International Skeptics Forum

International Skeptics Forum (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/forumindex.php)
-   USA Politics (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=6)
-   -   Criminal Charges Against Trump (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=347810)

No Other 9th November 2020 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eerok (Post 13287598)
Yeah, I'm becoming increasingly hostile to the idea of pardoning Trump. It really does send a poor message to the country. The privileged elite like Trump shouldn't be allowed to skate on such blatant contempt for the law. Him having been president only makes it worse.

When Ford pardoned Nixon... I felt that justice was totally thrown out the window. Unfortunately, our nation has not been the same sense that moment.

blutoski 9th November 2020 01:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13284830)
- Tax fraud: payments to Ivanka as a 'consultant' while she was employed with the Trump organization

Not defending the Trumps, but out of curiosity, how is this considered tax fraud?

I do agree that it might be fraud against other shareowners, but AFAIK, there's no claim they didn't pay the required taxes. Actually, if the Trump Organization was already at negative earnings, moving money out into Ivanka's company that was in the black, they might have paid more net taxes.

Segnosaur 9th November 2020 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blutoski (Post 13288194)
Quote:

- Tax fraud: payments to Ivanka as a 'consultant' while she was employed with the Trump organization
Not defending the Trumps, but out of curiosity, how is this considered tax fraud?

Ivanka was already working for the Trump organization already, so the fact that she received consulting fees is ... questionable.

I believe where it results in tax fraud is that money that would be considered a 'gift' (i.e. "Here is a wad of cash") would be taxed differently than money paid to a consultant (which probably would be considered a business expense, and thus would give a tax break.)

A gift is subject to a gift tax, so if the intent was go give Ivanka some money, Trump would have had to pay taxes on it. By making it look like consulting fees, then Trump would be able to deduct the money transferred to Ivanka. It lowers his tax burden, and because she was acting as a consultant, she would probably claim it as business income (which would probably have a lower tax rate.)

There are also the issue of payroll taxes that might be illegally avoided, if money is given to Ivanka as a consultant, rather than simply rolling it into her regular income that she received from the Trump organization.

Quote:

I do agree that it might be fraud against other shareowners, but AFAIK, there's no claim they didn't pay the required taxes.
Not sure where you're getting the 'no claim they didn't pay required taxes' from.

They may have paid some taxes, but what they paid was based on false reporting.

Quote:

Actually, if the Trump Organization was already at negative earnings, moving money out into Ivanka's company that was in the black, they might have paid more net taxes.
Even if the company was operating at a loss, tax avoidance schemes are still beneficial because they can be used to obtain bigger refunds, and/or declare a bigger loss to be used to offset profits in later years.

By the way, there is one other area of fraud that could be investigated: The use of Trump organization to pay for criminal lawyers used by Trump and his spawn to defend themselves during the Mueller probe. Since the lawyers were not dealing with the business dealings of the Trump organization, but personal activities, it might be considered fraud for the Trump organization to have paid them.

smartcooky 10th November 2020 03:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Upchurch (Post 13288049)
Are you suggesting that Hillary was never charged with anything because of political wrangling and not because the multiple Republican investigations never actually came up with something to charge her with?

She was grilled about Benghazi by the Republican HWMC for something like 10 hours... and try as they might, they were not able to trip her up at all.

blutoski 10th November 2020 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13288326)
Ivanka was already working for the Trump organization already, so the fact that she received consulting fees is ... questionable.

Yes, I'm trying to zero in on why the violation would involve taxes, as opposed to just what I'd consider double dipping.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13288326)
I believe where it results in tax fraud is that money that would be considered a 'gift' (i.e. "Here is a wad of cash") would be taxed differently than money paid to a consultant (which probably would be considered a business expense, and thus would give a tax break.)

Right, but we know it was a business expense. It's an expense deducted from profits from the Trump Corporation, which was operating at a loss and owed no taxes, so there's no reduction in taxes. Meanwhile, Ivanka receives it as income, and it's taxable. Basically, from what I can see all things being equal, it's potentially an increase in taxes paid.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13288326)
A gift is subject to a gift tax, so if the intent was go give Ivanka some money, Trump would have had to pay taxes on it. By making it look like consulting fees, then Trump would be able to deduct the money transferred to Ivanka. It lowers his tax burden, and because she was acting as a consultant, she would probably claim it as business income (which would probably have a lower tax rate.)

