Another Day, Another Hit Piece

This time it’s taxes. The New York Times headlines: “How Much Does Donald Trump Pay in Taxes? It Could Be Zero.” What follows is an explanation of the tax laws that apply to real estate developers:

Even with hundreds of millions in gross revenue from his vast real estate empire, “it’s both possible and legal that Donald Trump would pay little or no income tax,” said Len Green, an accountant and chairman of the Green Group, a tax and accounting advisory firm. Mr. Green is also a real estate investor, teaches at Babson College and is the author of the forthcoming “The Entrepreneur’s Playbook.”

“I would expect he’s paying little or no tax,” agreed Steven M. Rosenthal, a veteran tax lawyer and senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy center.

That’s because Mr. Trump, as a prominent and active developer, can take advantage of some of the most generous tax breaks in the federal tax code to reduce his reported income to near zero, or even report a loss.

A reader supplies some alternative headlines:

How Much Does Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Pay in Taxes? It Could Be Zero

How Much Does Donald Trump John Kerry Pay in Taxes? It Could Be Zero

How Much Does Donald Trump Debbie Wasserman Schultz Pay in Taxes? It Could Be Zero

How Much Does Donald Trump Elizabeth (“Princess Liawatha”) Warren Pay in Taxes? It Could Be Zero

Is there an issue lurking here somewhere? It’s hard to say. Our reader comments:

…so is Hillary proposing to eliminate deduction of depreciation for real estate?…..eliminate the Like Kind Exchange rule? What has the real estate developer lobby contributed to her? Would her Wall Street donors be excited about these tax changes?

Don’t expect anyone to ask those questions.