Trump Opens Up U.S. Market To Elephant Poachers/Hunters

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM NEWS)

 

African elephant and calf walking, Masai Mara N.R, Kenya
African elephant and calf walking, Masai Mara N.R, Kenya
Anup Shah—Getty Images

By Justin Worland

11:58 AM EST

The Trump administration on Thursday said it had reversed a ban on hunters importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

The FWS said the move, which reverses a prohibition enacted by the Obama administration in 2014, follows a revaluation based on new information about the elephant populations and their management in those countries. New estimates show there are 80,000 elephants in Zimbabwe, according to the FWS. The agency does not say what the estimate was in 2014. The government of Zimbabwe issues permits to hunt 500 elephants annually, collecting fees that hunting backers say supports conservation.

“Sport hunting, as part of a sound wildlife management program, can provide benefits to conservation,” the FWS said in a bulletin announcing the decision. “When the Service announced an interim suspension on the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe on April 4, 2014, we based our decision on the limited information available to us… the facts on the ground have changed and improved.”

The agency will immediately begin issuing permits to carry elephant trophies — typically the elephant’s severed head — back to the U.S. as a symbol of the hunt. The practice received public outcry in 2015 after reports that an American dentist had killed a lion in Zimbabwe illegally. Still, trophy hunting remains popular among a small group of hunters, including the president’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric.

Trophy hunting remains controversial in the U.S. with animal protection groups arguing that it contributes to unsustainable population decline in a slew of threatened species. Elephants, in particular, remain an endangered species with a rapid decline continuing as a result of poaching and the ivory trade.

“The global community has rallied to stem the ivory trade,” said Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle in a blog post. “And now, the U.S. government is giving American trophy hunters the green light to kill them.”

The FWS service said it was still evaluating whether to allow hunters to import elephant remains from Tanzania.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

This Trump real estate deal looks awfully like criminal tax fraud  

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Outlook

This Trump real estate deal looks awfully like criminal tax fraud

Two tax lawyers break down the president’s sale of two condos to his son.

Trump says American people ‘don’t care at all’ about his tax returns
Speaking at his first news conference since winning the presidential election, Donald Trump defended his decision not to release his tax returns, saying the American people “don’t care at all.” (The Washington Post)

 August 4  

About the authors

President Trump clearly doesn’t want to release his income tax returns to the public. Members of the public and commentators have progressed through stages of outragespeculation and acceptance that they’ll never see the goods, while others have made attempts to pry the documents free (such as proposed legislation in New York and other states that would require presidential candidates to release their returns). But Trump’s most pressing tax problem may come from somewhere else entirely: a pre-election transfer of property to a company controlled by his son that could run afoul of the IRS.

According to a recent story by ProPublica and the Real Deal, in April 2016, a limited liability company managed by Trump sold two condominium apartments to a limited liability company managed by Eric Trump. They were on the 13th and 14th floors of a 14-story, full-service, doorman building at 100 Central Park South in Manhattan. This is a prime Midtown neighborhood, yet the sale price for each condo was just $350,000. Although the condition and square footage of apartments 13G and 14G are not readily known, a popular real estate website shows that G-line apartments on both the fifth and eighth floors are one-bedroom, one-bath units of just over 500 square feet. Two years before the Trump transaction, apartment 5G sold for $690,000. Maybe the two units in question were in terrible shape, but two months before the sale to Eric Trump’s LLC, they were advertised for $790,000 (on the 13th floor) and $800,000 (on the 14th floor), according to ProPublica.

If a sale between a parent and child is for fair market value, it does not trigger a gift tax. But if a parent sells two expensive condominiums to his son at a highly discounted price, for example, then the parent makes a taxable gift in part. In that case, the seller must pay a gift tax of up to 40 percent. (In this case, that might have run the president somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000.)

Each taxpayer has a $5.49 million lifetime exemption (a married couple has a combined $10.98 million exemption), meaning you can give away that much money without incurring the tax. To claim that a transaction is covered by the exemption, though, you must file a gift tax return. Well-advised wealthy individuals typically fully use their $5.49 million exemption by making gifts to family members as soon as they have the assets to do so.

Trump scolds protesters demanding his tax returns
President Trump on April 16 issued two tweets in which he criticized protesters who marched the day before to demand that he release his tax returns. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

So if Donald Trump sold the apartments to his son’s company for less than fair market value, he needed to file a gift tax return, even if he wanted to claim that the sale was not taxable because of the exemption. The government wants to know what gifts people make, because gifts are taken into account when determining the value of a person’s taxable estate at death. If Trump had already used his exemption, he would owe gift tax on the difference between the fair market value of the apartments and the amount paid by Eric Trump.

It’s possible the president filed the right paperwork. But without a full release of his tax returns, the available evidence suggests he hasn’t. According to New York City property records, Trump paid $13,000 in state and local transfer taxes for these two sales. That is the correct amount for a sale between strangers. But if he paid state and local transfer taxes, that means he didn’t treat the transfers as gifts. And on the real estate forms filed in New York, Trump didn’t check any of the boxes indicating that these were sales between relatives or sales of less than the entire property. It would seem, then, that he treated the transactions as if they were sales for fair market value to a stranger.

Since Trump did not cast the transactions as gifts for state and local tax purposes, it is almost certain that he did not do so for federal gift tax purposes, either. In our combined 40 years of experience as tax lawyers, we are unaware of a situation in which a taxpayer would report a transaction as a fair market value between strangers on the state level (and thus incur real estate taxes) but treat it as a gift at the federal level (and thus incur an additional tax). It’s fair to infer that Trump didn’t follow the rules.

