CPAs: Trump tax filings show business acumen

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — So far, the biggest October surprise of the presidential campaign was delivered to The New York Times in September.

Published over the weekend, The Times reported Trump claimed to the IRS a business loss of more than $915.7 million.

That big of a hit means Trump could have shielded himself from paying Federal income taxes for decades, according to The Times.

Although Trump may have avoided taxes, he’s not avoiding the issue.

“I have brilliantly used those laws,” he said Monday.

There’s nothing illegal about Trump not paying federal income taxes for years because of the steep losses he reported in the mid-1990s.

In fact, tax avoidance or tax optimization, is among the most common advice by CPAs like Mark Tronconi, senior tax partner with Tronconi Segarra and Associates in Williamsville.

“We talk about it with her clients all the time,” Tronconi said. “We try to meet with our clients all year long, and we try to understand as much as we can about their affairs so that we can help them minimize their tax liability.”

“You are allowed to plan your affairs to avoid taxes,” Tronconi said. “You are just not allowed to plan your affairs to evade taxes. So you can engage in any type of planning that you need to to minimize your tax over the period of a year or the period of a lifetime.”

In other words, because Trump’s business took such a hit, federal tax laws allow for the claim.

“If your business lost money you would want to be in a position where you could actually recoup the taxes or use that lost to shelter future income,” Tronconi said. “It’s only fair.”

While those on the left are critical of the revelation, insinuating the GOP nominee isn’t paying his fair share, Trump backers are celebrating a smart approach to business. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called Trump on Sunday “a genius.”

“I wouldn’t say that he’s a genius, but I would say it’s a smart businessman, because he’s probably already hired the best attorneys in the best accountants to help him manage his taxable income,” Tronconi said. “And so I give him a lot of credit for being smart because he’s got smart people to help them with this type of situation.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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