- A New York Times investigation, published Saturday, found that Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, most likely paid little to no federal income taxes from 2009 to 2016 using legal tax mechanisms.
- Kushner Companies used a deduction known as depreciation to diminish taxable income on properties largely bought with borrowed money, The Times reported, citing confidential financial documents it reviewed.
- Though that isn’t illegal, the documents show how real-estate tax codes leave room for profitable manoeuvring, according to The Times.
A New York Times investigation, published Saturday, found that Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, most likely paid little to no federal income taxes from 2009 to 2016 – without breaking the law.
Times reporters and 13 tax professionals reviewed more than 40 pages of documents that detailed Kushner’s business earnings, expenses, and losses over those seven years. They found that he and his family’s New York real-estate firm used a common tax deduction known as depreciation, which is designed to protect property owners from an asset’s gradual decline in value.
The deduction can benefit investors, as it decreases tax-eligible income and therefore the amount of taxes paid on an asset.
The Times found that Kushner and Kushner Companies used depreciation to their benefit in a series of strategic steps that several loopholes in the tax code allowed.
When buying a property, Kushner, a former chief executive and current owner of the firm, often used his own money for less than 1% of the purchase price, relying mostly on loans and lines of credit, according to The Times. Though profitable, Kushner Companies has consistently been in the red on paper, The Times said the documents showed.
Real-estate tax codes allow for companies to report profit losses that cut down on taxes and can even trigger refunds.
In one example from 2015 included in The Times’ report, Kushner made $US1.7 million in salary and investments but listed a loss of $US8.3 million due to “significant depreciation” of the company’s real estate, which would have diminished the taxes owed.
Kushner’s net worth has risen to close to $US324 million as he used a loss allowance on properties he bought with mostly borrowed money, according to The Times. Over the period covered by the documents reviewed by the newspaper, Kushner’s credit lines from banks rose to $US46 million in 2016 from $US0 in 2009.
There are no existing regulations that govern reported losses’ relations to lenders for real-estate firms.
A spokesman for Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s lawyer, objected to the Times’ review of the documents and said that “following the advice of numerous attorneys and accountants, Mr. Kushner properly filed and paid all taxes due under the law and regulations.”
The Times said that nothing in the documents suggested illegal activity.
The Times’ findings on what it described as Kushner’s “tax-minimising manoeuvre” contrast with its extensive investigation into Trump’s family’s wealth. That report, published earlier this month, found that the president “participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud,” to bolster his gains from the family inheritance.
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said after that report that it would open an investigation into Trump’s family’s wealth, as well as allegations of shady business practices.
The Times’ deep dive into Kushner’s legal manoeuvring comes nearly a year after the addition to the tax bill – shortly before its passage – of a provision allowing for multimillion-dollar perks for real estate investors like Trump and Kushner.
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