Kushner used a “common tax-minimizing maneuver,” Times reporters Jesse Drucker and Emily Flitter wrote, to make it look like his company was losing money year after year, despite his net worth increasing by a multiple of five (to $324 million) in the same period of time.
Kushner Companies’ losses, however, were “only on paper” and were “driven by depreciation, a tax benefit that lets real estate investors deduct a portion of the cost of their buildings from their taxable income every year,” the Times said.
The documents obtained by the Times came from a business deal where another company was assessing whether to loan Kushner’s company money. The financial disclosure included details about Kushner’s personal taxes. In response to the story, a Kushner spokesperson told the paper that Kushner “paid all taxes due.”
The recent tax bill passed by the Republican Congress and signed by Trump will make it even easier for wealthy real estate owners like Kushner and the president to take these kinds of deductions to avoid taxes in future years.
“The Trump administration was in a position to clean up the tax code and promised to get rid of some of the complexity that certain taxpayers use to their advantage,” tax law professor Victor Fleischer told the Times. “Instead, they doubled down on those provisions, particularly the ones they have familiarity with to benefit themselves.”
Kushner wasn’t the only one to benefit from this tax loophole: Kushner’s father Charles also used the same type of tax deduction and did not pay any federal income taxes between 2012 and 2016.
But will this new tax exposé turn off Trump voters? Probably not. As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote after speaking to the president’s supporters at a recent rally, “Since most people don’t like paying taxes, Trump fans will probably applaud his family’s multi-generational avoidance.”