Investigative reporter David Cay Johnston told CNN that Jared Kushner has avoided paying any income taxes for the past 5-8 years by exploiting a tax loophole that benefits large real estate investors.
“More than half of the homeowners in this country do not get to deduct mortgage interest or their property taxes,” Johnston said. “If you’re a well-established person in real estate, you get to write off the entire building to offset your other income.”
Johnston broke it down into basic math. “If your deduction for the year for the building is $25 million and your income is $20 million,” he said, “you pay no income tax and you get $5 million to use in the future.”
“That’s what the Times shows that Jared Kushner did from the documents he had,” he said, adding later that the president had “absolutely” been doing the same for years.
“This is not a loophole. This is declared policy of Congress,” Johnston said ruefully. And he said not to expect a fix anytime soon.
The new tax bill may have closed tax loopholes for ordinary Americans, he explained, but not so many for the wealthy. “The real estate loss was protected and in some ways enhanced,” he said, adding that there’s almost no enforcement to catch tax cheats.
“It expanded not only those but gave expanded benefits for private jets,” Johnston said.”Many people are going to discover next winter and spring as they have their taxes done or do them themselves that they will be paying more money because they can’t take deductions they used to get and other things”.
“About 80% of the benefits go to the 1%, and half of them to people who make $2 million a year and up,” he added. “That’s the one in a thousand best-off families in America.”
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