But the Times story also revealed three arrangements in which Trump’s company used the U.S. tax code to its benefit — to lower Trump’s taxes, or to make the IRS refund tens of millions in taxes he had already paid.
In these three cases, tax law experts say, Trump’s company ventured into complex legal territory — areas in which other companies have faced penalties for stretching the rules too far. Both the Trump Organization and the IRS did not respond to requests for comment.
Here’s what we know, courtesy of the Times’s reporting:
1) Trump obtained a massive tax refund based on a claim of $700 million in losses from an “abandoned” business.
The Times article says that Trump obtained a $72.9 million tax refund from the IRS in 2010 and that he has spent the last nine years battling the agency over whether that refund was proper. The Times said Trump got the refund, in part, because he claimed more than $700 million in losses from a partnership he had “abandoned” in 2009.
The Times said that it could not identify the partnership that formed the basis for this refund but that, based on timing, it may have been Trump’s troubled Atlantic City casino business.
Tax law experts said the “abandonment” provision in the law allows taxpayers to walk away from a partnership and then claim credit for years’ worth of losses from the partnership. But there’s a catch: If the taxpayer got anything valuable out of the partnership’s end — even the forgiveness of a debt — then the provision doesn’t apply. The taxpayer can claim far fewer tax benefits from the losses.
“Not a dollar. Nothing. Not one penny,” said Mark Cook, a partner at the accounting and consulting firm SingerLewak in Irvine, Calif. “The moment you