It ain't ISIS. It ain't Mexicans. It' ain't Hillary. Not even Megyn Kelly. It's the IRS and the fear someone may release his tax returns. The Donald is a classic narcissist. He has an inflated sense of self-worth, which means he hates being treated as a common, unremarkable person as much as he loathes being put down and humiliated. Hence, Donald will go to his grave before he lets the world know his claim of great financial wealth is an embarrassment and he is quite an unremarkable person.
DCJ: His biggest write-off would be depreciation of real estate. Most Americans can only deduct $25,000 of depreciation. If you have a job that pays $75,000 and you’re a landlord on the side, you can only take $25,000 to offset your paycheck, no matter how much value your property loses to depreciation. But Congress enacted this special rule in the 1990s that says if you’re a full-time real estate person — and “full-time” in this case is 15 hours a week — then you can take unlimited deductions as your property depreciates.
And then he’s probably writing off his luxurious lifestyle as a business expense. You’re not allowed to take personal expenses against your taxes. But Trump almost certainly set it up so his 757 jet is owned by one of his businesses. He certainly has a letter from his security adviser that says that it’s not safe for him to travel commercially because he might be kidnapped or attacked. That allows him to use the jet for personal use and pay nothing for it except the taxes on the value. The taxes on a round-trip flight to Paris would come to less than $900, even though he’s flying in his own personal 757 jet. He undoubtedly doesn’t go anywhere without it being a business expense. In all likelihood, his whole lifestyle is funded like that. I’m sure that he is able to charge a lot of his luxurious lifestyle to the tax system. People need to understand that very wealthy people don’t just avoid paying taxes. For people like Donald Trump and Mitt Romney, the income tax is a source of wealth. The rest of us are burdened by it, but they get rich off it.
Let’s say Trump deferred the taxes on a year of his salary from “The Apprentice.” That is effectively a zero-interest loan. Trump claimed he got $65 million per year from “The Apprentice,” which anybody who knows anything about television knows is absurd. And NBC said publicly that it was absurd. But let’s assume he made $65 million.
The federal income tax on that year’s salary would have been about $23 million. Trump says he’s a world-class investor, so let’s assume he nets 10 percent per year on the $23 million he didn’t pay. At the end of 20 years, he could then pay the $23 million in deferred taxes, which has been eroded by inflation, and he would pocket the gains from investing that money for all those years. That works out to $130 million he would have made by deferring his taxes. This is one reason why the super-rich are getting super-richer — the tax system takes from you and me and gives to them.
Also, Trump claims to be a great philanthropist. But if you have zero income on your tax return — or negative income – then giving to charity has no value to you. Trump hasn’t donated a penny to The Donald J. Trump Foundation since 2006, and most of the money that’s in the foundation came from vendors and business partners. Their donations were really a form of kickback. A legal form of kickback, but a kickback nonetheless.
Trump actually sued a reporter for suggesting Trump wasn't all that rich. One is Trump’s admission, under questioning from an attorneys during a deposition, that he relied on his own “feelings” to assess the value of his holdings.
An attorney asked: Feelings?
“Yes, even my own feelings as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day,” Trump said, according to the court record. “Then you have a September 11th, and you don’t feel so good about yourself and you don’t feel so good about the world and you don’t feel so good about New York City. Then you have a year later, and the city is as hot as a pistol. Even months after that it was a different feeling. So yeah, even my own feelings affect my value to myself.”
A superior court judge in New Jersey ruled that Trump had no case and dismissed his suit in 2009. An appeals court affirmed that decision two years later.
Ultimately, Trump rationalized his defeat this way: “Essentially the judge just said, ‘Trump is too famous,’ ” he told the Atlantic magazine in 2013. “ ‘He’s so famous that you’re allowed to say anything you want about him.’ Well, I disagree with that.” (spoken like a classic narcissist)
Trump said in an interview that he knew he couldn’t win the suit but brought it anyway to make a point. “I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees, and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.”
Yes, we can't let small people intimidate Donald Trump. That would make him look like an unremarkable person who loathes being put down and humiliated.