Trump audited for double-dipping tax breaks on Chicago’s Trump Tower

ProPublica and the New York Times found the former president could end owing the IRS more than $100 million for claiming the same massive losses twice on his namesake River North tower.

Trump Tower in Chicago
Trump Tower on June 13, 2020, as seen in the background of protest after the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin. Pat Nabong / Chicago Sun-Times
Trump Tower in Chicago
Trump Tower on June 13, 2020, as seen in the background of protest after the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin. Pat Nabong / Chicago Sun-Times

Trump audited for double-dipping tax breaks on Chicago’s Trump Tower

ProPublica and the New York Times found the former president could end owing the IRS more than $100 million for claiming the same massive losses twice on his namesake River North tower.

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Former President Donald Trump could be hit with a bill of more than $100 million for claiming improper tax breaks on his namesake tower along the Chicago River, according to a report co-published Saturday by ProPublica and the New York Times.

In a yearslong audit battle, the Internal Revenue Service has argued Trump effectively wrote off the same massive losses twice on the Trump International Hotel and Tower at 401 N. Wabash Ave., ProPublica and the Times found.

Trump reported $651 million in losses on the River North tower in 2008, when he claimed the 92-story building met the tax code definition of “worthless” shortly before its completion during the heart of the Great Recession, the news outlets found.

Then, in 2010, Trump shifted the company that owned the tower into a new partnership, a move he cited to justify $168 million in additional losses over the next 10 years, ProPublica and the Times reported, citing filings in a lawsuit against Trump, a congressional report and an IRS memo.

The current status of the IRS’ audit of Trump and his Chicago dealings is unclear. The agency could seek to recoup more than $100 million, plus interest and potential penalties, the news outlets calculated.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s son Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, told the publications: “This matter was settled years ago, only to be brought back to life once my father ran for office. We are confident in our position, which is supported by opinion letters from various tax experts, including the former general counsel of the IRS.”

An IRS spokesperson declined to comment, citing federal privacy law.

The site of the tower was long home to the Chicago Sun-Times before Donald Trump acquired it in 2001 with grand visions of constructing the world’s tallest building — a plan he scrapped after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Last year, an Illinois appellate court ruled Trump Tower had been overvalued by the Cook County assessor’s office and Board of Review in 2011, leading to a $1 million property tax refund for the former president.

Trump originally hired longtime Southwest Side Ald. Ed Burke (14th) as his attorney to handle property tax appeals on the tower.

Burke is scheduled for sentencing this summer on unrelated federal racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion convictions.Hundreds of protesters march in front of Trump Tower on June 13, 2020, after the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin sparked protests across the nation.