Donald Trump has been stumping the Delaware ahead of the upcoming primary. Delaware is notorious for having extremely lax corporate tax laws, making it America’s top onshore tax haven. Donald Trump knows this, and bragged about how many companies he had registered there:
“Do we love Delaware, do we love it? When I left the office I asked for a couple of things. I said ‘Number one, I spend a fortune in Delaware, nobody knows that, right? It’s a great place. So I said to my people I had no idea, I said you know we do a lot of business in Delaware. That’s good, ’cause that means taxes and everything. So I said how many entities do we have registered in Delaware? Like companies and this and…So I figured they’d maybe say two or three, right? 378. I said ‘What?’ So we have 378 entities registered in the state of Delaware, meaning I pay you a lot of money, folks! I don’t feel at all guilty, okay?”
Spoken in Trump’s normal frantic, garbled cadence, it’s a little unclear what he has to not feel guilty about. Is it the fact that he just bragged about taking advantage of the tax loopholes that cost the US billions of dollars per year? The Institute on Taxation and Policy had this to say:
“A loophole in Delaware’s tax code is responsible for the loss of billions of dollars in revenue in other U.S. states, and its lack of incorporation transparency makes it a magnet for people looking to create anonymous shell companies, which individuals and corporations can use to evade an inestimable amount in federal and foreign taxes. The Internal Revenue Service estimated a total tax gap of about $450 billion with $376 billion of it due to filers underreporting income in 2006 (the most recent tax year for which this data is available).[i] While it is impossible to know how much underreported income is hidden in Delaware shell companies, the First State’s ability to attract the formation of anonymous companies suggests that it could rival the amount of income hidden in more well-known offshore tax havens.”
Trump’s egomaniacal hypocrisy continues as he rails against other companies hiding their profits overseas. “We have companies that have trillions of dollars, cumulatively, outside of our country,” Trump said at the 1:47:00 mark of the above video, alluding to offshore tax havens. “The Republicans and the Democrats agree, they want the money brought in. And yet the government can’t make a deal, because we don’t have a leader in Obama.”
So Trump boasts about how many companies that he has filed in Delaware, where the only reason to do so is a lax corporate tax loophole and opaque shareholder laws, costing the American people billions. Then, in the same speech he threatens companies that use tax havens that don’t happen it be in the US. What’s the difference, Mr. Trump? It’s all money that rightfully belongs to the US government that you and other companies are keeping for themselves.