Tuesday, October 4, 2016

EPI: $916 million losses aside, there are many ways Trump could avoid paying taxes [feedly]

$916 million losses aside, there are many ways Trump could avoid paying taxes

This weekend, the New York Times broke the story that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claimed a $916 million loss in 1995, possibly allowing him to avoid paying federal income taxes for as long as 18 years. The ability to use a large, one-time loss to reduce future income tax liability is not, on its face, all that objectionable—it simply allows individuals to smooth out their tax liability and avoid being penalized for having a volatile income.1 But Trump's refusal to release his tax returns continues to obscure the numerous other potential loopholes that can be exploited by those at the top that are more arbitrary and objectionable.

Take one loophole that is especially relevant to Trump and real estate developers: "like-kind exchange." Like-kind exchange allows investors owning real estate to defer, and coupled with another loophole in our tax code eventually avoid, paying capital gains taxes.

To see how, consider an investor who owns a stock and would like to invest in another stock. Selling their stock will trigger capital gains taxes. Not so for real estate. Instead, like-kind exchange rules allow investors like Trump to defer paying taxes on their capital gains if they're exchanging the real estate for broadly defined like-kind property.

 -- via my feedly newsfeed

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