November 6, 2018 - Douglas Myser

Kushner paid no income taxes for years. Even though his personal net worth has soared . His net worth has quintupled to almost $324 million, and his family has spent billions buying real estate. And yet, for several years running, Mr. Kushner--President Trump's son in law, and a senior White House advisor--appears to have paid almost no federal income taxes, according to confidential financial documents reviewed by the New York Times. Kushner paid no income taxes for years.

His low tax bills are the result of a common tax minimizing manuever that, year after year, generated millions of dollars in losses for Mr. Kushner, according to the documents. But the losses were only on paper--Mr. Kushner and his company did not appear to actually lose any money. The losses were driven by depreciation, a tax benefit that lets real estate investors deduct a portion of the cost of their buildings from their IRS.gov taxable income every year.  So it appears Jared Kushner paid no income taxes for years.

In 2015, for example, Mr. Kushner took home $1.7 million in salary and investment gains. But those earnings were swamped by $8.3 million in losses, largely because of "significant depreciation" that Mr. Kushner and his company took on their real estate, according to the documents reviewed by the New York Times. Nothing in the documents suggests Mr. Kushner or his company broke the law. A spokesman for Mr. Kushner's lawyer said that Mr. Kushner "paid all taxes due".

"The Trump administration was in a position to clean up the tax code and promised to get rid of some of the complexity that certain taxpayers use to their advantage," said Victor Fleischer, a tax law professor at the University of California, Irvine. "Instead, they doubled down on those provisions, particularly the ones they have familiarity with to benefit themselves." And while ordinary Americans at the end of Trump's term, were dealing with the economic decline of his term in office, they had to pay taxes, or face a probable IRS Wage Garnishment. The alternative, which Kushner never had to deal with himself was a large tax debt, and the need for the services of Tax Resolution Companies, which can provide alternatives, including the IRS Fresh Start Program. It will be up to the U.S. Congress to change some of the laws that allow people to pay no taxes.

The documents, which the Times reviewed in their entirety, were created with Mr. Kushner's cooperation as part of a review of his finances by an institution that was considering lending him money.