Trump, WH blend denials, justifications in reaction to New York Times story on taxes

While President Donald Trump’s initial reaction to the New York Times’ bombshell report that he paid little to no federal income taxes over nearly two decades was to dismiss it outright as “totally fake news,” his defense has since evolved into defense of tax-avoidance practices.



a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a news conference inside the James S. Brady Briefing Room at the White House, Sept. 27, 2020, in Washington.


© Ken Cedeno/Reuters
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a news conference inside the James S. Brady Briefing Room at the White House, Sept. 27, 2020, in Washington.

In a series of tweets Monday morning, the president attacked the Times for “bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information” and argued he was “entitled” to what he claimed.

“I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits,” Trump tweeted, defending how much he has paid in taxes without directly challenging the specific numbers raised by the Times.

But he did not answer reporters’ shouted questions at a Rose Garden event Monday afternoon.

The paper denies Trump’s tax information was obtained illegally. ABC News has not independently verified the Times’ account.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks on COVID-19 testing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 28, 2020.


© Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks on COVID-19 testing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 28, 2020.

In a story published Sunday, the newspaper reported that the president paid just $750 in federal income tax the year he was elected and that same amount during his first year in office. The Times also found that he paid no federal income tax at all in 11 of the 18 years of information they examined.

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Trump is the only president in modern history not to release his tax returns and could resolve the lingering questions about his taxes once and for all by simply releasing the information voluntarily. But instead, Trump has claimed that an ongoing audit prevents him from doing so.

While it’s not true that an audit prevents the president from releasing the information, as even his own IRS commissioner has confirmed, it is the case that the president is undergoing a decade-long audit battle over a $72.9 million tax refund, the Times report found.

Beyond the intricacies of the Times’ reporting, the story paints a damning portrait of a president who was elected on his image as a wealthy and successful businessman but whose records tell a story of a deeply indebted and struggling business empire stretched beyond its means.

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The president’s evolving defense to the report followed a “Fox and Friends” appearance by his son and business partner Donald Trump Jr., who similarly attacked the report without disputing its key claims and defended the use of maneuvers by the president to lower his tax bill.

“It’s ridiculous. My father has paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes, if he does things where you get depreciation, where you get historical write-offs like we did when we took on the risk of building the Old Post Office in

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De Blasio says Madison Square Garden, other NYC sports venues should pay more taxes

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he supports calls to compel the owners of local sports stadiums, including Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium, to pay more taxes to aid the city’s bid to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

De Blasio, a Democrat, was asked at his daily press briefing to respond to a letter last month from nine lawmakers on the New York City Council who called for the Garden, Yankee Stadium, the Barclays Center and Citi Field to pay property taxes. The mayor said he hasn’t seen the letter and was unfamiliar with the legal specifics, but supported the concept of requiring New York’s local teams to increase their contributions.

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“Let’s be clear – sports franchises have gained incredible value over the years,” de Blasio said. “They clearly have the resources. I think the history in this city and pretty much all over the country was stadium deals were not good deals for the public, by and large. Some of the more recent ones have been better, but mostly they haven’t been that good. Everything should be reevaluated especially at a point when the city is going to need resources for our recovery.”

Representatives for Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium could not immediately be reached for comment on de Blasio’s remarks.

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The letter from the New York City councilmembers included a specific call to end a tax break that has exempted Madison Square Garden from paying taxes since 1982. The lawmakers also want the city to renegotiate their Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements with Yankee Stadium and other local venues to increase investments in their surrounding communities.

De Blasio said he also supports a local call to require the New York Yankees to pay fair market rent for their stadium to establish parity with local businesses. He called on the franchise to step up its efforts to support the Bronx during the pandemic.

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“Of course, they should support the neighborhood right around them. And that’s a neighborhood, you’re right, that has gone through a lot over the years and deserves that support,” de Blasio said in response to a question at the briefing. “The Yankees should be good neighbors, reach out to those businesses, see how they can provide them financial support in this tough time.”

De Blasio has faced criticism in recent days for his handling of the pandemic. A group of more than 160 local business leaders, including executives from Citigroup, Jet Blue and Con Edison, called last week for de Blasio to address “quality of life” issues that arose in New York City in recent months, including public safety and cleanliness.

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MSG, other NYC sports venues should pay more taxes

Madison Square Garden and other local sports stadiums and arenas should pay more taxes to help the city through its COVID-19 recovery, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

“I can say as a question of right and wrong what they’re saying is the right direction,” de Blasio commented at a City Hall press briefing when asked by a reporter about a recent letter from council members calling for the state legislature to repeal at 1982 tax break on the Garden.

The nine local lawmakers, led by Queens Democrat Costa Constantinides, also want the city to renegotiate payments from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, Citi Field in Queens and the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

“Back when I was public advocate I was talking about the fact that Madison Square Garden should be paying more in taxes,” said de Blasio, speaking of the position he held from 2010 through 2013 before becoming mayor.

“I think the history in this city and pretty much all over the country was stadium deals were not good deals for the public by and large some of the more recent ones have been better, but mostly they haven’t been that good and everything should be re-evaluated especially at a point where the city’s going to need resources for our recovery,” de Blasio said.

“So I think it’s time to look at all of that,” he added.

Both Constantinides and state Sen. Brad Hoylman applauded the mayor’s remarks.

“It’s great to hear the Mayor is open to having our arenas finally do their part and I hope he’ll engage with them about this,” Constantinides told The Post.

“If the Rangers can pay Artemi Panarin $81 million over seven years, they can surely help make sure we still have subways that get fans to the Garden to see him play,” he said.

