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Trump’s sleazy tax evasion tactics are business as usual for the rich

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President Donald Trump’s hefty losses declared on his taxes were shocking to most Americans who believed his claim that he was a billionaire. It turns out that Trump is actually a billion-dollar loser, having lost more money over the course of ten years than any other person in America. But, it turns out the philosophy of reporting significant losses to avoid paying taxes is a trick the uber-rich have been using for years.

The Nation wrote Thursday that Republicans may have tried to pass a tax bill that simplified the tax code, but it allowed rules to persist that gives the rich an out on so-called losses.

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Citing tax-law professor Lily Batchelder, The Nation noted that claiming losses is just one of the many options that the wealthy can use to hide money from the IRS. Others include setting up sham corporations to funnel money from Trump’s parents to him and his siblings. The Trumps undervalued real-estate holdings, which while at the same time inflating real-estate holdings to show as collateral for loans.

Trump’s parents, “Fred and Mary gave their children over $1 billion but paid just 5 percent of it in taxes, despite the tax on gifts and inheritances at the time standing at 55 percent,” The Nation reported.

Some of the ways Trump tried to get away with not paying his taxes are legal but others probably are not. “All are troubling,” the report said.

In the 1990s, Trump used a tactic to “disappear” hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid paying taxes on it. A 2016 New York Times report called it so “legally dubious” that one of his lawyers warned the IRS would probably come after him.

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“He has aggressively fought to reduce what he owes to state and local governments by arguing that the on-paper value of his properties should be lowered, even claiming to tax authorities that his holdings were worth less than the value he assigned them in other legal documents,” The Nation said.

It’s unknown whether what Trump did is illegal without having access to the actual tax returns, which Trump has refused to turn over. It’s unclear if that’s his reasoning. He’s told advisors that he doesn’t want to release the taxes so that they don’t fall under the scrutiny of tax experts who could uncover flaws. If he avoided paying taxes, the IRS would likely come calling for back taxes with hefty penalties.

“The more income people have, the larger the share of it they are likely to have misreported to the IRS. This phenomenon is most acute for the richest 1 percent; those most likely to accurately report their taxes, on the other hand, are the lowest-income filers,” explained the reported.

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After years of budget cuts to the IRS, they’ve become a “toothless” entity, unable to hold wealthy tax avoiders accountable. The annual budget has been cut by $2 billion since 2010 when the GOP took over Congress. With it, audits fell by 42 percent, primarily for the rich, with the top 1 percent benefitting the most.

“As it’s gone easier on the rich, the agency has kept its sights trained on the poor,” The Nation said. “While the audit rate for those making millions of dollars a year has fallen 52 to 70 percent, it has dropped by only about a third for people who receive the earned income tax credit.”

If there’s a tax-evasion problem, it exists at the top and American bills aren’t being paid because of it.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

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On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

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Facebook bans far-right website from pro-Trump advertising after they try to skirt transparency rules

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On Thursday, NBC News reported that Facebook has banned the Epoch Times from placing political advertisements, after the right-wing website tried to conceal its multimillion-dollar dark money streams and get around the social network's political advertising transparency rules in its propaganda supporting President Donald Trump.

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GOP leaders are pressuring Kansas Republican to resign from Congress immediately: report

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On Thursday, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Republicans in Kansas and Washington are pressuring Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS) to step down after just eight months in office.

It is currently unclear why they are calling for his resignation.

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