See above about their respective tax situations. I don't think 'gifting' is involved, either.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13288326)
There are also the issue of payroll taxes that might be illegally avoided, if money is given to Ivanka as a consultant, rather than simply rolling it into her regular income that she received from the Trump organization.

Depends on how she transfers money out of her consulting company, and frankly, they're probably way above the max contribution anyway. If she's maxxed out at Trump and maxxed out at her own company, she's paying more payroll tax than just getting salary upped at Trump.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13288326)
Not sure where you're getting the 'no claim they didn't pay required taxes' from.

I mean outside of your claim in this thread, this is the first I've heard that the Ivanka double dipping has anything to do with tax avoidance.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13288326)
They may have paid some taxes, but what they paid was based on false reporting.

Was it? I get the impression they were caught because this is what they reported.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13288326)
Even if the company was operating at a loss, tax avoidance schemes are still beneficial because they can be used to obtain bigger refunds, and/or declare a bigger loss to be used to offset profits in later years.

Potentially, but I don't see any indication this is what was going on. It just looks like boosting Ivanka's share of the loot and hoping other stakeholders who wanted their share don't notice.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13288326)
By the way, there is one other area of fraud that could be investigated: The use of Trump organization to pay for criminal lawyers used by Trump and his spawn to defend themselves during the Mueller probe. Since the lawyers were not dealing with the business dealings of the Trump organization, but personal activities, it might be considered fraud for the Trump organization to have paid them.

Absolutely. I'm sure there's plenty of tax fraud going on over the years, not the least of which is omitting loan forgiveness as income, and some inheritance chicancery involving his sister, but when I'm specifically looking for evidence about tax motives for the Ivanka double dipping I'm not finding anything is all.

dirtywick 10th November 2020 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blutoski (Post 13289878)
Right, but we know it was a business expense. It's an expense deducted from profits from the Trump Corporation, which was operating at a loss and owed no taxes, so there's no reduction in taxes. Meanwhile, Ivanka receives it as income, and it's taxable. Basically, from what I can see all things being equal, it's potentially an increase in taxes paid.

You don't see how paying out fees to yourself and your family and claiming them as expenses could turn a profitable business into one operating at a loss?

blutoski 10th November 2020 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dirtywick (Post 13289884)
You don't see how paying out fees to yourself and your family and claiming them as expenses could turn a profitable business into one operating at a loss?

So, two things:

1. not that small an amount of money, it was a rounding error considering the amortized loss was in the order of a billion dollars.

2. the money is now income for Ivanka, who still has to pay taxes

What I'm saying is that there's no net gain that I can detect


What I'd weigh as more likely, is that there are other executives with allegedly similar responsibilities to Ivanka who were satisfied with their salaries because they were unaware she was being doubly compensated. It makes her nepotistic compensation opaque.

dirtywick 10th November 2020 01:45 PM

I mean, she made $700k in consulting fees. That's not nothing.

My guess would be, like her father, they pay for their personal lives and pay out other fees as salaries and consulting fees out of their business accounts and claim that as expenses and losses. I mean, the guy made less money that I did but went on hundreds of golf trips out of state on private planes. Oh those were all business expenses also, forgot. Oh they're staying at their vacation home, sorry I mean that's a place of business that's also actually operating at a loss.

They're shuffling money around and spending it on themselves and calling it business expenses. It's ******** bro.

blutoski 10th November 2020 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dirtywick (Post 13289908)
I mean, she made $700k in consulting fees. That's not nothing.

It's not nothing, but basic math suggests it doesn't move the needle on Trump Org's tax exposure.

There's an old joke:
Q: What's the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire?
A: Almost exactly a billion dollars.



Quote:

Originally Posted by dirtywick (Post 13289908)
My guess would be, like her father, they pay for their personal lives and pay out other fees as salaries and consulting fees out of their business accounts and claim that as expenses and losses. I mean, the guy made less money that I did but went on hundreds of golf trips out of state on private planes. Oh those were all business expenses also, forgot. Oh they're staying at their vacation home, sorry I mean that's a place of business that's also actually operating at a loss.

They're shuffling money around and spending it on themselves and calling it business expenses. It's ******** bro.

