While the hand-wringing over Donald Trump’s 1994 tax returns continues, it wasn’t long ago that the Clintons themselves were under a microscope for engaging in tax-avoidance. In 2014, Bill and Hillary Clinton were exposed for engaging in creative accounting practices in order to minimize their exposure to the Estate Tax, a tax that Hillary, ironically, hopes to raise to 65% if elected president.
The Estate Tax, which is commonly derided as the “death tax”, is a tax on assets an estate upon an individual’s death.
In 2014, Bloomberg reported:
To reduce the tax pinch, the Clintons are using financial planning strategies befitting the top 1 percent of U.S. households in wealth. These moves, common among multimillionaires, will help shield some of their estate from the tax that now tops out at 40 percent of assets upon death.
The Clintons created residence trusts in 2010 and shifted ownership of their New York house into them in 2011, according to federal financial disclosures and local property records.
Among the tax advantages of such trusts is that any appreciation in the house’s value can happen outside their taxable estate. The move could save the Clintons hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes, said David Scott Sloan, a partner at Holland & Knight LLP in Boston.
“The goal is really be thoughtful and try to build up the nontaxable estate, and that’s really what this is,” Sloan said. “You’re creating things that are going to be on the nontaxable side of the balance sheet when they die.”
Based on Bloomberg’s reporting, it appears that the Clintons have engaged in the very practices Hillary now admonishes Donald Trump for engaging in, namely avoiding federal taxes through legal means.
In addition to the avoidance of the Estate Tax, the Clinton family has also set up a number of “shell companies” in tax friendly states. According to their tax filings in 2016, the Clintons have established at least 5 shell companies in the state of Delaware.
In April, the Washington Examiner reported:
Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with their nonprofit Clinton Foundation, have established at least five shell companies in Delaware, according to tax filings highlighted on Monday.
Those companies include two for the couple’s personal finances and three for the foundation, according to the documents, which were first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
All five are filed at 1209 North Orange Street in Wilmington. The address is shared with companies like Google, Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Ford, General Electric and more than 280,000 others that use the facility to take advantage of the state’s tax laws.
Of course, we don’t expect the mainstream media to hold Hillary to the same standard that they’re holding Donald Trump to.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump’s businesses took considerable losses in 1995. The Times speculates that writing off said losses could have allowed Trump to avoid Federal income taxes for close to two decades.