President Trump could cut his tax bills by more than $1.1 billion, including saving tens of millions of dollars in a single year, under his proposed tax changes, a New York Times analysis has found.
On Wednesday, the White House announced a sweeping plan to cut a variety of taxes that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy. The estimate of Mr. Trump’s savings is based in part on information from his 2005 federal tax return. The analysis compares what his tax burden would be under current law with what it would be under the proposal.
Mr. Trump’s 2005 return is the most recent available publicly and was released in March by David Cay Johnston, a former New York Times reporter. The Times’s figure also relies on an estimate of Mr. Trump’s net worth, calculated by the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index to be $2.86 billion.
“I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.”
In fact, high-income earners like Mr. Trump are likely to benefit disproportionately if the White House proposal becomes law. The estimates, calculated with the help of Robert Willens, an accounting expert, and Stephen Breitstone, a tax lawyer, provide a view into precisely how.
Savings of about $1.1 billion
from repealing the estate tax
Though it would not be reflected on his income tax return, Mr. Trump’s proposal to eliminate the estate tax would generate the largest tax savings. If his assets — reportedly valued at $2.86 billion — were transferred after his death under today’s rules, his estate would be taxed at about 40 percent. Repealing the federal estate tax could save his family about $1.1 billion, though it could still be subject to New York estate taxes.
Savings of $31 million from
repealing the alternative minimum tax
The decades-old alternative minimum tax is meant to prevent America’s wealthiest from using deductions to pay very low or no federal income tax. In 2005, it accounted for about 80 percent of Mr. Trump’s overall income tax payment. His plan to repeal the tax would save him $31.3 million.
Savings of about $16 million from taxing
certain types of business income at 25 percent
Mr. Trump’s proposed changes could allow individuals to qualify for a significantly reduced tax rate of 25 percent on certain types of income they receive through business partnerships and similar entities. That is up from the original proposal in April of 15 percent, but far lower than the top tax rates currently faced by high-income earners of 39.6 percent.
Mr. Trump could save as much as $6.2 million on business income and $9.8 million on income from real estate and other kinds of partnerships under this plan, compared with his tax burden under current law. (In 2005, much of this taxable income was offset by a $103.2 million write-down in business losses.)
The proposal released Wednesday “contemplates” that Congress will adopt measures to prevent the wealthy from recharacterizing their income to take advantage of the new, lower rate and avoid the top personal rate. If that happens, it could have a big effect on Mr. Trump’s tax bill.
Savings of about $0.5 million
from cutting the highest tax rate
The proposal to reduce the highest tax rate to 35 percent from 39.6 percent would save high-income earners similar to Mr. Trump a relatively small amount compared with the repeal of the alternative minimum tax. The $500,000 in savings is a rough estimate because Mr. Trump has not specified income levels for his proposed tax brackets.
Increase of $3 million to $5 million
in taxes from repealing most deductions
Mr. Trump would probably lose most of the deductions he reported in 2005. Depending on his effective tax rate under the proposal, Mr. Trump could pay roughly $3 million to $5 million more in taxes.
As a resident of New York City, the largest portion of Mr. Trump’s deductions probably came from his local and state income taxes. Under his proposal, mortgage interest and charitable giving would still be deductible.