President Trump’s 2005 Tax Return – What It Tells Us
Yesterday, Tuesday March 14, 2017, while most of the New England area was buried in snow, MSNBC published President Trump’s 2005 income tax return – or at least the first two pages of it. What does the return tell us and what does it not?
The Basics – We know he had a positive income in the amount of $152,737,866 and $103,201,242 in tax write-offs. He paid a total of $38,435,451 in taxes for the year.
The end of the year is the perfect time for taxpayers to make financial adjustments to lower their tax bill for the current year. Making adjustments to income may help reduce tax liability. Income is typically taxed in the year it is received, however, if you don’t have to pay tax today and may pay it tomorrow, why not? Deferring income is an excellent strategy to lower an annual tax bill. However, only taxpayers that expect their tax bracket to remain the same or decrease to a lower bracket should defer income.
Taxpayers that have failed to file tax returns for some extended period of time should strongly consider doing so immediately. Even if taxpayers have filed for an extension, time is of the essence to avoid costly penalties as the IRS assesses failure to file (FTF) and failure to pay (FTP) penalties in this situation.
The failure to file penalty is assessed at a rate of 5% per month or partial month up to a maximum rate of 25%. The failure to pay penalty is assessed at a rate of 0.5% per month or partial month up to a maximum rate of 25%. If the IRS assesses both the FTF and FTP penalties, the FTF penalty is reduced by the amount of the FTP penalty.
Did you know you could be responsible for your parents’ unpaid bills? Ever heard of Filial Responsibility Laws? Well, these are laws obligating you to provide financial support for your indigent parents. Yes, obligated under law. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, 21 states across the country (including states like Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts) allow for a civil action to obtain financial support for indigent parents. At least 12 states may impose criminal penalties on children who refuse to support their parents. Though rarely enforced, these laws may be dusted off by states looking to save money on Medicaid bills.
Of course, none of us “prefer” to pay taxes. Once we do pay our taxes, if we expect a refund, we hardly exhibit any patience awaiting it in the mail. But the IRS is a mega-bureaucracy, which means that things get lost, overlooked, mishandled, and, well I shudder to think. Thus, delays are not altogether uncommon, and failures to process and mail returns actually occur, albeit infrequently. So what do you do if you haven’t received your tax refund?
Most employers impose a dress code for the office. As a result, there are more than a few members of the American workforce who must purchase items including expensive suits, dresses, shirts, blouses, and shoes to observe an employer’s dress code. Many employees have wondered whether the cost of these clothes, often worn only for work, is deductible at tax time.
What will we really learn If Donald Trump ever releases his tax returns? While no technical, legal requirement compels him to do so, it is but a time-honored tradition among presidential candidates acting in the spirit of full disclosure. Trump has acted like it’s not a big deal and that little, if anything, will be revealed by any divulgence. If it’s not such a big deal, why doesn’t he simply disclose them like other candidates? What might he be concerned that voters will really learn from the release of his tax returns?
- Trump pays little or nothing in taxes