Politics - News Analysis
Ivanka Faces Serious Criminal Exposure Over NYT Report: Acted as a ‘Consultant’ to Trump Org to Hide Income
Tax laws and navigating tax law as either an attorney or prosecutor is notoriously difficult. There are three areas of law in which one doesn’t “dabble,” it requires a specialist; tax, immigration law, and intellectual property. But, from a birds-eye view, all tax law problems boil down to decreasing the total paper profit (the taxable portion of the income) by increasing expenses that provide individual benefit. If an individual needs a car, have the company buy a company car (sometimes legal). The idea is straight forward.
Apply that logic to the finding that Donald Trump’s tax returns show that he paid his daughter Ivanka as a consultant, despite the fact that she was a member of the organization. That is against the IRS regulations. If you’re a member of the company, you get a salary and you get bonuses (aka “income”) you do not get “consulting money.”
From the big NY Times expose:
Mr. Trump reduced his taxable income by treating a family member as a consultant, and then deducting the fee as a cost of doing business.
Insert your own joke here about costs of business.
Now, the “consultants” themselves are not identified by name in the tax reports used by the New York Times. But the arrangement was proven by comparing the tax records obtained by the New York Times (confidential) to the financial disclosures Ivanka Trump filed when she joined the White House staff in 2017 (not confidential). Ivanka – as she is prone to do – played it “cute,” she reported the payments from “a consulting company she co-owned,” totaling $747,622, and that number happens to be an exact match claimed by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Vancouver and Hawaii, Ivanka projects.
Ms. Trump had been an executive officer of the Trump companies that received profits from and paid the consulting fees for both projects — meaning she appears to have been treated as a consultant on the same hotel deals that she helped manage as part of her job at her father’s business.
Like all things Trump, they couldn’t even really think of a unique or novel way to commit (alleged) tax fraud. Fake consulting deals with employees (“members”) on their own projects are a big flashing red … hat to the IRS. Ivanka, as an employee/member, managed the two projects. Trump hid income by paying her to “consult” on the projects. In other words, Trump denied the American citizens the benefit of taxes on $747,622. The taxable income on $747,622 we’ll round off to about $200,000 (using some valid deductions, and that might be a little high). Now simply think of the United States as a bank, and Ivanka walking into the bank with a gun and saying “Hand over $200,000!” And you’re getting close to the crime Ivanka and Daddy committed.
Of course, the main theme of the NYT expose is the amount of debt Trump carries (legitimately) and what little income he does have, gets hidden through [not all that complicated] schemes.
Ivanka was already the subject of an investigation into the inauguration committee and the mishandling of that money. Now, this. This is real criminal exposure. This isn’t a situation where she can claim “Well, I was just someone doing the work and they misfiled, not my fault.” No, in this case, as a member of the Trump Organization, she is part of the “they misfiled” too.
This story is only going to get bigger.
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