This could be accomplished by having outside capital for a project, correct? Like if there was a bond issuance or equity and you spend it on the project then you will report all the expenses, but you personally may have a salary.
So a limited partnership might not have issued equity (given that less would be passed down to the individual taxpayer that we are examining), but it could have issued bonds or obtained debt financing any other way, and the spending and interest would all be reported on the partners tax returns, but none of the money that was received would have been a tax event, so it wouldn’t have been reported as income.
Whether the project was a profitable success or not wouldn’t be revealed by the tax returns here, so it seems disingenuous to come to that conclusion based on this information alone. But it would further make sense to sell books to attempt to cover losses, many financial gurus primary business is selling the story instead of taking any financial risk. Even proving or disproving the purpose of the book sells — which inspired millions before this divisive foray into politics — is still a distraction because it is just one data point in time. When we go back to the above point of how expenses can be reported on a personal tax return, creating losses that FAR EXCEED the taxable earnings on a personal tax return, then it is easy to see how scaling this up would always create losses.
If another larger real estate project is started just as the prior one becomes profitable for stakeholders, then there will be greater losses and expenses that exceed the earnings from the older project.
It is okay that a few of the investments are total misses. Even if it bolsters a political group to merely prove that an investment didn’t work out, that doesn’t really change anything. That is a perfectly valid outcome? The buildings are still there, generating income, creating transactions, leasing, renting, trading. It appears that the estate management is well thought out and functioning as intended.
We haven’t even gotten to the assets that are still on the balance sheets, which can be sold. These can have inflated values in line with the broader market, and their presence would not create a tax event. They can be borrowed against, and this would only create another interest deduction. These can far exceed any income transactions, which are tax events. Selling the assets can be a windfall at any point in time, and taxed at a much lower rate than income transactions would be.
Even with a willing participant in revealing tax returns, there simply isn’t an expectation to know what is going on.
Even though this investigation highlighted how partnership entities can pass through losses and gains, the individual taxpayer or limited partnership, can just as easily be a shareholder in an entity that has its own tax return. All you would see are share sales, dividend income, and absolutely no information about what that entity actually was expensing or trading or owning.
At one point I had assumed the President was employing extremely crafty accountants and lawyers to take advantage of nuanced and gray areas of the tax code, but I appreciate how this investigation has demystified this aspect for a time period to show that nothing complex was happening at all.
Average Americans can do all of this one a smaller scale with credit cards functioning as outside capital.
Let me know if I misunderstood fundamental about how these entities and accounting can work, thanks!