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02 October 2016

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To the limited (close to zero) extent I understand this, it's a case of "The scandal is not what is illegal, it's what's legal.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-tax-numbers-tighten-focus-on-treatment-of-losses-1475415294

"Typically, for federal returns, such net operating losses can be carried backward for two years to offset past income and then kept on a taxpayer’s books for 20 years going forward, though Mr. Trump’s losses could only qualify for a 15-year carryforward under the law at the time.

"Also, real-estate developers can generate losses more easily than other taxpayers. First, they can take deductions for depreciation of their property. Second, they deduct the interest when they borrow. And third, unlike investors in other businesses, they can use those losses to offset their other income."

I,e., it appears as if developers can, somewhat uniquely, use carried loses on real estate to offset not just future income-in-kind (real estate), but *any* income.

Anyway, it being October 2016, the legality of this probably takes second place to the optics.

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