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Sep 28 2020

Death and…

Well, the one you’ve been waiting for. The New York Times somehow obtained copies of the Tax Returns. It is both interesting and instructive, also very, very long.

TRUMP’S TAXES SHOW CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE

Yeah, that’s the Headline and it’s the Front Page Feature on the e-Edition, takes up the whole first page. If you click through it looks more like this-

The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due.
By Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, The New York Times
Sept. 27, 2020

Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.

He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.

As the president wages a re-election campaign that polls say he is in danger of losing, his finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.

The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public. His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.

The New York Times has obtained tax-return data extending over more than two decades for Mr. Trump and the hundreds of companies that make up his business organization, including detailed information from his first two years in office. It does not include his personal returns for 2018 or 2019. This article offers an overview of The Times’s findings; additional articles will be published in the coming weeks.

The returns are some of the most sought-after, and speculated-about, records in recent memory. In Mr. Trump’s nearly four years in office — and across his endlessly hyped decades in the public eye — journalists, prosecutors, opposition politicians and conspiracists have, with limited success, sought to excavate the enigmas of his finances. By their very nature, the filings will leave many questions unanswered, many questioners unfulfilled. They comprise information that Mr. Trump has disclosed to the I.R.S., not the findings of an independent financial examination. They report that Mr. Trump owns hundreds of millions of dollars in valuable assets, but they do not reveal his true wealth. Nor do they reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia.

The tax data examined by The Times provides a road map of revelations, from write-offs for the cost of a criminal defense lawyer and a mansion used as a family retreat to a full accounting of the millions of dollars the president received from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

Together with related financial documents and legal filings, the records offer the most detailed look yet inside the president’s business empire. They reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image — honed through his star turn on “The Apprentice” — that helped propel him to the White House and that still undergirds the loyalty of many in his base.

Ultimately, Mr. Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.

Most of Mr. Trump’s core enterprises — from his constellation of golf courses to his conservative-magnet hotel in Washington — report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year.

His revenue from “The Apprentice” and from licensing deals is drying up, and several years ago he sold nearly all the stocks that now might have helped him plug holes in his struggling properties.

The tax audit looms.

And within the next four years, more than $300 million in loans — obligations for which he is personally responsible — will come due.

Against that backdrop, the records go much further toward revealing the actual and potential conflicts of interest created by Mr. Trump’s refusal to divest himself of his business interests while in the White House. His properties have become bazaars for collecting money directly from lobbyists, foreign officials and others seeking face time, access or favor; the records for the first time put precise dollar figures on those transactions.

So, outside the criminality and Tax Fraud, the reason he kept them hidden is because he’s not a Billionaire.

There is lots more and you should read it. Here is a summary of Bullet Points from New York Magazine.

The Key Takeaways From the Times’ Trump Tax-Return Investigation
By Matt Stieb and Chas Danner, New York Magazine
9/27/20

  • Trump paid $0 in federal income taxes in ten of the last 15 years
  • Trump only paid $750 in taxes in 2016
  • Trump’s presidential bid may have been a ploy to bolster his flagging empire
  • A new look at how Trump and his businesses may be profiting from his presidency
  • Trump wrote off $70,000 in haircuts as business expenses
  • The IRS is auditing a $72.9 million tax refund
  • Trump’s golf courses are big losers, and lost him much of his ?Apprentice fortune
  • Trump’s debt is massive, and will soon get worse
  • There’s new evidence about how big a stiffer Trump is
  • Trump’s (predictable) response to the Times report
  • How might the investigation change the 2020 race?

More to that also but it at least it tells you what to look for.

The Times says there are addtional stories coming and you’ll no doubt be seeing lots of analysis about what it all means and if it will effect the Polls.