank you TW!

seawulf575's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Did you actually dig into that citation you gave? It gave links to other articles from the same outlet that didn’t actually take you to a story that supported what your citation was saying. The pictures given don’t prove a thing. Someone took the picture he had posted and then tried to say they blew it up and showed it was blank paper. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t look clear enough to make that determination. Not to mention, since they blew it up, it could be they altered it in other ways. The guy posting it in Twitter is Andrew Feinberg who has a long history of being a “journalist” for uber-leftist outlets as well as for Russian state owned news outlets. I could see him getting the picture photo-shopped. In other words, it looks like they kinda just made it up. And the title of the article should have given you a clue in the first place. Note the word “Apparently” and the quotation marks around the word “staged”. All in all, it doesn’t look truly legit to me.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 Thanks for coming to my rescue.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther