October 03, 2016 | Graham

Trump’s tax losses are not tax avoidance

If the Donald wants to come back from his tax debacle he will admit to having really screwed up in the ’90s. He will tell people he isn’t proud of his mistakes, but he has learned from them, and he will admit to them.

He will say how grateful he is that America is a country which allows you to start all over again, and that Americans are all the better for that, as is he.

His supporters (not him) will point out that Abraham Lincoln once went bankrupt.

Donald Trump really did screw-up. This not a secret and is well-documented. He lost a lot of money. According to his tax returns, in 1995 the amount was USD $916 million.

That means that until he earns another $916 million he will not have to pay tax.

This is not avoidance, it is how the tax system works – you are allowed to subtract your expenses from your income. If you couldn’t then no business would be able to make money. We would all have to be employees of the state.

Indeed, given the scale of these losses it is likely he paid more in taxes in the lead-up to its declaration than he should have.

If he had gone bankrupt, then those losses would not have been available to him. But his creditors were prepared to give him space in return for partial payments, or time payments, and they did not put him under.

So they were available to him.

There is no shame in that and nothing to hide.

If you are going to target this you might as well complain because donations made to the Clinton Foundation are tax deductible.

Do people make donations to the Clinton Foundation to get a tax deduction? Yes, they definitely do, depending on the what and how of your giving. So donors will give money to the foundation as part of their tax planning, and the foundation will get money that other non-deductible uses won’t. That makes sense.

Did Donald Trump lose money to get a tax deduction? No he most definitely didn’t. That makes no sense at all. He didn’t make the loss for tax planning reasons, he made it because he made a series of collosal mistakes.

Trump could win the election by pointing out that when he makes a mistake, he admits to it. And when he makes one, he learns from it. Unlike his opponent.

And he will do that, unless he is really just like his opponent, and the outsider schtick has been just that – schtick.



Posted by Graham at 8:29 pm | Comments (3) |


  1. This is the first sensible comment I have seen on this subject. The notion, put forward by Trump’s supporters, that he is a “tax genius” is utter rubbish, as is the idea that he is somehow a tax cheat for carrying forward tax losses in the normal way.

    Comment by Brendan O'Reilly — October 4, 2016 @ 8:04 am

  2. Well, he would say that wouldn’t he, given he exploited “perfectly legal” tax and bankruptcy laws (x 6?) to “legally” avoid creditors and the taxman?

    And to hell with the small to moderate firms who were ruined in the process. This is, in my view, a man with absolutely no redeeming features, humanity or morality?

    And appears to be intensively self centred/self serving, totally indifferent and completely callous toward his reported myriad victims? And seems to have successfully avoided all federal tax for a couple of decades, if leaked reports can be validated?

    A tax avoiding, if morally superior? Al Capone should have been as smart!?

    Perhaps that “genius” compounded by delusions of grandeur? Makes him a prime candidate for high public office?
    Go figure!
    Alan B Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — October 4, 2016 @ 9:28 am

  3. The fault is in the coverup. By refusing to release his tax records he departed from a precedent set by other candidates. Presumably he thought that the electorate would see his action as unfair. He did nothing wrong and took the option the tax code gave him to take. Many other politicians have acted similarly. They assume that they can keep information secret, but secrets have a way of coming out.

    Comment by David Fisher — October 5, 2016 @ 4:15 pm

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