Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump Accepted State Tax Breaks in 2005


 The Wall Street Journal checked county land records and found that President Donald Trump accepted generous tax breaks offered by state governments during his previous career as a real-estate entrepreneur.

Donald Trump was able to deduct $39.1 million from his 2005 federal income taxes by pledging not to build houses on a New Jersey golf course he owns, according to public records.

An appraisal conducted for the 2005 transaction determined that Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. was worth $49.5 million if it could be split into 33 estates, but just $10.4 million as a golf course. Tax law lets property owners impose permanent conservation restrictions and then claim charitable deductions for the reduction in value. Those restrictions curb what future owners may do with a property…

county land records revealed that he has donated conservation easements on at least four of his properties: The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y., the New Jersey golf club and a golf driving range on the California coast. Three of the donations, including the Bedminster one, were made in December, when taxpayers are typically making deductions that can offset that year’s income…

“Trump is not a rare bird in this. This is a common practice,” said Dean Zerbe, a former Republican Senate staffer who helped lead investigations into the aggressive use of conservation easements. “From a public-policy viewpoint of ‘we want to preserve public space, we want to preserve farmland, we want to preserve habitat,’ that’s where you kind of wince a little bit.”

Read it all here.