“Yes lets pass @BrianKavanaghNY’s bill to repeal Madison Square Garden’s tax breaks and use that money to pay for schools and rent relief,” Hoylman tweeted Monday about legislation authored by his fellow Democratic state senator Brian Kavanagh. 

De Blasio was also asked about a second recent letter from Cary Goodman, head of the local Business Improvement District near Yankee Stadium. Goodman asked de Blasio to renegotiate a sweetheart lease granted by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg that charges just $1 per year for rent on public land.

Goodman proposed requiring the Yankees to pay the same as local businesses — between $60 to $120 per square foot or $100 million a year for the stadium’s 1.3 million square feet.

The area mom and pop shops are struggling to survive without fans attending games, Goodman said.

“We all hope and pray that next year baseball will resume in person at some point in the year and the fans will come back and the businesses will thrive, but of course the Yankees should help them through and I assure you they have the money,” de Blasio said.

Reps for MSG and the Yankees did not immediately respond to requests for

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Home Improvements and Your Taxes

Updated for Tax Year 2019


OVERVIEW

As a homeowner you may be asking, “Do I get a tax break for all the money I’ve spent fixing up my house?”; The answer depends on the kinds of improvements you’ve made and how well you’ve kept track of your expenses. Here’s an overview of how home improvements can affect your taxes.


Young Couple Using A Tape Measure On A Wood Plank.
When you make a home improvement, such as installing central air conditioning or replacing the roof, you can’t deduct the cost in the year you spend the money. But, if you keep track of those expenses, they may help you reduce your taxes in the year you sell your house.

Improvements versus repairs

Money you spend on your home breaks down into two categories, tax-wise: the cost of improvements versus the cost of repairs.

Capital improvements

You add the cost of capital improvements to your tax basis in the house.

  • Your tax basis is the amount you’ll subtract from the sales price to determine the amount of your profit.
  • A capital improvement is something that adds value to your home, prolongs its life or adapts it to new uses.

There’s no laundry list of what qualifies as a capital improvement, but you can be sure you’ll be able to add the cost of:

  • an addition to the house,
  • a swimming pool,
  • a new roof, or
  • a new central air-conditioning system.

Capital improvements are not restricted to big-ticket items, though. Other qualifying improvements include adding:

  • An extra water heater
  • Storm windows
  • An intercom system
  • A home security system

Certain energy-saving home improvements can also yield tax credits at the time you make them.

Home repairs

The cost of repairs, on the other hand, is not added to your basis. Examples of repairs rather than improvements include:

  • Fixing a gutter
  • Painting a room
  • Replacing a window pane

Tracking less critical than in past

In the past, it was critical for homeowners to save receipts for anything that could qualify as an improvement. Every dime added to the basis was a dime less that the IRS could tax when the house was sold.  But, now that home-sale profits are tax-free for most owners, there’s no guarantee that carefully tracking your basis will pay off.

Save when you sell

Under current law, if you have owned and lived in the home for at least two of the five years leading up to the sale,

  • The first $250,000 of profit on the sale of a principal residence is tax-free for single filers.
  • The first $500,000 of profit is tax-free for married couples who file joint returns.

Here’s how to determine the size of your profit when you sell:

  • Calculate the total of everything you paid for the house – the original purchase price, fees and so on.
  • Add to that the cost of all the improvements you have made over the years to get a grand total, which is known as the “adjusted basis.”
  • Compare the adjusted basis with the sales price you get for the
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How to Buy a House For Back Taxes, Dirt Cheap, Without Competition

So you're looking for a smarter way to buy a property, either to live in, or to invest in. Congratulations. If you're reading this article, it means you've leapt out of the "thinking" phase and into the "doing" phase, and most people never make it that far. There are many deals to be had, if you're willing to do a little research.

You've probably heard that tax foreclosure property is a great investment, and you haven't been led astray; but now, you're going to learn how to buy a house for back taxes, dirt cheap, without dealing with the headache of competition. If you're looking for a cheap property to buy for yourself to live in, stay tuned as well-this technique will work even better if you're not an investor!

Right now, throw out everything you've heard or read about tax sales. If you're smart, you're going to figure out quickly that you can't compete with all the big companies that will be clamoring to bid against you at the sale. Tax sale, be it for deeds or liens, is not a place for the savvy investor in today's market. There's a much better way for you to buy a house for back taxes: from the tax delinquent owner himself.

Most people overlook this strategy, which is why you'll find next to no competition. If you've ever tried buying directly from an owner in mortgage foreclosure, then you understand why this is so widely unappealing to failed mortgage foreclosure investors. Frequently you can't get these owners to return your call for the life of you– and if you do get a deal, then you have to deal with mortgage, the second mortgage, the back bills, the back taxes; but when you buy a house for back taxes, it's a different animal.

Why?

Because these houses almost never have a mortgage!

That's right. The mortgage company takes care of any tax problems to avoid losing their interest in the property. So you'll find almost all these houses are free of a mortgage, or they wouldn't be up for tax sale in the first place.

Another thing that might seem counter-intuitive is that the owners will almost always return your calls, and when they do, they're eager to make a deal with you to sell to you, and for dirt cheap, just to get the property out of their name! This is because, as you'll see, many owners of these properties aren't people who are down on their luck, and are losing their homes. They're people who inherited property, or absentee landlords, who have had it with this economy, and actually let the property go to tax sale on purpose, just to get rid of it.

This gold mine of owners can be hard to find, making them great prospects, and you'll be pleasantly surprised to find how many of these owners are ready to hand over their deed for a couple hundred dollars to you, just because they'd rather see it …

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