I'm sure of it. But those expenses would be there whether it was her salaried compensation or consulting fees. My point is that the motive for the double dipping doesn't seem to have a tax angle.

It feels more like it's hiding the compensation from peers. I'm thinking executives who were only making a couple hundred thou a year and figured that's as much as they can negotiate out of Don because hey, Ivanka's getting that too.

The Great Zaganza 11th November 2020 12:19 AM

There are suggestions, which I personally find credible, that Trump at some point had been an informant for the FBI, probably in issues of Russian money laundering, and as such has gotten some degree of immunity for his own involvement.
It would explain why the FBI and Mueller were so reluctant to go after anything but the most peripheral of Trump's finances.

If this is the case, then any future prosecution might run into the same issue of the FBI refusing to cooperate because it would reveal sources, an easy way for the Agency to stay out of this *********.

So I think it doesn't matter whether Trump gets a Pardon or not - I don't think Federal Prosecutors will get anywhere with investigating him.

GraculusTheGreenBird 11th November 2020 12:56 AM

To those that think a pardon/non-prosecution/investigation is necessary to let the nation heal, may I ask what do they think will happen next time this or another Trump-alike arises?

Do you think that such an approach will be more or less likely to stop criminal behaviour in future?

If it less likely, what is to stop the next Trump from doing worse?

At what point do you decide that allowing criminality in order to placate a minority of the country has gone too far?

Mader Levap 11th November 2020 06:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GraculusTheGreenBird (Post 13290470)
to let the nation heal

It is just excuse so that their scumbag can get away with all crimes he did.

GraculusTheGreenBird 11th November 2020 07:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mader Levap (Post 13290652)
It is just excuse so that their scumbag can get away with all crimes he did.

Its not a rhetorical question, I am genuinely interested in the response from those who support that idea.

We know that Trump has no dignity, no sense of shame, no morality.

Whenever he has got away with one thing, he pushes again to see what else he can get away with. He won't stop, as we have seen, until he is stopped.

So what happens if he rises again, or the next Trump does?

I just can't see how letting him get away with potential crimes is somehow supposed to improve the situation, unite the country, and stop this kind of thing happening again.

Segnosaur 11th November 2020 07:33 AM

Re: How Ivanka earning consulting fees may be tax fraud...
Quote:

Originally Posted by blutoski (Post 13289878)
Yes, I'm trying to zero in on why the violation would involve taxes, as opposed to just what I'd consider double dipping.
...
Right, but we know it was a business expense. It's an expense deducted from profits from the Trump Corporation, which was operating at a loss and owed no taxes, so there's no reduction in taxes. Meanwhile, Ivanka receives it as income, and it's taxable. Basically, from what I can see all things being equal, it's potentially an increase in taxes paid.
...
See above about their respective tax situations. I don't think 'gifting' is involved, either.

First of all, the keep in mind that I wasn't the one who came up with the idea that the use of consulting fees might be tax fraud. Several commentators (such as the "Legal Eagle", who is a practicing lawyer), have made the claim. So, I'm not an expert, just relying on what other experts (that I find relatively trustworthy) say.

But the way I understand it....

Since Ivanka was already working for the Trump foundation, whatever work she was doing should have been covered under her regular employment. So the extra consulting fees seemed to be a 'gift'. Gifts (large gifts) get taxed.

Now, I'm not sure of the exact tax rates involved, but the tax rate for gifts can range from 18 to 40%. (There are certain annual and lifetime exceptions, but given the type of numbers involved, Trump probably exceeded that.)

The maximum gift tax (40%) is higher than both the maximum marginal income tax rate (37%) and higher than the corporate tax rate. So the government could be losing out on ~3% of the value that would be taxed (or roughly $20k) compared to if the money were given as regular income.

Of course, none of this is proven. And maybe there is a valid explanation. (Maybe the payments were to some other consulting company, and it was just coincidence that the payments from the Trump company were identical to that received by Ivanka's company.)

See: Discussion of gift taxes

Also, the Legal Eagle. See ~7:09 for a brief discussion on Ivanka:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE

Segnosaur 11th November 2020 08:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 13290465)
There are suggestions, which I personally find credible, that Trump at some point had been an informant for the FBI, probably in issues of Russian money laundering, and as such has gotten some degree of immunity for his own involvement.

Seems rather far fetched to me....

