Local CPA explains how Trump could have avoided paying federal income tax for years

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Sacred Heart University, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Fairfield, Connecticut. (Evan Vucci/AP)

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – When the Donald Trump’s 1996 tax records were released this weekend, many had questions as to how the rich avoid paying federal income tax. The New York Times reported Trump had a $916 million loss in 1995. Tax experts explained the loss could’ve saved Trump from paying federal income tax for 18 years.

The New York Times reported Trump had a $916 million loss in 1995. Tax experts explained the loss could’ve saved Trump from paying federal income tax for 18 years.

“I was not shocked at all, because I understand that whenever you’ve got a company and you’re investing a  lot of money into that company, a lot of times on paper that company will produce a loss,” CPA Rachel Santana of Hamilton and Phillips in Brandon said. “That loss go straight to your personal tax return and reduces down any other income you have.”

Santana tells News Channel 8 there are many ways the rich or anyone can avoid paying federal income tax.

“Whether it’s fair I guess is in the eye of the beholder but it certainly is in the tax code to take advantage of,” Santana said.

“What they look for are deductions and things they can write off,” she said. “One of the biggest would be mortgage interest. The whole thought of that when It was put into place was go out and invest in real estate, in homeownership. Well, you can invest into up to a million dollars of real estate and write off the interest on that. You can do it on a first and second home but that second home can be a yacht, it can be a boat with a kitchen facility on it, it could be a motor home.”

“Our biggest client who is a multi-millionaire has had years where he has paid zero percent in tax,” said Santana.

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