An Expert, Ahem, Weighs in On Donald Trump's Tax Letter
Some of you might have seen the letter released by Trump’s lawyers this morning testifying to the fact that Trump has no financial ties with Russia.
Here is the letter from Trump's lawyers about Russian investments. It is impossible to verify without Trump releasing his tax returns. pic.twitter.com/BispGfVHKc— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 12, 2017
Because it was a good lawyering letter, it included all of the best overly-complicated-terms and phrases. Luckily for you beautiful people, I finished my Corporate Tax class mere days ago, and I’m here to break down the jargon for you.
BREAKING: Trump lawyer: Tax returns from past 10 years show no "income of any type from Russian sources," with few exceptions.— The Associated Press (@AP) May 12, 2017
The letter is, in professional terms, all bullshit.
For starters, the intention of the letter is complete bullshit. Its purpose is to reassure the American public that Trump has no financial ties to Russia, and in order to convey this very important message, Trump opted to use his very own personal lawyers. Who he has been paying for the past 12 years. This does not pass what we in the profession call “impartiality.” It’s the kind of move a guy who claims “my mom thinks I’m the cutest boy” would make. Or at least would try to make except that his mother actively hates him.
Outside of the fact that the letter has no credible relevance, there’s also the issue that it’s blatantly misleading.
You see that line up there with the all of the “sole proprietorships, S-corporations, and/or partnerships”? That line about the income earned by the businesses being on his income tax is true. Because of the business structures, Trump would legally need to list his share of the income the business earned on his tax return. But all the money Trump makes is not necessarily from those businesses. If he accepted income as an individual, it wouldn’t be included in the income they’re vouching for.
So basically what we’ve got is proof that Trump has the ability to pay some lawyers to write a letter specifically testifying to the veracity of part of Trump’s income. Or like I said at the beginning of this post, bullshit.
It’s really too bad for Mr. Trump that there isn’t some sort of easy form by which he could list all of his income, and from whom he received it. Maybe including some separate form that details the different kinds of incomes and sources. And maybe even he could have the IRS double check those forms to ensure their accuracy. Hell, we could even have him release those forms on a yearly basis to ensure we always know exactly where he’s getting paid from. Too bad we don’t have that available. Maybe in a better world.
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