Willful failure to file a tax return, including a gift tax return, is a misdemeanor , punishable by a $25,000 fine, imprisonment of up to one year or both. Fraudulent failure to file — meaning an overt act of evasion — may elevate willful failure to a felony . That carries a fine of up to $100,000, imprisonment of up to five years or both, along with the costs of prosecution. According to internal guidance provided by the IRS to its agents, factors indicating potential fraud include repeated contacts by the IRS, failure to cooperate with IRS agents or employees, knowledge of the filing requirements, offering implausible or inconsistent explanations, substantial tax liability, and refusal or inability to explain failure to file.

Presidential income tax returns are subject to mandatory audit . The IRS can decide whether Trump’s transfers were truly gifts. If they were, which seems likely, Trump’s failure to file a gift tax return opens him up to penalties and fines, or even criminal charges. Perhaps such a charge wouldn’t go anywhere, since the president must consent to being indicted by a federal prosecutor. But tax law would permit them.

Trump says American people ‘don’t care at all’ about his tax returns
Speaking at his first news conference since winning the presidential election, Donald Trump defended his decision not to release his tax returns, saying the American people “don’t care at all.” (The Washington Post)

Twitter: @professortax
@ProfBCrawford

Forbes: Eric Trump charity money went to Trump business

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN AND FORBES MAGAZINE)

Forbes: Eric Trump charity money went to Trump business

 Story highlights
  • Eric Trump held a charity golf tournament for children’s cancer research each year
  • A Forbes report alleges his foundation shifted money from the tournament into the Trump Organization

Washington (CNN) Eric Trump is pushing back against a Forbes report released Tuesday that alleges his Eric Trump Foundation shifted money from a charity golf tournament for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital into the Trump Organization.

The annual Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational took place each year from 2007 to 2015 at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York. President Donald Trump’s second eldest son told the magazine that use of the golf course was free, and much of the merchandise, drinks and entertainment was comped.
“We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” he told Forbes.
But, per the Forbes report, “in reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free — that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization.”
Two people directly involved told Forbes that in 2011 Donald Trump “specifically commanded that the for-profit Trump Organization start billing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the nonprofit Eric Trump Foundation.”
According to IRS tax filings, the costs for the golf invitational from 2007 to 2010 were approximately $50,000 per year. In 2011, that jumped to about $142,000. The 2012 golf invitational cost the foundation $59,000. Costs in 2013 again jumped to $230,000, and $242,000 in 2014, and $322,000 in 2015, its final year. It’s unclear why the costs went up and how much of that money went to the Trump Organization.
A spokesperson for Eric Trump slammed the story as “shameful” and “truly disgusting,” highlighting the foundation’s work raising over $16.3 million for St. Jude children with an expense ratio of 12.3% and the construction of a $20 million ICU.
“Contrary to recent reports, at no time did the Trump Organization profit in any way from the foundation or any of its activities,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“While people can disagree on political issues, to infer malicious intent on a charity that has changed so many lives, is not only shameful but is truly disgusting. At the end of the day the only people who lose are the children of St. Jude and other incredibly worthy causes,” the statement said.
The spokesperson did not respond to CNN’s request to provide an explanation for the rising costs.
Trump also fired back via Twitter to a designer who wrote that Trump stole from children with cancer.
“I have raised $16.3 million dollars for terminally ill children at @StJude with less than a 12.3% expense ratio. What have you done today?!” he wrote Tuesday evening.
At the end of 2016, Trump stepped aside from all direct fundraising efforts for his eponymous organization, which was subsequently restructured and renamed.
“While I resigned with a heavy heart, it was a voluntary decision to enact these measures during the tenure of my father’s presidency in order to avoid the appearance or assertion of any impropriety and/or a conflict of interest,” Trump wrote in a letter on the foundation’s website.

Eric Trump: Democrats Who Oppose His Father are Quote “Not Even People”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Washington (CNN) Eric Trump said Democrats who support the probe into his father’s campaign and Russia are “not even people” and he has “never seen hatred like this.”

He also shared harsh criticism of the Democratic Party as a whole.
“They’re imploding,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday night, adding: “They have no message. You see the head of the (Democratic National Committee), who is a total whack job.”
Trump’s “not even people” remark quickly evoked comparisons on social media to Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment made about President Trump’s supporters during the 2016 campaign.
Trump — one of President Donald Trump’s five children — also said Democrats are obstructing the current administration.
“They lost the election that they should have won because they spent seven times the amount of money that my father spent. They have no message so what do they try and do? They try and obstruct a great man, they try and obstruct his family, they come after us viciously, and its truly, truly horrible,” Trump said.
Trump is currently helping run the family business with his brother, Donald Trump Jr., while their father serves as president.
Here’s the full Eric Trump quote in context:
I’ve never seen hatred like this, and to me they’re not even people. It’s so, so sad, I mean morality is just gone, morals have flown out the window we deserve so much better than this as a country. You know it’s so sad. You see the democratic party — they’re imploding. They’re imploding. They have no message. You see the head of the DNC who is a total whack job. There’s no leadership there. And so what do they do? They become obstructionists because they have no message of their own. They have no solid candidates of their own. They lost the election that they should have won because they spent 7 times the amount of money that my father spent. They have no message so what do they try and do? They try and obstruct a great man, they try and obstruct his family, they come after us viciously, and its truly, truly horrible.
Movies From The Silent Era

A repository for movies from the silent era

ssugarpill

a food blog for the loonies

Dark.Stories

For the nightcrawlers by a nightcrawler

Lavie des Elle

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

A DEVOTED LIFE

Practical Daily Devotions for the Real World

Gracefully Undone

For there is an unlimited amount of grace given in every process.

Undefined

writings from heart,stories about souls

%d bloggers like this: