Why Donald Trump’s Tax Returns May Prove He’s Not That Rich

Posted by on Mar 03, 2016 at 10:23 am

In July, Trump’s campaign in the press release that accompanied the financial filing stated that the candidate made $362 million in 2014. In fact, a close reading of the two documents, especially the PFD, shows that number is actually Trump’s revenues, and not his income, which should be after salaries, IT costs, interest and all other expenses. Indeed, the filing specifically labels these items under such headings as “revenue,” “sales,” “royalties,” “commissions” and other categories—clearly designating them as gross receipts rather than taxable income.

What is Trump’s actual income by my calculations? If I am generous, about half of what he claims, but possibly as little as a third. If that’s the case, and I believe it is, Trump’s net worth is likely a lot less than what he says. It would have to be, or else Trump’s income is pretty modest for someone claiming to boast a net worth exceeding $10 billion. (I’ll show you how I get to my numbers in a little bit. I reached out to the Trump campaign to double check my math, but didn’t hear back.)

By adding up all the revenue that Trump claims as income, a clearer picture emerges of the GOP frontrunner’s business interests. His enterprise looks a heck of a lot smaller than the real estate colossus the candidate claims—and that most of his supporters believe—he presides over. Although, by the way, it’s still impressive.

As far as taxes are concerned, Trump may be paying a relatively small amount to Uncle Sam simply because his business isn’t huge. (Indeed, given the projected modest size of his business, he may be paying an even smaller amount in taxes, thanks to the advantages real estate developers enjoy in our tax code.)

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