The Controversial Tax Benefit for Cabinet Members– February 23, 2017

The wealth of President Donald J. Trump’s cabinet appointments has garnered much attention. With one estimate placing the collective net worth of the appointees at over $4.5 billion, controversy was sure to follow, particularly because some of that controversy stems from an unusual source: the Internal Revenue Code. An obscure tax law created as part of The Ethics Reform Act of 1989, IRC Section 1043 provides for special rules related to the sale of property necessary to comply with conflict of interest requirements. While a Washington Post headline declared that Trump’s “cabinet could avoid millions in taxes thanks to this little-known law,” the reality of the tax code is more granular and less conducive to shocking headlines.

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