Donald Trump on Tax Reform

2016 Republican nominee for President; 2000 Reform Primary Challenger for President


Cut taxes by $10T but don't increase deficit

Q: You say you'd cut taxes $10 trillion, and the economy would take off like a rocket ship.

TRUMP: Right. Dynamic.

Q: I talked to economic advisors of both parties. They said that you can't cutting taxes that much without increasing the deficit.

TRUMP: Then you have to get rid of Larry Kudlow, who sits on your panel, who the other day said, "I love Trump's tax plan."

BUSH: The Tax Foundation looked at all of our plans, and his creates, even with the dynamic effect, $8 trillion [in deficit].

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Repeal estate tax; it's double taxation

Q: You would eliminate carried interest, preferential tax treatment for hedge funders. What's the thinking?

TRUMP: Well, the thinking is we have the highest tax rate in the world. We have $2.5 trillion overseas that isn't coming back into this country. So what I'm doing is large tax cuts, especially for the middle class.˙We're going to have a dynamic economy.

Q: But there are two concerns. The Conservative Tax Foundation, says that over 10 years, you would add $10 trillion to the deficit. And there's also the question of who would benefit under your tax plan. The Foundation says the middle class would see after tax income increase 7.2%. The top 1% would see a spike of 21.6%. So between that and ending the estate tax, the Trump family and folks like you would make out great.

TRUMP: The estate tax has been a disaster; it's double taxation.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 18, 2015

Estate tax is unfair double taxation

Q: Under your tax plan, your family would make potentially hundreds of millions of dollars by eliminating the estate tax.

TRUMP: The estate tax is a horrible weapon that has destroyed many families. In particular, farms and things where they make an income and they have a certain value and they have to go out and borrow money and they put mortgages on their farm. Let's say it's a business that's not very liquid, and people have to go out and borrow against the business, you are having travesty. And the other thing is, it's a double taxation. The tax has already been paid. I mean you've been hearing this argument for many years.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Oct 4, 2015

Do away with carried interest; it's unfair

Q: Let's talk about your tax plan. You have said that this tax plan is going to cost you a fortune. How do you get there?

TRUMP: It will cost me a lot of money. I have carried interest, like a lot of other people do, and carried interest is a wonderful thing, but it's unfair.

Q: But that's $20 billion over 10 years for everyone who has it. That's a small--

TRUMP: But it's psychologically so important. If the economy grows, we all make it up. I mean, frankly, the job producers make it up.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Oct 4, 2015

OpEd AdWatch: Trump more liberal on taxes than Democrats

A lawyer for Donald Trump fired off a letter to the conservative Club for Growth threatening a `multi-million dollar lawsuit` if the group does not pull its TV ad claiming Trump `supports higher taxes.` Trump's lawyer says the claim is false & libelous. Club for Growth Action, the super PAC of the anti-tax group, says it is merely exposing Trump's `very liberal` record. So who is right?

The ad, called `Politician,` begins by showing images of Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and asks which presidential candidate supports higher taxes. `It's Donald Trump,` the narrator says.

Asked for backup, the Club for Growth referred us to a Feb. 15, 2000, article in The Advocate in which Trump states, `My plan to impose a onetime net worth tax of 14.25% on the super-wealthy, when combined with our current projected surpluses, will raise enough to pay off the national debt.` But Trump isn't advocating anything like that in 2015.

Source: FactCheck.org AdWatch on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 25, 2015

FactCheck: Proposed 14% tax on wealthy in 2000, but not now

A Club for Growth attack ad says that in 2000, Trump stated, `My plan to impose a onetime net worth tax of 14.25% on the super-wealthy, when combined with our current projected surpluses, will raise enough to pay off the national debt.` At that time, Trump was mulling a presidential bid, and in a formal statement in November 1999 that laid out his plan, Trump did, in fact, propose a one-time 14.25% tax on people and trusts with a net worth of over $10 million (minus the value of their principal residence). The revenue it generated, he said, would be used to pay off the debt, then $5.7 trillion, to give a middle-class tax cut and to shore up the Social Security trust fund.

But Trump isn't advocating anything like that in 2015. On Aug. 18, Trump said he would not propose changes that increase the net amount of taxes. But he also stopped short of agreeing to sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge against raising taxes because `I may want to switch taxes around.`

Source: FactCheck.org AdWatch on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 25, 2015

No net increase in taxes, but increases on wealthy

On Aug. 18, Trump said he would not propose changes that increase the net amount of taxes. But he also stopped short of agreeing to sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge against raising taxes because `I may want to switch taxes around.` Specifically, Trump has repeatedly said that he would lower taxes for the middle class and would raise taxes on `carried interest` earned by hedge fund managers.

