In what plays like a Micheal Moore movie set in a dystopian tax haven, the New York Times released a video that details a document of Donald Trump’s 1995 reported operating income. The document details that Trump had a net operating loss in 1995 of over 900 million dollars. The Times seems to want to make the argument that Trump has not paid taxes for twenty years. Their claim is only speculative and lacks any further evidence.
In the video and article, the Times then goes into informing the viewer of business tax law in a way that befits a crime drama. Detailing how, by law, Trump would be able to avoid paying a positive amount of income tax over an extended period of time not in excess of 20 years.
In actual terms, a Net Operating Loss simply means that a company’s expenses for the year exceed their income.
Unlike the Clinton foundation, which doesn’t pay any taxes. Although Trump still files a return and pays his taxes; the law, like in most cases, is meant to protect people. This also by no means suggests that Trump as a company is bankrupt, as Hillary asserted during the first presidential debate. Especially since the company’s total assets can be worth much more than their operating budget. Essentially, the government can “bankrupt” you by the total amount of your yearly income on any given year and not the total amount of your net-worth, as in your house and car etc.
What the Times is detailing is a business tax term – a system which allows a company to carry back 2 years to recover taxes paid that the company might have overpaid, and forward 20 years to offset taxable income in future periods. This is done in order to allow the company to continue operating and generating jobs and income. This essentially has nothing to do with Trump himself; just his knowledge of the tax law.
Trump at rally
Nowhere does this mean that the company will not pay their taxes in the future. Nor does it mean that they have not payed any federal income tax in the past (unless the company ceased to exist or moved their operations elsewhere).
What the Times doesn’t state is that this is perfectly normal. It’s actually legal and necessary for successful businesses facing a tough market. Let’s put it this way, it’s as if on any given year your debts were more than your earnings, but the government tried to charge you income tax on the debt. You simply couldn’t do it. Even if the next year you could earn the money back and pay taxes for both periods.
This tax law (Net Operating Loss) is essentially made to keep businesses on their feet.
The law is made to protect people that may be negatively affected from the executive branch of government’s tax whims, in this case a Democratic government. This does not mean that Donald Trump does not claim or pay income tax, it means that as a corporation, Trump would not have to pay due to his expenses. This is done to weather the economic tides that may hammer down on an otherwise successful company.
One thing the Times has proven is certainly clear, Donald Trump follows the law, and works with it to establish the most viable plan for his business. Let’s face it, in a competitive world, in which some markets offer tax free incentives, it is essential for a company of international standing (or even a small business) to find ways to remain competitive. The only other option is to move their operations into a market that is more business friendly and out of America, as many companies have done.
This is the case under a tax heavy Democratic government that kills businesses, like the one touted by Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump will make the government work for businesses, and not business work for the government.