It would assume that Trump would actually be a reliable informant, and not give incorrect information, or start blabbing to people (both of which we have seen him do.)
Quote:

It would explain why the FBI and Mueller were so reluctant to go after anything but the most peripheral of Trump's finances.
There are other explanations why Mueller didn't delve deeper into Trump's finances...

The original purpose of the investigation was to investigate Russian interference... Mueller may have been hesitant to delve into Trump's financial crimes because they were too far out of scope. Plus, he might have realized that there would have been a lot of push-back from the Trump administration and didn't want to see the investigation stretch out into years. (Remember, Mueller didn't demand a sit-down interview with Trump for that reason... Trump would have gone to the courts to block it, and appeals would have stretched out into months/years. The same thing would happen if he tried to investigate Trump's financials.)

Quote:

If this is the case, then any future prosecution might run into the same issue of the FBI refusing to cooperate because it would reveal sources, an easy way for the Agency to stay out of this *********.

So I think it doesn't matter whether Trump gets a Pardon or not - I don't think Federal Prosecutors will get anywhere with investigating him.
Of course, the FBI wouldn't be the only people involved in such an investigation... the DoJ would probably have its own investigators and auditors. They may also rely on IRS auditors. Investigations of state crimes would involve local police.

And even if the FBI were called on to do some of the investigative work, it would be very hard for them to stonewall, since they would have to give some explanation....
Prosecutors: "Investigate Trump's finances...."
FBI: "We can't do that..."
Prosecutors: "Why?"
FBI: "Well, uh, because.... uh... all of Trump's financial information was on Hunter Biden's laptop, which we lost"

The Great Zaganza 11th November 2020 08:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13290751)
Seems rather far fetched to me....

It would assume that Trump would actually be a reliable informant, and not give incorrect information, or start blabbing to people (both of which we have seen him do.)...



actually, no.

All it assumes is that Trump had an aggressive, competent lawyer who got the Prosecutor/FBI to agree to a deal before they knew exactly what they were getting.
The Epstein case shows that some people can get immunity for no good reason.

Segnosaur 11th November 2020 08:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 13290759)
actually, no.

All it assumes is that Trump had an aggressive, competent lawyer who got the Prosecutor/FBI to agree to a deal before they knew exactly what they were getting.

That would also assume that the prosecutors/FBI were also totally incompetent. After all, we have seen investigators make deals with defendants, only to claim the deal was void if the defendant's cooperation was found to be faulty. (We have seen that with at least one of the people caught in the Mueller investigation.)

It would have to be a spectacularly bad prosecutor to make a deal that gave Trump immunity, regardless of what value Trump brought to the investigation.
Quote:

The Epstein case shows that some people can get immunity for no good reason.
Not sure if that's a good comparison.

Epstein never received 'immunity'. And he was indeed prosecuted and convicted for his crimes earlier. (Its just that his punishment was exceedingly light.)

I am not saying that there isn't a good chance that Trump might receive lenient punishment (or even avoid all punishment) for his crimes. But I think that is simply because the government as a whole has a poor record for going after financial crimes, rather than because of some FBI/Informant deal that Trump might have had.

The Great Zaganza 11th November 2020 08:57 AM

People around Epstein did receive immunity.

SteveAitch 11th November 2020 10:58 AM

Just a thought and, bearing in mind I get most of my knowledge of American politics from this board and The West Wing (the second best series Sorkin came up with*), probably trivial, but it appears that ex-presidents are still addressed as 'Mr President'.

Does that make it likely that, in the (unlikely?) event of DJT doing jail time, he will insist that the other inmates and warders address him as such?


* I still reckon Sports Night was the best.

eerok 11th November 2020 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveAitch (Post 13291037)
Just a thought and, bearing in mind I get most of my knowledge of American politics from this board and The West Wing (the second best series Sorkin came up with*), probably trivial, but it appears that ex-presidents are still addressed as 'Mr President'.

Does that make it likely that, in the (unlikely?) event of DJT doing jail time, he will insist that the other inmates and warders address him as such?


* I still reckon Sports Night was the best.

Sure, he'll be President New Fish.

smartcooky 11th November 2020 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveAitch (Post 13291037)
Just a thought and, bearing in mind I get most of my knowledge of American politics from this board and The West Wing (the second best series Sorkin came up with*), probably trivial, but it appears that ex-presidents are still addressed as 'Mr President'.

