The New York Times’ new bombshell report on President Donald Trump’s tax returns revealed that he deducted more than $70,000 for haircuts and hairstyling for TV when he starred on NBC’s “The Apprentice.”
Tax professional Thomas Cooke, a professor of business law at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, told Yahoo Finance’s “The Ticker” on Monday that the deductions were likely not a legitimate business expense.
“I can tell you in our tax class, we will go through a list of what’s ordinary, necessary business expenses. That would more likely tilt the needle towards not appropriate,” Cooke told Yahoo Finance. “Do you know anybody else spending that kind of money on haircuts? I think the answer is probably not.”
The $70,000 in deductions was just one key detail in the report. Trump, who is a self-proclaimed billionaire, only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and paid the same amount in 2017, The Times found.
In the preceding 10 out of 15 years, he reportedly paid $0 in federal income taxes, in spite of the $427.4 million he earned from “The Apprentice” and licensing and endorsement deals.
However, Cooke cautions against jumping to conclusions based on the Times report. “The one concern I would have is that we do not pass any final judgment until we’ve actually seen returns. We’ve seen the lines. We’ve seen the numbers. What is it that generated such a low level of income?” he said.
Cooke says that three of his friends who are ardent Trump supporters are not fazed by the report. Still, others may not be so quick to brush off this latest scandal.
“The average person is going to say, I’m not getting that deal. I’m not getting that benefit. So how is this good news to me?” he said. “So there is a perception, you know, that there’s one group that gets super duper benefits and then there’s the rest of us. I don’t see that as a positive.”
More from Sibile: