How about it, fellow taxpayers? Did you enjoy getting taken for a ride via billionaire Donald Trump's posh yacht, the Trump Princess?
Never been aboard the $40 million, 282-foot vessel, you say? It doesn't matter. American taxpayers are still getting taken for a ride because of a loophole in the tax laws that benefits not just Trump but hundreds of other wealthy boat owners.The loophole exists despite Congress' efforts to close it 10 years ago by forbidding firms from taking depreciation expenses on "entertainment facilities." The ban was specifically aimed at yachts as well as company-owned fishing camps and hunting lodges.
But, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported this week, it's easy to get around the ban by occasionally using the yachts for business purposes. The tax break becomes particularly easy to claim simply by leasing the vessel to someone else when the owner isn't using it.
In Trump's case alone, his company could avoid an estimated $7.3 million to $8.2 million in federal income taxes over the next 10 years.
If anyone does not need to be subsidized, it is the nation's yacht owners. How much longer must ordinary taxpayers keep bailing them out before Congress plugs this costly leak in the tax laws?