Things To Look For In Trump’s Tax Returns

Last week, Democrats released six years’ worth of information from former President Trump’s tax returns as part of a report on the presidential audit program. This showed that the former president wasn’t getting regular audits from the IRS and that he reported significant business losses every year.

Trump’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020 will be public on Friday. Democrats said they needed more time to redact the documents and take out personal information, so they asked for more time.

Tax experts don’t think the raw returns, summarized in reports by the Democratic-controlled Ways and Means Committee and the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, will reveal anything shocking (JCT). But the more detailed documents could give more information about Trump’s businesses and professional organizations that are of interest.

Were Trump’s Defeats In 2020 New?

The JCT report on Trump’s taxes showed that he reported significant losses yearly, usually in the tens of millions of dollars. These losses canceled out his gains and cut the amount of taxes he owed, and in some years, like 2020, they even got rid of his tax liability entirely.

The losses from 2015 to 2018 were actually pieces of a more significant $105 million loss, which was part of a $700 million loss that was broken up and reported over different years. People who work in real estate development often use these kinds of broken-up losses because they are allowed to report regular depreciation costs as losses.

In 2019, Trump said he made money and paid taxes, but in 2020, he said he was again in the red. This has led some experts to think that Trump’s losses in 2020 aren’t just a matter of strategic accounting but that his businesses are actually failing.

“Trump’s losses in 2020 did not come from carrying over net operating losses. I think Trump’s losses in 2020 were real and mostly caused by business losses he had at the start of the COVID pandemic. And that’s why he paid no taxes in 2020,” Steve Rosenthal of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center wrote in an email to The Hill.

“Yes, Trump had a lot of losses in 2009, including a $700 million loss from “abandoning” a partnership interest, some of which he carried over to other years. And Trump seems to have kept carrying over these losses into 2018. But by 2019, Trump had used up all of his carried-over losses, and he had made money,” he wrote. If we knew more about Trump’s 2020 tax return, we might be able to tell if he didn’t have to pay taxes that year because of standard accounting practices or failing businesses.

Things To Look For In Trump's Tax Returns
Things To Look For In Trump’s Tax Returns

Information About Foreign Banks And Businesses

One of the essential stories about Trump’s presidency was his relationships with other countries, especially the FBI investigation into his ties to Russia.

Any foreign bank accounts listed on Trump’s tax returns or payments made to foreign entities will be closely examined and could reveal more about Trump’s connections abroad. Rosenthal said, “I’ll be looking for foreign ownership, foreign accounts, foreign ownership of Trump businesses, and payments to foreigners.” “It’s likely that external reviewers will find some things that the JCT missed.”

Frank Snepp, a former CIA officer and journalist, said in an interview, “Those of us who are interested in his relationship with Russia will be looking for any kind of confirmation of what Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008, that Trump interests had gotten a lot of their money from Russian sources.” This is what Donald Trump Jr. said in 2008.

“We won’t see a line that says ‘Russian Assets’ on the tax returns, but a forensic analyst would do well to look for anything related to the emoluments clause,” he said. Trump also oversaw some significant changes to the way things were in the Middle East, like the Abraham Accords, which made it so that Israel and several Arab countries could get along again.

“Everyone who wants to know if he got money from Saudi Arabia will be looking for signs of that kind of foreign help,” Snepp said.

The Breakdown Of How Much Money Trump’s Businesses Make

Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee also got the tax returns for eight of Trump’s businesses, in addition to Trump’s own tax returns. Even though that’s just a small part of Trump’s nearly 500 business entities, seeing which companies caused Trump the most losses will give a clearer picture of how he avoids paying taxes and does business in general.

The eight business returns fall into three groups: trademark LLCs, businesses that run golf clubs, and two high-level holding companies.

“These two top-level companies are the most important parts of Trump’s LLC empire. Rosenthal said, “The numbers all add up to those, and I’d like to see some total numbers there.” According to the JCT report, an IRS agent looking at Trump’s 2018 business tax returns noticed that he claimed many losses that didn’t make sense.

“In 2018, the agent wrote down a number of “Large unusual questionable items” (LUQs), such as a $12.1 million loss from the Trump Corporation… “DJT Holdings lost $55.2 million,” the JCT report said. The report also said that “Mr. Trump’s lawyers and IRS employees have had trouble getting along in the past.” Trump’s trademark LLCs are expected to be more profitable than his real estate businesses. This is because of the attention he got from his time on NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

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