NYT Obtains Jared Kushner Tax Docs And Reveals Consistent Scheme To Avoid Paying Taxes
The New York Times has published a new report showing how Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser avoided paying taxes in recent years by using a tax loophole known as depreciation.
The financial documents the Times reviewed offer a detailed look at how real estate developers like Kushner and Trump manipulate the law to essentially steal millions of dollars — legally — from the American people. And the Republican tax cuts last year made it even easier to do.
The way the tax loophole works is that the law assumes that buildings lose value every year. But as The Times explains, that’s not really true; in fact, they often gain value. But even if they’re gaining value, developers like Kushner can legally claim that the law’s assumptions about depreciation are true, inflating the loss of value so they can report a loss of income.
Kushner is worth more than $300 million and has earned millions off his family’s real-estate holdings but has paid little in taxes, the Times reported Saturday, citing confidential financial documents.
The report concluded that he appeared to have paid almost no federal income taxes for several years running.
The Times reported that Kushner earned $1.7 million in salary in 2015 and offset that income with more than $8.3 million in losses reported as a “significant depreciation” in real estate assets.
The Times piece follows an in-depth investigation the paper published earlier this month on how Trump used a special tax-sheltering vehicle known as a grantor-retained annuity trust to inherit millions of dollars worth of his father’s real estate tax-free.
The strategy minimized Trump’s tax liability on an inheritance of more than $400 million in today’s money, according to the report.
Trump famously defended his use of legal tax shelters and breaks during a debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016.
When Clinton attacked him during the debate for not paying federal taxes, Trump replied, “That makes me smart.”
Trump has kept his own tax returns private, but two years ago, his returns for 1995 showed that he reported over $900 million in losses, suggesting he could have made over $50 million a year for nearly two decades without paying any taxes.
It’s quite the scheme, and last year’s tax law changes made it even easier to pull off.