How Trump claimed massive tax write-offs: $70,000 on Apprentice haircuts, an investment property that his sons called their ‘compound’, $100,000 on Mar-a-Lago linens and fuel for his private jet
- Trump bought Seven Springs, a historic estate in Westchester, New York, in 1996 for $7.5million
- He planned to build 14 mansions on the site but was stopped by local residents who wanted to protect it
- Instead, he signed a deal with a land conservancy promising not to develop it – it gave him a $21million charitable tax deduction
- He also then claimed $2.2million in property taxes from the house as business expenses
- In 2014, Eric Trump described it as the family’s personal compound where he’d spent summers as a child learning ‘the art of the deal’
- The Trump Corporation wrote off $1.9million in legal fees to the lawyer who represented Donald Trump Jr. during the Russia inquiry
- Trump also billed $70,000 in haircuts as expenses for The Apprentice, before it was taken off the air
- In 2017, $104,433 was claimed for linens and silver at Mar-a-Lago; $197,829 was claimed for landscaping
Trump managed to save millions in taxes by claiming extravagant expenses as crucial to his many businesses, according to the New York Times report.
Among them was $70,000 spent on haircuts, which he claimed were necessary for him to appear on The Apprentice, fuel for his private jet to get him between his many hotels, and a property in Westchester that he claimed was an investment but which his sons referred to as the family’s personal compound.
Trump’s attorney insisted that much of the Times report was inaccurate and he himself decried it as ‘fake news’ on Sunday night.
It lays bare many details of the president’s spending and his business dealings between 2000 and 2018 that were previously shrouded in secrecy.
Crucial to the report is the claim that in 2016 and 2017, Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax.
The large write-offs, some of which are the subject of an ongoing IRS audit, go some way in explaining how he dodged as large a tax bill for as long as the Times claims.
THE HISTORICAL ESTATE THAT WAS BILLED AS AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY BUT DESCRIBED BY ERIC TRUMP AS THE FAMILY’S PERSONAL ‘COMPOUND’
Seven Springs in Bedford, New York, was built in 1919 and once owned by the former head of the Federal Reserve, Eugene I. Meyer Jr. Trump bought it in 1996 and planned to build 14 mansions on the site but was thwarted by local residents. Instead, he made a deal with a land conservancy whereby he promised not to develop the site and he got a $21million charitable tax deduction. He has since written off more than $2million in property taxes from the property as a business expense
Seven Springs estate that was billed as an investment property but which Eric Trump boasted was the family’s ‘compound’
One of the properties Trump claimed as a write-off is Seven Springs, an estate in Westchester, upstate New York, that he bought in 1996.
Eric Trump in Seven Springs in 2014 telling Forbes it was the family’s personal ‘compound’
It was once owned by Eugene I. Meyer Jr., the former head of the Federal Reserve, and was built in 1919.
Trump had hoped to turn it into a golf club and resort with some residences on the site, but local residents opposed him.
Unable to profit from it the way he’d planned to, he signed a deal with the land conservancy whereby he promised not to develop the site and in return, he got a $21.1million charitable tax deduction, according to the report.
He has also claimed $2.2million in property taxes as business expenses.
Eric Trump however referred to it as the family’s ‘compound’ in an interview with Forbes in 2014: ‘When we first bought the property in 1996 I was about 12, 13 years old at the time. Both my brother and I and my father would always put us to work.
‘We were literally riding mowers around, we were mowing all the fields and cutting down trees. It was probably the best experience in my life in that it was kind of the first lessons about development from my father. It taught me the building blocks of what we do every single day.
‘This is a place that’s really special to myself, my brother and my father, this is really our compound. I’ve spent so much of my life here and learning the art of the deal on this property.’
Trump has made four land conservancy deals. It is not immediately clear what the other three are but according to the Times, they amount to $119.3million which is the bulk of his $130million charitable giving.
The New York Attorney General is investigating the Seven Springs deduction and another that Trump received for his National Golf Club in L.A.
LANDSCAPING AND LINENS AT MAR-A-LAGO WHICH RAKED IN $7MILLION IN MEMBERSHIP FEES AFTER TRUMP LAUNCHED HIS BID FOR THE WHITE HOUSE
Mar-a-Lago is the president’s primary residence and one of his most reliable money-makers. While he holes up in there during the winter months, the club that is attached to it entertains its members and their guests.
In 2015, when Trump launched his candidacy for president, many of his sources of income dried up. Mar-a-Lago, on the other hand, saw a boost.
In 2017, $104,433 that was spent on linens and silver at Mar-a-Lago was claimed as a business expense, as was $197,829 that was spent on landscaping. There was also $210,000 to a Floridian photgrapher who has worked there over the years, documenting events. In 2017, the club took in $7.8million in membership dues
He took in $7.8million in membership dues in 2016 from people who were keen to have close access to him.
To balance it as a business, there have been considerable expenses filed in the name of running it.
Among them is $104,433 on linens and silver, $197,829 for landscaping and $210,000 to a Florida photographer who takes photos of events there.
$70,000 ON HAIRCUTS ON THE APPRENTICE, A STYLIST FOR IVANKA, MEALS AND PRIVATE JET FUEL
Trump claimed $70,000 in haircuts as a business expense for The Apprentice
For the 14 seasons that he was involved in The Apprentice until 2015, Trump claimed $70,000 in haircuts as a business expense.
He also, according to the Times, claimed $95,464 in hair and make-up artistry for Ivanka as other expenses.
He billed those charged through nine different companies, according to the returns.
There was also an unspecified charge for meals and fuel for his private jet, which he used to hop between his businesses and properties around the world.
The Times did not give specifics of how much was spent in those categories and when.
FEES OF LAWYER WHO WAS USED TO DEFEND DONALD TRUMP JR. IN THE RUSSIA INQUIRY
The Trump Corporation wrote off $1.9m in fees to lawyer Alan Futerfas who defended Donald Trump Jr. in the Russia inquiry
Another write-off was the fee of Alan Futerfas, who waspaid $1.9million by The Trump Corporation in 2017 and 2018.
Futerfas was hired to defend Donald Trump Jr. in the Russia inquiry and he also defended the now defunct Trump Foundation in 2018.
Williams & Jensen, another law firm, was paid $259,684 for work carried out during the same period.
The lawyers were paid by the Trump Corporation which the president stepped away from when he took office.
Futerfas was by Donald Trump Jr’s side as he gave evidence before Congress in 2017. about his alleged dealings with Russia.
It is not uncommon for companies to write off legal fees as business expenses.