Does that make it likely that, in the (unlikely?) event of DJT doing jail time, he will insist that the other inmates and warders address him as such?

President Inmate?
President Jailbird?
President Felon?

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveAitch (Post 13291037)
* I still reckon Sports Night was the best.

IMO, The Newsroom is right up there with them... Jeff Daniels was perfectly cast as Will McAvoy

CORed 12th November 2020 09:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GraculusTheGreenBird (Post 13290470)
To those that think a pardon/non-prosecution/investigation is necessary to let the nation heal, may I ask what do they think will happen next time this or another Trump-alike arises?

Do you think that such an approach will be more or less likely to stop criminal behaviour in future?

If it less likely, what is to stop the next Trump from doing worse?

At what point do you decide that allowing criminality in order to placate a minority of the country has gone too far?

You know, if Trump had graciously conceded and aided in a smooth transition, I could have lived with him being pardoned, or simply not investigated too hard. I wouldn't necessarily have liked it, but I could have accepted that maybe it's better for the country not to set the precedent of jailing a defeated president. But now, after his ******** accusations of fraud, I want to see him spend the rest of his life in prison. If he tries to subvert the military or laws enforcement in an effort to hold power, I want him charged with treason.

CORed 12th November 2020 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smartcooky (Post 13291699)
President Inmate?
President Jailbird?
President Felon?



IMO, The Newsroom is right up there with them... Jeff Daniels was perfectly cast as Will McAvoy

Somehow I think Trump insisting on honorifics from other prison inmates is not likely to go well for him. I hope he tries.

CORed 12th November 2020 10:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza (Post 13290465)
There are suggestions, which I personally find credible, that Trump at some point had been an informant for the FBI, probably in issues of Russian money laundering, and as such has gotten some degree of immunity for his own involvement.
It would explain why the FBI and Mueller were so reluctant to go after anything but the most peripheral of Trump's finances.

If this is the case, then any future prosecution might run into the same issue of the FBI refusing to cooperate because it would reveal sources, an easy way for the Agency to stay out of this *********.

So I think it doesn't matter whether Trump gets a Pardon or not - I don't think Federal Prosecutors will get anywhere with investigating him.

I still think there is a decent chance that he will get nailed on state (probably New York) charges.

blutoski 12th November 2020 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13290708)
Re: How Ivanka earning consulting fees may be tax fraud...

First of all, the keep in mind that I wasn't the one who came up with the idea that the use of consulting fees might be tax fraud. Several commentators (such as the "Legal Eagle", who is a practicing lawyer), have made the claim. So, I'm not an expert, just relying on what other experts (that I find relatively trustworthy) say.

But the way I understand it....

Since Ivanka was already working for the Trump foundation, whatever work she was doing should have been covered under her regular employment. So the extra consulting fees seemed to be a 'gift'. Gifts (large gifts) get taxed.

Now, I'm not sure of the exact tax rates involved, but the tax rate for gifts can range from 18 to 40%. (There are certain annual and lifetime exceptions, but given the type of numbers involved, Trump probably exceeded that.)

The maximum gift tax (40%) is higher than both the maximum marginal income tax rate (37%) and higher than the corporate tax rate. So the government could be losing out on ~3% of the value that would be taxed (or roughly $20k) compared to if the money were given as regular income.

Of course, none of this is proven. And maybe there is a valid explanation. (Maybe the payments were to some other consulting company, and it was just coincidence that the payments from the Trump company were identical to that received by Ivanka's company.)

See: Discussion of gift taxes

So, a couple of things... I've found NerdWallet to be 'meh' on actual financial advice. Basically, I've told colleagues who bring up the site not to take it seriously because there are too many uncorrected errors, hire a real accountant.

I understand gift taxes. I don't buy this theory. If the purpose of the exercise was to transfer Ivanka more money out of the Trump Org without paying gift tax rates, they could just up her salary at the foundation.

No, I think it's more about either trying to hide the fact that the Trump family is a primary beneficiary of what is supposed to be a charity, obscuring her payouts it in contracting fees, OR just not letting the other directors see that she's being higher compensated in case they use this as a basis for renegotiating their salaries to match.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13290708)
Also, the Legal Eagle. See ~7:09 for a brief discussion on Ivanka:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE

Are there text words for this? Basically I never watch videos (who has that kind of time?)

eerok 12th November 2020 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CORed (Post 13292394)
I still think there is a decent chance that he will get nailed on state (probably New York) charges.