In an Aug. 26 interview, the host noted that `carried interest` would affect not only hedge fund managers, but also people in limited real estate partnerships like Trump, asking `So you are proposing you'd like to raise taxes on yourself?`

`That's right. I'm OK with it,` Trump said. `You've seen my statements, I do very well, I don't mind paying some taxes. The middle class is getting clobbered in this country. I know people in hedge funds, they pay almost nothing and it's ridiculous, OK?` Some interpreted those remarks as Trump agreeing to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Source: FactCheck.org AdWatch on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 25, 2015

Sought NYC deal with $4M property tax break

Trump was partial to sharp angles, shiny surfaces, and uncluttered design, he admired One Astor Plaza's sleek functionality. The key to the whole shiny project would be a big tax break, which Trump first tried to win from the state government in Albany. When this approach failed, Trump turned to the city bureaucracy, where development officials helped him with a cleverly engineered scheme. Under this plan, the state's Urban Development Corporation would actually own the hotel and lease it to Trump. The agency, which was tax exempt, could keep the property off the city assessment rolls. Trump and Hyatt would save more than $4 million per year.

This truth wasn't lost on other hoteliers. President of the Americana Hotel, complained that the deal was "immoral and unfair." Harry Helmsley wondered aloud whether "maybe too much is being given" to the Trumps.

Source: Never Enough, by Michael D`Antonio, p.103 , Sep 22, 2015

OpEd: One-time wealth tax could cause stock market collapse

Political veterans such as Dick Morris observed that Trump was publishing a new book, The America We Deserve, which might get a boost in sales from the author/candidate's appearances on TV talk shows such as "Larry King Live" (CNN), "The Early Show" (CBS), and the "Tonight" show (NBC), which invited him to talk politics. Many of his ideas were dismissed as unworkable. For example, a onetime tax on the rich was labeled "harebrained" by economist and securities analyst David Jones, who said it could cause a stock-market collapse. (A former IRS commissioner called it "wacky, constitutionally.") A few of Trump's proposals did show he was both forward-looking and ideologically flexible.
Source: Never Enough, by Michael D`Antonio, p.250 , Sep 22, 2015

Raise graduated taxes on hedge fund managers

Q: Donald Trump says that the hedge fund guys are getting away with murder by paying a lower tax rate. He wants to raise the taxes of hedge fund managers, as does Governor Bush. Do you agree?

CARSON: The people who [oppose flat taxes]--that's called socialism.

Q: What about the FairTax?

TRUMP: What I don't like about the FairTax is that if you make $200 million a year, you pay 10%, you're paying very little relatively to somebody that's making $50,000 a year, and has to hire H&R Block because the middle class. The hedge fund guys won't like me as much as they like me right now. I know them all, but they'll pay more. I know people that are making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no tax, and I think it's unfair.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

One-time 14% tax on wealthy to pay down national debt

What does Trump believe? Taxes: End corporate taxes. Lower individual rates. Consider a one-time tax on the wealthy to pay down the debt.

In 2011, Trump outlined a plan to end corporate taxes and significantly reduce individual taxes with a five-tier income tax system. In his proposal, the lowest earners would pay a 1% income tax and Americans earning more than $1 million would pay 15%. Trump proposed a one-time 14.25% tax on America's wealthiest residents in order to pay down the national debt.

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 16, 2015

4 brackets; 1-5-10-15%; kill death tax & corporate tax

My 5-part tax plan involves reforming the income tax. The government confiscates way too much of your paycheck. The tax code is also a very complicated system that forces Americans to waste 6.1 billion hours a year trying to figure it out.

What does that tell you? It tells me that it's time we restore simplicity & sanity to the income tax. Here's my income tax plan:

It's clear and fair. Best of all, it can be filled out on the back of a postcard and will save Americans big bucks on accountants and massive amounts of time wasted attempting to decipher the tax code.

Our country is hungry for real tax reform. That's why we should implement the 1-5-10-15 income tax plan. And we need to enact [the rest of] my 5-part tax policy: kill the death tax; lower the tax on capital gains & dividends; eliminate corporate taxes; and a 20% import tax.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 64-65 , Dec 5, 2011

Cutting tax rates incentivizes a strong national work ethic

No doubt you work hard for your money--I know I do--and you should be permitted to keep more of it. Anything less creates a disincentive for a strong national work ethic. President Ronald Reagan saw it the same way: "The more government takes in taxes, the less incentive people have to work."

