Carney: New York Times Accuses Donald Trump of Following 100 Year Old Tax Laws

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: Shortly after signing a bipartisan $8 billion funding bill at the White House to combat the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House March 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier today the World Health Organization urged governments around the world to unleash …
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Donald Trump was a successful real estate developer before becoming President of the United States and the real estate industry has benefited from tax breaks for as long as we have had federal income taxes, the New York Times reported Saturday.

This is the closing argument of the New York Times after four years of investigating Donald Trump’s taxes:

From the beginning, the real estate industry, with its claim to be a bedrock of the American way of life and its formidable lobbying power and lavish campaign contributions, has held disproportionate sway over how tax laws are written.

Tax breaks for real estate have been embedded in the federal income tax law for a century. New benefits sprouted up every few years. Even when lawmakers cracked down on business-friendly tax treatment, they often made special exceptions for real estate.

“The real estate industry has enjoyed the most lucrative tax breaks for decades,” said Victor Fleischer, a tax law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and former chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. The industry “thinks of the tax code as a basket of goodies to feast on rather than a financial obligation of doing business.”

The analysis piece by Jesse Drucker and  2017 Trump tax cuts made one of the tax breaks Trump has used recently—a credit for historical preservation related to his transforming the Old Post Office Building in Washington into a luxury hotel—less valuable.

“The 2017 law made that tax benefit less generous, reducing it to 4 percent from 20 percent of the rehabilitation costs,” Drucker and Stewart write.

That means Trump will still get to use the credit for the D.C. hotel he built in 2016 but new preservation projects will get less of a break.

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