That's the dream. I'm among the many people who are sick to death of Trump skating on his lifetime of criminal activity.

blutoski 12th November 2020 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CORed (Post 13292380)
Somehow I think Trump insisting on honorifics from other prison inmates is not likely to go well for him. I hope he tries.

Au contraire. I'm sure Aryan Brotherhood will be happy to call him Fuhrer.

The Great Zaganza 12th November 2020 10:21 AM

Remember that little Special Counsel Investigation started under Trump?

As the report said, Mueller couldn't really properly investigate because of the DOJ memo about charging sitting Presidents.

I think it would be really nice of Biden's AG to finish the project that Trump's assistant AG started.
I think it would somehow complete the Trump Presidency.

carlosy 12th November 2020 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CORed (Post 13292380)
Somehow I think Trump insisting on honorifics from other prison inmates is not likely to go well for him. I hope he tries.

I wouldn't be surprised if Trump would be well accepted by other inmates. They might even like him for being such a con and fraud.

blutoski 12th November 2020 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blutoski (Post 13292396)
No, I think it's more about either trying to hide the fact that the Trump family is a primary beneficiary of what is supposed to be a charity, obscuring her payouts it in contracting fees...

Just to update this - Segnosaur said the transfers were from the Trump Foundation, but this is incorrect, they were from the Trump Organization. So my above does not apply, my suggested motive to hide overcompensation of a director of a charity doesn't make sense, since the Trump Org is not a charity.

quadraginta 12th November 2020 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carlosy (Post 13292415)
I wouldn't be surprised if Trump would be well accepted by other inmates. They might even like him for being such a con and fraud.


With his personality?

That wouldn't last long.

Segnosaur 12th November 2020 01:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blutoski (Post 13292396)
Quote:

Re: How Ivanka earning consulting fees may be tax fraud...

First of all, the keep in mind that I wasn't the one who came up with the idea that the use of consulting fees might be tax fraud. Several commentators (such as the "Legal Eagle", who is a practicing lawyer), have made the claim. So, I'm not an expert, just relying on what other experts (that I find relatively trustworthy) say.

Since Ivanka was already working for the Trump foundation, whatever work she was doing should have been covered under her regular employment. So the extra consulting fees seemed to be a 'gift'. Gifts (large gifts) get taxed.

Now, I'm not sure of the exact tax rates involved, but the tax rate for gifts can range from 18 to 40%. (There are certain annual and lifetime exceptions, but given the type of numbers involved, Trump probably exceeded that.)

The maximum gift tax (40%) is higher than both the maximum marginal income tax rate (37%) and higher than the corporate tax rate. So the government could be losing out on ~3% of the value that would be taxed (or roughly $20k) compared to if the money were given as regular income.

See: Discussion of gift taxes (nerdwallet)
So, a couple of things... I've found NerdWallet to be 'meh' on actual financial advice.

Basically, I've told colleagues who bring up the site not to take it seriously because there are too many uncorrected errors, hire a real accountant.

I understand gift taxes. I don't buy this theory. If the purpose of the exercise was to transfer Ivanka more money out of the Trump Org without paying gift tax rates, they could just up her salary at the foundation.

No, I think it's more about either trying to hide the fact that the Trump family is a primary beneficiary of what is supposed to be a charity, obscuring her payouts it in contracting fees, OR just not letting the other directors see that she's being higher compensated in case they use this as a basis for renegotiating their salaries to match.

I used that site because it gave a couple of basic facts (such as the gift tax rate) that I figure would be correct, as they seem to agree with other sources.

Here are some other sources of information:
IRS
Deloitte (PDF) (a rather well known financial firm)

So I am pretty sure of the basic facts... gift taxes exist, they are usually paid by the donor, and the tax rate can be as high as 40%.
Quote:

I understand gift taxes. I don't buy this theory. If the purpose of the exercise was to transfer Ivanka more money out of the Trump Org without paying gift tax rates, they could just up her salary at the foundation.
Payroll taxes might make that... problematic.

Quote:

No, I think it's more about either trying to hide the fact that the Trump family is a primary beneficiary of what is supposed to be a charity, obscuring her payouts it in contracting fees
What charity? This doesn't really have anything to do with the Trump foundation.