As with most things, President Reagan had it right, But Reagan was merely echoing the economic thoughts of President John F. Kennedy, who had already said, in 1962, "The paradoxical truth is that the tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now."

Reagan and Kennedy's views prove that smart tax policy shouldn't be a partisan issue. It should be common sense. If you tax something you get less of it. It's as simple as that. The more you tax work, the less people are willing to work. The more you tax investments, the fewer investments you'll get. This isn't rocket science.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 51-52 , Dec 5, 2011

Previously supported wealth tax; now supports Bush tax cuts

During last year's debate over the tax cuts, Trump was outspoken in his opposition to President Barack Obama's effort to deny an extension to the Bush-era tax cuts for people earning more than $200,000 a year. "He's taking away a lot of incentives from a lot of people that produce a lot of taxes," Trump told Fox News, explaining that Obama's proposal would drive the wealthy out of the country. "It creates the wrong image. You really have to keep the taxes down."

Ten years earlier, when Trump was also floating a run for the White House, he was singing a different tune. The first proposal unveiled by his exploratory presidential campaign in 2000 was to impose a one-time 14.25% tax on the assets of people and trusts worth $10 million or more.

Source: Marcus Baram on Huffington Post , Apr 26, 2011

Repeal the inheritance tax to offset one-time wealth tax

I would impose a one-time, 14.25% tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth over $10 million. For individuals, net worth would be calculated minus the value of their principal residence. That would raise $5.7 trillion in new revenue, which we would use to pay off the entire national debt [and shore up the Social Security Trust Fund].

My proposal would also allow us to entirely repeal the 55% federal inheritance tax. The inheritance tax is a particularly lousy tax because it can often be a double tax. If you put the money into trust for your children, you pay the inheritance tax upon your death. When the trust matures and your children go to use it, they’re taxed again. It’s the worst.

Some will say that my plan is unfair to the extremely wealthy. I say it is only reasonable to shift the burden to those most able to pay. The wealthy actually would not suffer severe repercussions. The 14.25% net-worth tax would be offset by repeal of the 55% inheritance-tax liability.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.170-74 , Jul 2, 2000

Simplify tax code; end marriage penalty & other hidden taxes

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.183-84 , Jul 2, 2000

Opposes flat tax; benefits wealthy too much

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.186 , Jul 2, 2000

1986 tax laws destroyed incentives retroactively

It was 1986, the peak of the real estate market's boom. Some pundits down in Washington D.C., decided it was time to rein in a few overzealous developers, who, the pols claimed, were unfairly taking advantage of tax breaks and favorable depreciation schedules. The 1981 tax code was revised and the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1986 (TEFRA) was passed, destroying just about any incentive anyone might have for investing in real estate. And, you may remember, it included a stipulation that the tax laws be applied retroactively. Overnight developers and investors went bust by the thousands. The banks did just as badly. Here's why. First, TEFRA eviscerated the tax shelters--in place to encourage investment--thereby leaving investors virtually no incentive to put their money into any type of development--including low-and moderate-income housing.
Source: The Art of the Comeback, by Donald Trump, p. 9-10 , Oct 27, 1997

High tax rate encourages investment risk

[In the tax law change of 1986], the upper-income tax rate was lowered from 51% to 32 %. Investing involves risk. With a 51 percent tax, investors might take a chance on a new housing project. If the project went south, the investor could recapture his losses in the form of a tax break. If an investor is taxed only 32 percent, why bother with the risk?
Source: The Art of the Comeback, by Donald Trump, p. 10 , Oct 27, 1997

Personally avoids sales tax, but knows many people like it

Asked to discuss the idea of a national sales tax, Trump responded: “How do I feel about sales tax? I try to avoid paying it whenever possible. But the idea is an idea that a lot of people like very much.”
Source: nytimes.com/library/politics , Dec 10, 1999

One-time 14.25% tax on wealth, to erase national debt

Trump wants to soak the rich, including himself. He proposed a 14.25% tax yesterday on the net worth of wealthy Americans.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A19 , Nov 10, 1999

Tax assets over $10 million, paid over 10 years

Trump proposed a 14.25% tax on the net worth of wealthy Americans. People and trusts valued at more than $10 million would be subject to the new tax. The original plan called for collection in a single year but, in a last-minute change, Trump said he would allow more time for people having trouble liquefying their assets. “Let’s say 10 years,” he said.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A19 , Nov 10, 1999

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Donald Trump on other issues:
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George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
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Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
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George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
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Page last updated: Sep 15, 2016