Donald Trump hasn’t released his tax returns, which has allowed Hillary Clinton to publicly speculate the reason is that he hasn’t paid any taxes. Whatever the reason is, that’s probably the last thing Trump is hiding. When Hillary brought up that there were years in the seventies that Trump didn’t pay taxes, he replied that it made him smart. Clearly legally reducing his tax burden isn’t something he’d be ashamed of doing – and quite frankly, I don’t think there’s a single person on earth who would pay a dime more in taxes than legally required.
But just the other day, a “bombshell” New York Times piece dropped, providing ammunition to millions of liberals nationwide who had never taken an accounting course before. What did they find? That in 1996, Trump reported a net loss of $915 million in income. The Times argues this is a number large enough that it could wipe out Trump’s tax burden for the following eighteen years, assuming annual income of $50 million.
Of course, $50 million a year in salary is chump change for a man whose net worth is nearly $4 billion according to Forbes. In fact, if we look at Trump’s estimated net worth over time, he’s clearly made enough money where the $915 million write-off would be long gone. Looking back, Trump’s net worth was in negative territory in the late nineties. Had his net worth been zero back then, it would have to be lower than $915 million today for that write-off to still be in play.
Now to the bigger point: is there a single person on this planet who pays more in taxes than they’re legally required? They don’t – and Hillary Clinton is one of them.
The “awkward” finding? That she wrote off nearly $700k in capital losses against her own income in the past.
Oh, and you know who else does this? The New York Times. The NYT itself is also perfectly happy to take advantage of the US tax to minimize the amount of money it pays to the government: in 2014 the company got a tax refund of $3.6 million despite having a $29.9 million pretax profit, an effective negative tax rate for 2014, which it explained was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations.
So what’s the scandal here? That Donald Trump did what his opponent and the one who leaked this information did? I don’t know why Trump hasn’t released his taxes yet, but whatever the reason is, it isn’t that he’s hiding not paying tax.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]