Quote:

Quote:

Link to video from the Legal Eagle
Are there text words for this? Basically I never watch videos (who has that kind of time?)
I watch his stuff because he is usually entertaining. Just so happens that that one video he did was relevant.

Sorry, no transcript, but there are other sources saying similar things.

For example: From PBS
David Cay Johnston: If you're a big enough family in real estate and you're paying income taxes, frankly, I would tell you, you should sue your tax lawyer for malpractice. ...And The Times' documents show things such as the deduction of what The Times says are personal legal expenses, what looks to be a disguised gift of about $720,000 to Ivanka Trump from her father, rather than paying the gift tax on it...

From: AP News
The records obtained by the Times did not explain these fees, but his daughter Ivanka, a Trump Organization executive, appeared to have received nearly $750,000 in such fees. It would be illegal under IRS law for Ivanka Trump to do work as an employee while being paid as a consultant because that would enable Donald Trump to evade employment taxes on her consulting work while also giving him a deduction. It also could be a gift in disguise, Duboff (a NY Accountant) says. “You’ve just given $750,000 before taxes to a family member without having to pay a gift tax,” he says.


From: Vox
Payments to consultants can be legitimate business expenses, and there’s nothing unusual about deducting something like that. But in this case, the consultant appears to have been his daughter.... There’s nothing wrong with giving your daughter a six-figure gift if you are rich enough to do so. But when you receive gifts of this size, you need to pay a gift tax on them. If you structure your gift as a consulting fee, it passes to your heir untaxed. Taking what’s really a gift and pretending it’s a business expense is against the law.

Again, I want to stress that I am not an expert at U.S. tax law. But, I just think that if sources that appear to have knowledge about those laws (such as accountants, or investigative journalists from respectable news organizations) think there is a potential violation of the law, then trying to dismiss them (without alternate expert knowledge) would be a mistake.

Segnosaur 12th November 2020 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blutoski (Post 13292457)
Quote:

No, I think it's more about either trying to hide the fact that the Trump family is a primary beneficiary of what is supposed to be a charity, obscuring her payouts it in contracting fees...
Just to update this - Segnosaur said the transfers were from the Trump Foundation, but this is incorrect, they were from the Trump Organization. So my above does not apply, my suggested motive to hide overcompensation of a director of a charity doesn't make sense, since the Trump Org is not a charity.

I did? Where? I thought I was always quite clear that the payments were from the Trump organization.

The Atheist 12th November 2020 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by quadraginta (Post 13292460)
With his personality?

That wouldn't last long.

Haha!

You just reminded me of the lessons from my mates who have served time - sentences from 1 week to 8 years - and running from minimum security to NZ's equivalent of SuperMax.

The one thing anyone going to prison shouldn't do is try to lord it over other inmates and the best plan is to be as insignificant as possible.

Good luck with that, Donnie!

blutoski 12th November 2020 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13292665)
I did? Where? I thought I was always quite clear that the payments were from the Trump organization.

Post #214.

It's not a big deal, I made the same error, I just wanted to explain why I revised my analysis.

Bob001 12th November 2020 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Atheist (Post 13292715)
Haha!

You just reminded me of the lessons from my mates who have served time - sentences from 1 week to 8 years - and running from minimum security to NZ's equivalent of SuperMax.

The one thing anyone going to prison shouldn't do is try to lord it over other inmates and the best plan is to be as insignificant as possible.

Good luck with that, Donnie!

The difference is that Trump is already famous and would likely be respected by the other cons and even the guards, who are likely to be Trumpers. Gang bosses are reportedly pampered when they go to prison. And he'd probably keep his Secret Service protection, which is guaranteed by law. If Trump was ever incarcerated, it would probably be to something like house arrest at a secure property.

dirtywick 12th November 2020 02:53 PM

I'm sure he'd be in a protective custody unit

Honestly I don't think he'd make it through the trials which would likely drag on for years

blutoski 12th November 2020 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Segnosaur (Post 13292663)
I used that site because it gave a couple of basic facts (such as the gift tax rate) that I figure would be correct, as they seem to agree with other sources.

Here are some other sources of information:
IRS
Deloitte (PDF) (a rather well known financial firm)

So I am pretty sure of the basic facts... gift taxes exist, they are usually paid by the donor, and the tax rate can be as high as 40%.

