Like many things political, one of the best ways to look at the tempest of the day is analytical bemusement. This is (always) especially true when it comes to tax issues.
And I might have a take today that could surprise you. I am not interested in getting into political matters here (though this issue is obviously very political).
I say this first to head off at the pass any political emails that might have been sent my way. That’s because, as YOUR Southern California tax advisor, what I really want to get at is: what does this actually mean for YOU? (And I don’t mean in politics.)
Firstly, neither I, nor most any other commentators, have seen the actual returns. We are relying upon secondhand information from the New York Times. They aren’t releasing Trump’s tax returns actually, but are sharing details as they have them. This alone should give us pause in drawing big conclusions.
Secondly, tax returns are never a very good gauge on the state of someone’s finances: after all, there is a difference between income and wealth. This matters to YOU if you’re interested in building said wealth. And it could be the subject of a very long piece by me. But not today.
Thirdly, I’m not going to do a deep dive on that article — other tax writers have already done a very good job of explaining the issues, this article in particular.
Frankly, the description of Trump’s tax returns is close to what any fair-minded tax professional would have expected from the returns of a global real estate investor and television personality, turned politician.
Real estate, in particular, offers powerful tax advantages — as do many businesses. And we can argue back and forth about how corrupt Trump appears to be — but it really doesn’t matter what we think … what matters is what is — and that’s for the IRS to (eventually) sort out in the ongoing audit of his returns. All the rest is speculation.
Bottom line: there really are two tax codes in this country:
1) There is the system for those who rely on software, or themselves. This not only costs many, many hours — a lack of expertise can be extremely costly in other ways. That’s because…
2) There is the other, far more “lucrative” system (in terms of retaining more of your wealth and income) used by those who have experts in their corner.
And, of course, President Trump used this second system.
This is why he paid $750 in tax. The specifics of “how” is still unclear. (Incidentally, you can take a look at MANY presidential and candidate tax returns, if you really want to see how different ones have handled their business right here.)
But the “actual how” is that he had people in his corner to help.
This is the “real” story — at least in terms of what is actually applicable to your daily life.
Because — I’d much rather you availed yourself of this second system. This is the perfect time to take a clear-eyed look at how you are set up, and plan for the best tax outcome for your family or Southern California business, for the 2020 return.
And so we’re going to make it easy for you. We’ll encourage you, give you good options … and point you into the best direction for your long-term wealth preservation and growth.
Using this second system isn’t “just for the wealthy”. It can be for you.
After all, any person is free to pay more than what the actual tax code requires. You can go right here for those details.
The question for YOU is: do you want to make that decision for yourself … or have it made for you, because you didn’t have a tax plan in place?
So: use this second system. Get with us now, before it’s too late.
To your family’s lasting financial and emotional peace…
“CRISIS Action Plan” for my Southern California tax clients — which is still relevant today:
1) Don’t marinate in other people’s panic. Be mindful of your social media consumption.
2) Continue to stay financially and logistically prepared for worsening situations.
3) Make sure you have some ready, liquid assets, if you are able. (I.e., cash in the bank, and in hand.)
4) Set aside plans for any big spending until the dust settles — but especially look out for your small business owner friends and vendors.