Buffett refutes Trump tax claims with release of annual returns


During Sunday’s debate, Trump acknowledged for the first time that he had used a business loss of US$916 million to avoid federal income income taxes – though he didn’t say for how long, and he said such tax avoidance is common practice among wealthy businessmen.

But The New York Times obtained three pages of state returns in 1995 in which he claimed a loss of more than $900 million – which could have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes legally for as many as 18 years.

As to Trump’s decision to withhold his tax returns due to an audit, Buffett says that due to 2010 creation of the IRS’ “Wealth Squad”, many high earners are audited each year.

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, dismissed the Tax Policy Center plan as fraudulent and said releasing it “wasted everyone’s time“.

Many analysts expected Clinton to follow suit, at least in part, with a broad-based middle-class tax cut akin to what President Barack Obama promised in the 2008 campaign.

Buffett reported an adjusted gross income of $11,563,931 in 2015.

Unlike Trump, Clinton is not proposing a full overhaul of the tax code.

These tax cuts for working Americans and business would result in $6.2 trillion in lost revenue over the first decade of implementation and $8.9 trillion over the following 10 years.

Trump’s plan, the center said, would be complicated. There is a 23.8 percent preferential rate in-lieu of the steeper income-tax rates. Donald Trump without proof had claimed that Warren Buffet had declared over $873 million in losses and not paid taxes. “All but Dollars 36,037 of the remainder was for state income taxes”, he said. So far, every attempt at a major reform of the tax system – including the two big tax provision loopholes noted herein so tenaciously exploited by Trump and other real estate developers – have failed miserably.

The figures from Buffett come after he and Trump have been at loggerheads for months over how much tax they pay, with the Oracle of Omaha previously challenging Trump to meet him to swap tax returns and answer questions, according to Bloomberg. The timing of the proposal appeared to be calculated to deliver maximum political benefit and to appeal to voters who have turned away from her Republican rival, Donald Trump, but haven’t embraced Mrs. Clinton. But the Tax Policy Center found the plan to be heavily weighted in favor of the super-rich. But that presents no legal barrier to sharing tax returns, he says.

However, under Trump’s plan, some income from hedge funds and private-equity partnerships “would retain a substantial tax advantage on their income” because it would be pass-through businesses income that could be taxed at 15 percent.

A pair of new analyses published Tuesday afternoon by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center emphasize the extreme contrasts between the two candidates when it comes to taxes. Clinton’s overall budget proposal would be roughly revenue neutral once you account for her spending proposals.

But Trump would cut capital gains taxes, lower taxes on top earners from 39.6 per cent to 33 per cent, reduce corporate rates to 15 per cent and potentially create a new loophole that could help people in his financial situation. Under current tax law, the share of profits that those general partners receive is treated as long-term capital gain and taxed at the lower tax rates that apply to all long-term capital gains.

Yet, Buffett’s Monday statement reveals that although Trump may know about his own taxes, he certainly was wrong about Buffett. Using old losses to reduce taxes on income in future years is known as a carryforward. Above that for every dollar earned $.15 goes to income tax and the other $.85 to the income earner.

Politics aside, economists have told SmartCompany Buffett’s disclosure of his personal income tax affairs, and the fact that he is paying personal income tax, sets a good example. A few middle class families will suffer a tax rise. George Soros, another billionaire entrepreneur who has supported the Clinton campaign, was also singled out by Trump for claiming outsize deductions of $1.5 billion on his taxes.

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