GOP Tax Plan Contains Massive Tax Break For Owners Of Golf Courses Like Trump

If you were wondering why exactly President Trump is pushing so hard for his tax cut plan, turns out it has a lot less to do with his need for a legislative victory than it does his desire to see more money in his bank account.

Bloomberg reports that the GOP tax bill currently being debated by Congress contains a tax break that allows owners of golf courses to obtain millions of dollars in federal relief funds:

“While Republicans are eliminating many write-offs, the House version of the bill allows golf-course owners to claim deductions for promising never to build on their links. The Trump Organization, which owns a dozen courses in the U.S., has taken advantage of the break in the past, using a law that’s supposed to help preserve open space.”

As usual, the rich get richer and the rest of us wind up paying more.

The tax break for golf course owners came under consideration for elimination by the Obama administration in 2014. White House budget officials estimated that doing away with the loophole would save more than $600 million over the course of a decade. But Congress failed to take the administration’s advice and continued to allow the write-off.

How does the golf course easement tax break work? Bloomberg explains:

“A golf-course owner agrees to restrict development on his or her property in perpetuity, which is known as creating a conservation easement, and to donate that easement to either a land trust or a local government. He or she can continue to own the golf course.

The property owner then gets two appraisals: one for the value of the property if it were sold on the market to the highest bidder without any restrictions on development, such as a homebuilder that would subdivide it, and the other for the property with the easement intact. The difference between those two values can be deducted from the golf course owner’s income for tax purposes.”

So apparently if you want a giant tax cut under the Trump tax plan, all you have to do is go out and buy some golf courses. Then you’ll be entitled to the same sweet deal as Trump himself.

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