DAVID CAY JOHNSTON – How to Pay Taxes (NOT!) Like Donald Trump

Imagine if you, like President-elect Donald Trump, didn’t have to pay a nickel to support the government he’s now preparing to lead.

Trump, who has refused (unlike every other presidential candidate in recent history) to release his tax returns, made his last known payment to the IRS in 1977.

In fact, thanks to a tax trick quietly deployed by a bunch of rich Americans a quarter-century ago, I calculate that Trump will not owe income taxes until at least 2042, when he would turn 96 years old. At that point, he’ll be well into his post-presidential pension, ponied up by Americans who are not as “smart” as he said he is about the tax code.

The trick Trump used to eliminate his tax bill effectively allowed business losses to be deducted twice: Once by the banks that had to write off unpaid loans and a second time by the borrowers — in this case, Trump, who was allowed to convert the unpaid debts from taxable income into a tax loss for himself.

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