Author: Scott Horsley

How Donald Trump Would Be Able To Not Pay Income Taxes For 18 Years

Julie Jacobson/AP We don’t really know what Donald Trump paid in taxes, because unlike every other major presidential candidate in the last four decades, the GOP nominee has refused to release his tax returns. But the New York Times offers a tantalizing theory that Trump could have legally escaped income tax liability on hundreds of millions of dollars, thanks to staggering losses from two decades ago. That he could have done so while still enjoying a lavish lifestyle is testament to both the flexibility of the federal tax code—especially when it comes to real estate professionals—and the willingness of creditors and investors to keep propping up a businessman who had already lost nearly a billion dollars. The Times account is based on a fragmentary sample of Trump’s tax returns from a single year that were leaked to the newspaper by an anonymous source. Trump’s former accountant confirmed their authenticity for the paper. The forms show that in 1995, Trump claimed a business loss of nearly $916 million. Much of that likely resulted from Trump’s business losses in previous years, including money-losing casinos in Atlantic City and the Trump Shuttle airline. At the time, the tax code allowed such losses to be “carried forward” up to 15 years, offsetting income and reducing or even eliminating tax liability and carried backward on income up to 3 years prior. (The allowance has...

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Your Cheat Sheet To The Issues That Could Come Up In The Presidential Debate

Democrat Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican Donald Trump, right, will debate for the first time Monday night. AFP/AFP/Getty Images Lots of issues that affect Americans’ daily lives will likely come up at Monday night’s first presidential debate. Here’s a cheat sheet of what to know about a host of issues of significance, from taxes and jobs to the military and immigration: Taxes Donald Trump wants to cut income tax rates while capping deductions for the wealthy. He would also reduce the business tax rate to 15 percent and eliminate the estate tax. The conservative Tax Foundation estimates that his plan would reduce federal revenue by $4.4 to 5.9 trillion over the next decade, which is a lot, but down from $10 trillion estimated from his original plan. Some of that could be offset by economic growth, but even using “dynamic scoring,” the foundation says the plan cuts tax revenue by $2.6 to 3.9 trillion over 10 years. (The higher figure is if the 15 percent business tax rate is applied to “pass through” entities.) Donald Trump’s series of tax cuts and military spending could cost between $3 trillion and $6 trillion over a decade. Clinton’s tax increases on the wealthy would bring in $1 trillion or more. Domenico Montanaro/Scott Horsley/NPR/Tax Foundation/Tax Policy Center hide caption toggle caption Domenico Montanaro/Scott Horsley/NPR/Tax Foundation/Tax Policy Center The biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s tax cuts...

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Donald Trump Has A Foundation Problem

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks prior to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arriving on stage for a rally in Jacksonville, Fla. last month. Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images Donald Trump has long insisted he’s uniquely qualified to fix a political system corrupted by campaign contributions because he knows that system inside and out. “I give to everybody,” Trump said in a Fox News debate last summer. “When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later? I call them. They are there for me.” Those words are hanging over Trump this week as he fields questions about a three-year-old campaign contribution he made to a fundraising committee for Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi. That contribution has drawn scrutiny in part because the $25,000 came from Trump’s non-profit charitable foundation — in violation of IRS rules — and because the foundation failed to properly report the gift on its tax return. The foundation incorrectly reported that the money went to an unrelated charity in Kansas with a similar name. “There’s a problem first of all with a charity giving a political contribution and then it looks like there’s a problem with giving false information to the IRS,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group. CREW filed a complaint over the...

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