Kelly Bullis: A look at Donald Trump’s tax returns

Kelly Bullis

Kelly Bullis

Over the years, we have enjoyed going over president’s and presidential candidate’s tax returns. We finally got our hands on Donald Trump’s (2015-20). It is a very interesting look at the life of a businessman, especially a real estate investor.

Here are a few tidbits we gleaned. (I am going to focus on the 2015 return, the last before he became president.)

He and Melania filed “Married Filing Joint” with one dependent, Baron. Very little salary income ($14,141) Instead, he has a bunch of single-member LLCs that are all reported on 26 different Schedule Cs. A few are different aircraft. The main one having almost $3 million in gross income. Several management service businesses. One for his media acting income. Several different speaking engagement entities. One is called the “Trump Golf Acquisitions, LLC” Not a lot of income in that one.

Remember that story of him purchasing an ice rink in Manhattan? That grossed over $9 million and ended up with an operating loss of over $1.2 million. Restaurant activity which grossed $4.8 million but ended up as a loss of $368,000. (There was $1.9 million in depreciation expense, so it actually had a positive cash flow.) There was one small operation as a Mortgage Broker. One for managing his Chicago operation, one for managing his Las Vegas property, one for managing his Phoenix operations, and another for managing his Golf Courses. The net income for all his Schedule Cs combined was a loss of $599,000.

He had about $9 million in interest income, another $1.7 million in dividend income. $35 million in Capital Gain income (most from mutual fund investments) and another $6.6 million in other gains income. He even had $77,000 in taxable pension income. There was a loss of $7.8 million from his various rentals and royalty activities, and over 540 business investments that provided him with Schedule K-1s for his share of income to report.

Finally, he had a Suspended Business and Net Operating Losses of $77 million carried over from prior tax years, which wiped out all his Federal Taxable Income.

But wait, he still paid some tax! $2.1 million in Alternative Minimum Tax. $1.5 million in Obamacare Net Investment Tax. He also paid $5.1 million in state income tax.

One final interesting item that jumped out immediately. He signed on behalf of Melania. He must have had a Power of Attorney for that. We see it quite often with our high-income clients. A lot of time, one is out of town and the other needs to sign important documents. I bet Melania has one allowing her to sign for him too.

Have you heard? Psalm 49:12 says, “But man, despite his riches, doesn’t endure. He is like the animals that perish.”

Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at Also on Facebook.


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