Payroll taxes might make that... problematic.


What charity? This doesn't really have anything to do with the Trump foundation.


I watch his stuff because he is usually entertaining. Just so happens that that one video he did was relevant.

Sorry, no transcript, but there are other sources saying similar things.

For example: From PBS
David Cay Johnston: If you're a big enough family in real estate and you're paying income taxes, frankly, I would tell you, you should sue your tax lawyer for malpractice. ...And The Times' documents show things such as the deduction of what The Times says are personal legal expenses, what looks to be a disguised gift of about $720,000 to Ivanka Trump from her father, rather than paying the gift tax on it...

From: AP News
The records obtained by the Times did not explain these fees, but his daughter Ivanka, a Trump Organization executive, appeared to have received nearly $750,000 in such fees. It would be illegal under IRS law for Ivanka Trump to do work as an employee while being paid as a consultant because that would enable Donald Trump to evade employment taxes on her consulting work while also giving him a deduction. It also could be a gift in disguise, Duboff (a NY Accountant) says. “You’ve just given $750,000 before taxes to a family member without having to pay a gift tax,” he says.


From: Vox
Payments to consultants can be legitimate business expenses, and there’s nothing unusual about deducting something like that. But in this case, the consultant appears to have been his daughter.... There’s nothing wrong with giving your daughter a six-figure gift if you are rich enough to do so. But when you receive gifts of this size, you need to pay a gift tax on them. If you structure your gift as a consulting fee, it passes to your heir untaxed. Taking what’s really a gift and pretending it’s a business expense is against the law.

Again, I want to stress that I am not an expert at U.S. tax law. But, I just think that if sources that appear to have knowledge about those laws (such as accountants, or investigative journalists from respectable news organizations) think there is a potential violation of the law, then trying to dismiss them (without alternate expert knowledge) would be a mistake.

OK, so the last one is connecting dots a bit... that the invoice was bogus and there was no consulting work done, it was transferring money to his daughter as a gift, *claiming* it was a consulting expense, because the Trump Org can expense it instead of paying personal gift tax. Meanwhile, Ivanka paid corporate income tax on it on the receiving end and/or personal income tax if she passed it out of the corporate entity into her personal ownership (salary in the consultancy firm, or special dividends?) The theory works if we assume the goal is net overall taxes, and the combined corporate and personal income tax on Ivanka's end is less than the gift tax, and that she's already exceeded her lifetime exemption of $11MM.

It still feels... highly speculative.

Let's unpack this: the lifetime exclusion for gift taxes at the time was about $11MM. It's possible she had exceeded this and would owe tax, but otherwise just gifting it to her would have probably been tax free on her end... and the years in question, the Trump Org was still bleeding out the $1B loss and would have owed no tax on it either way.

So it comes down to: maybe, if she had already used up her lifetime gift exemption.

Versus, it's perfectly legal for the Trump Org to issue a special dividend to Ivanka's shares, which has almost exactly the same effect, her taxes from dividends would be much lower than from consulting income. So why not do that instead?

Again, not defending their business practices, the Trumps have a lot of crooked schemes, but this one sounds kinda improbable. My interpretation right now is that these 'quotes from experts' are very shoot from the hip, because at first glance, this is puzzling behavior, and this is the best they could come up with on short notice.

But I don't find it a very strong theory.

blutoski 12th November 2020 03:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob001 (Post 13292725)
If Trump was ever incarcerated, it would probably be to something like house arrest at a secure property.

"Golf Club Arrest"

dirtywick 12th November 2020 03:14 PM

Well I think the point is that they turn everything into a business expense to avoid paying taxes, and I'm sure when Ivanka got the money it was funneled into some other business that lost a bunch of money paying for her new shoes and travel or whatever they're doing with it. Donald Trump goes golfing in different states hundreds of times per year, flying on personal jets, eating at upscale restaurants in new suits and spending thousands of hair cuts for his full retinue of servants, taking family vacations on his business properties that's sole business is being a vacation home, but does all of this on a $0 per year salary. In fact, he's losing billions.

How does a guy who has lost hundreds of millions of dollars per year for decades purchase 5 new golf courses that are somehow also losing money? It's a bunch of BS


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:53 PM.

Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2015-20, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.