FACT CHECK: Will The Trump Family Save $1 Billion Under The GOP Tax Plan?

Kush Desai | Contributor

Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan claimed Wednesday that the Trump family will save $1 billion due to tax reform.

Verdict: False

The Trump family will not receive a $1 billion tax benefit because the final GOP tax bill kept the estate tax. The family, however, may still save millions of dollars in taxes each year.

Fact Check:

As Congress sent the final Tax Cuts And Jobs Act to President Donald Trump’s desk Wednesday, Democrats continued to criticize the tax reform effort for providing substantial tax relief to the wealthy and corporations.

Such criticisms have frequently drawn attention to how Trump, a billionaire real estate mogul, and his family would benefit from the tax bill.

“With this tax cut, Apple is going to get $47 billion and Donald Trump’s family is going to get $1 billion,” Ryan said on the House floor. “They are going to toss out a few crumbs to working class families who work 60, 70 hours a week, and the fat cats in Washington and Wall Street are going to run off with the whole pot of gold.”

Ryan’s office did not respond to a request for the source of his figure, but the congressman was probably referring to analyses by The New York Times and NBC News that relied on Trump’s most recent publicly available tax return from 2005 and a $2.9 billion valuation of his assets.

These analyses found that the Trump family could gain over $1 billion in tax benefits, the lion’s share from a repeal of the estate tax (also known colloquially as the death tax).

But the Times and NBC estimates are outdated – they were based on earlier versions of the tax bill that would have fully repealed the estate tax.

Before tax reform passed, the value of a married couple’s estate above $11 million was taxed at a rate of 40 percent upon passing away – a $1.1 billion tax bill for the heirs of Trump’s $3 billion fortune.

Except the final version of tax reform that Trump signed Friday did not repeal the estate tax; it instead just doubled the estate tax exemption to $22 million for couples.

The Trump family may see an $11 million tax cut as a result, but not the $1 billion claimed by Ryan.

Trump has generally not released his tax filings, and the financial statements of the Trump Organization are not publicly available, but other provisions of tax reform will benefit the Trump family as well.

Experts estimate that changes in the taxation of “pass-through” businesses found in the real estate industry could alone amount to millions in annual savings for Trump and his family. Cuts to the top marginal income tax rate would benefit them as well.

Trump will pay more due to caps on the deduction for state and local taxes, but this tax increase will in all likelihood be more than offset by the tax plan’s other provisions.

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Kush Desai

Contributor

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