Random thoughts. Clearly I’m not a tax attorney.


My trolls have been working overtime the last few days.

“Clearly you are not a tax attorney. Your comments on tax law are far off base,” wrote someone who is a reader, if not a fan.

I am sorry for not having previously disclosed that I am not a tax attorney.

I have been doing some reading lately about tax law, what with the news that Donald Trump claimed a billion dollar loss in 1995 and likely paid no income tax for at least the following two decades.

The New York Times reports:

More than 500,000 individual taxpayers took advantage of the same tax rule as Mr. Trump in 1995, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The average loss they claimed, however, was just $97,600. Mr. Trump’s $916 million loss accounted for almost 2 percent of the national total.

When confronted with his failure to pay income tax during the debate with Clinton, Trump said that he could do it because he was smart.

Other Trump defenders explained it by saying he broke no laws.

Whether or not he broke any laws is to be determined.

But to me – and I’m no tax attorney – something else is wrong here.

I never lost a billion dollars. I never lost $97,000 in one year in my entire life. As a teacher, there were only a couple of years that I made that much money.

I am willing to wager that not one of you reading this ever lost a billion or $97,000.

Trump lost a billion dollars in 1995 while owning a casino.

I thought the house always won.

Could you lose a billion dollars – let alone make a billion dollars – in one year?

It is likely that Trump didn’t even lose his own money.  Trump still  got to claim it as a personal deduction.

Trump’s tax attorney from 1995 says that the number was so large his software didn’t allow him to enter the number in the computer and he had to enter it in using an IBM Selectric typewriter.

So, what’s really wrong here?

A system where 50 million Americans live below the official poverty line and the Donald Trumps get to claim a billion dollar tax loss.

5 Replies to “Random thoughts. Clearly I’m not a tax attorney.”

  1. I am also not a tax attorney, but something is clearly amiss when I a lowly public school teacher pay far more federal income tax than a self-professed billionaire.

  2. He may be right that he didn’t break any laws but let’s face it the tax system in place is geared toward benefiting the wealthy. A lot of wealthy people don’t have income per se also. They live off of capital gains taxed at 15 to 20% for top bracket. Carried interest tax is another loophole for the rich.

  3. The only way Trump is smart is because he hired a tax man to do his taxes. He knows nothing about the tax laws, but his accountant and tax preparer does. So who knows the tax law well enough to ‘fix it’?

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