Although Jared Kushner’s net worth has soared over the past decade, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law has barely paid any federal income taxes during that time, according to the New York Times. The paper reviewed confidential financial documents that suggest Kushner has used “a common tax-minimizing maneuver” to claim he had million of dollars in losses, although they were “only on paper.” Specifically, he was able to do this thanks to the tax benefit known as depreciation that assumes the value of buildings decline every year when the reality is usually the opposite as real estate tends to increase in value.
The Times came to its conclusion after reviewing a document that was created with Kushner’s help by an institution that was considering lending him money. The document, which totals more than 40 pages, describe the outlines of Kushner’s finances from 2009 to 2016. The paper consulted with tax accountants and lawyers who all agreed that the documents seem to show Kushner “appeared to have paid little or no federal income taxes during at least five of the past eight years.” Yet offhand it doesn’t look like the president’s son in law broke any laws, illustrating how much flexibility real estate investors get in how they calculate their own taxes. In last year’s overhaul of the country’s tax laws, real estate investors saw an expansion of many of the benefits they already enjoyed.
The summaries of Kushner’s finances outlined in the document include an estimate of how much tax he owed in the previous year as well as how much he paid in anticipation of taxes he would owe the following year. For most of the years included in the analysis, both numbers were listed as zero, reports the paper. “If I had to live my life over again, I would have been in the real estate business,” said Jonathan Blattmachr, a trusts and estates lawyer who reviewed the documents. “It’s fantastic. You get tax deductions for things you don’t pay for.”
A spokesman for Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, denied any wrongdoing but said he would not respond to documents that were “obtained in violation of the law and standard business confidentiality agreements.”
The revelation about the way Kushner likely avoided paying taxes for several years comes shortly after the Times published a huge bombshell investigate report that concluded Trump and his family took part in fraud to shield their fortune from taxes. The tax evasion allowed Fred Trump to funnel at least $413 million in today’s dollars to his son, according to the Times report.