New York Times
The federal government’s planned $2 trillion economic rescue package includes financial aid for individuals and industries that are struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
It also includes a potential bonanza for America’s richest real estate investors.
Senate Republicans inserted an easy-to-overlook provision on page 203 of the 880-page bill that would permit wealthy investors to use losses generated by real estate to minimize their taxes on profits from things like investments in the stock market. The estimated cost of the change over 10 years is $170 billion.
Under the existing tax code, when real estate investors generate losses from gradually writing down the value of their properties, a process known as depreciation, they can use some of those losses to offset other taxes. The result is that people can enjoy big tax breaks stemming from only-on-paper losses, even if they enjoy big cash profits in the real world.
March 26, 2020
Hours after the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, President Donald Trump on Wednesday night announced a 30-day travel ban on most of Europe. But among the countries he excluded were two where he has hotels and golf courses that have been struggling financially: the UK and Ireland.
Trump has two properties in the UK — Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links in Scotland — as well as another in Doonbeg, Ireland.
The new travel restrictions, announced by Trump in a televised Oval Office address, temporarily bar foreign nationals starting Friday from traveling to the US from 26 European countries that are part of what is known as the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
March 12, 2020
The Trump Organization paid bribes, through middlemen, to New York City tax assessors to lower its property tax bills for several Manhattan buildings in the 1980s and 1990s, according to five former tax assessors and city employees as well as a former Trump Organization employee.
Two of the five city employees said they personally took bribes to lower the assessment on a Trump property; the other three said they had indirect knowledge of the payments.
The city employees were among 18 indicted in 2002 for taking bribes in exchange for lowering the valuations of properties, which in turn reduced the taxes owed for the buildings. All of the 18 eventually pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan except for one, who died before his case was resolved.
No building owners were charged, though the addresses of some of the properties involved became public. Trump Organization buildings were not on that list. No evidence has emerged that Donald Trump personally knew of or participated in the alleged bribery.
March 11, 2020